Legal Action Against Mayor by Minicab Drivers

PHV (Minicab) drivers are incensed by the recent steps by the Mayor of London and TfL to make them pay the London Congestion Charge while licensed taxis will continue to receive an exemption. That and the proposed ULEZ charges will threaten the livelihoods of minicab drivers who are relatively poorly paid already. Many will have to give up and end up out of work.

They are supported by the Independent Works Union and have issued a “pre-action” letter to Mayor Sadiq Khan, prior to the launch of a judicial review.

They are also claiming that as most minicab drivers are BAME (black, coloured or from ethnic minorities) while most taxi drivers are white, this is indirect discrimination.

Comment: Such drivers are certainly incensed by this proposed change as I saw at a recent meeting I attended (see ). There does not seem to be any rational reason for treating one set of cab drivers different to another, particularly as the likely impact on the number of PHV drivers in central London is not forecast to change much, which was the justification for the change. It will of course affect some drivers much more than others.

I wish them the best of luck with a judicial review although these are not easy legal proceedings (I have been involved in more than one), and depend on a lot more than the moral arguments.

Could it perhaps be about money rather than traffic congestion, or principles?

Roger Lawson


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2 thoughts on “Legal Action Against Mayor by Minicab Drivers

  1. I do not think we should enter a race to the bottom. Therfore I think all taxis should enjoy the same conditions as London black cabs. I drive a wheelchair access Hackney carridge from Dartford. These are expensive specialists vehcals. Tacking people past the south circular road will cost another £12.5.this will kill us.

  2. Hi Roger

    There’s actually a few very good reasons why taxi and private hire differ when it comes to paying the Congestion Charge (CC). The main one centres around the clue in the name. Private hire.

    Taxis are regulated public transport. Every taxi driver is compelled to drive the public to any destination they so desire. Only if the job is over 12 miles can the driver so no to the customers request. If the destination is within the CC then the driver MUST drive the customer to that destination or risk losing his or her licence. A taxi driver has no choice. Choice is the key word here. A cabbie would be forced to pay the charge against his or her will. Would that stand a legal challenge?

    Private hire drivers undertake private prebooked journeys with predetermined points. The jobs are provided by the operator who must delegate the work to the driver. If an operator has a fleet of 40,000 cars within the M25, why do they need all 40,000 drivers to be buzzing in and out of the CC one or twice a day? Delegating all CC work to a fraction of the drivers who are prepared to pay the fee would be a good idea. Drivers wishing not to enter the CC zone could request just jobs outside of the area. That would be their choice. They have a choice on all jobs. The fact they have a choice would that stand up to a legal challenge?

    Perry Richardson
    TaxiPoint Editor

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