CRAPSICAB FIRM Uber could be forced to pay nearly £3m to keep its London licence after it was confirmed that Transport for London (TfL) would be putting in a new tariff for large operators in order to protect smaller ones.
Having originally planned to charge £166,000 (already an increase from £2,800) it now looks set to charge a cool £2.9m to the multi-national, the maximum charge under the new tariff aimed at fleets of over 10,000 vehicles.
Originally it had planned to charge an additional £68 per car to operators with more than 1,000 vehicle fleets, but this appears to have been dropped.
The next biggest firm, Addison "Addy" Lee, has less than 10,000 but more than 1,000 and so will have to pay £700,000 - again, a huge jump from the previous £2,800.
The object of the exercise is to protect small and medium cab companies
The GMB union which counts cabbies among its number has delivered a 100,000 name petition to TfL warning that public safety and workers rights must be protected in any consideration of renewal for the US cab giant.
Uber is due to have its licence renewed at the end of September. It is currently running on a short-term licence while the new pay structure is hammered out. A cross-party group of MPs (APPG) is calling for Uber's licence to be revoked over safety concerns.
A second group of cab drivers, United Private Hire Drivers, is insisting that Workers Rights be a condition of renewal, which is a tadge awks given that at around the time that renewal is due to be granted, Uber will begin a legal appeal against a ruling on just that issue.
Earlier this month, fellow ride-hailing app Taxify was forced off London roads after just three days for not securing its own licence, but rather piggy-backing on that of a company it had bought. Taxify prides itself of vetting and safe hiring of its drivers, but without a licence, that stood for nothing in the eyes of TfL. µ
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