Uber to be limited by Sadiq Khan in congestion and pollution crackdown

London mayor wants to follow New York and limit the number of Uber drivers in London in a bid to reduce congestion and pollution

  • Sadiq Khan has urged Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to give more power
  • Mayor said in letter to Grayling that mini cabs in the capital have almost doubled 
  • New York approved a cap on number of licences for ride-hailing cars last week

London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the Transport Secretary to give him the power to limit the number of Uber drivers in London following a similar move in New York.

Mr Khan wrote to Chris Grayling stating that the ‘huge increase’ in mini cabs in the English capital was causing increased congestion, pollution and leaving many drivers struggling to earn enough money to support themselves and their families.

He stated that the number of private hire drivers in London had almost doubled from 60,000 in 2011 to 110,000.

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Last week, New York approved a cap on the number of licences for ride-hailing cars, which will impact app-based services such as Uber and Lyft.

Mr Khan described this as a ‘necessary step’.

He wrote: ‘Unlike New York, I don’t have the power to cap the number of private hire vehicles in London.

‘I am writing to again urge the Government to grant me that power as the Mayor of London – alongside appropriate restrictions on cross-border hiring, to enable Londoners, like New Yorkers, to breathe better air and live in a less congested city.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (left) has asked for more power from Chris Grayling (right)

An Uber spokesman said: ‘Uber is committed to helping address congestion and air pollution and we strongly support the Mayor’s ultra low emission zone.

‘Already more than half of the miles travelled with Uber are in hybrid or electric vehicles.

‘By competing with private cars, getting more people into fewer vehicles and investing in our clean air plan, we can be a part of solution in London.’

A 2016 taxi driver protest against Uber. Drivers blocked Whitehall demonstrating in London 

In June a judge granted Uber a short-term operating licence in London after its permit was initially not renewed over safety concerns.

The firm conceded it had made ‘serious mistakes’ and that Transport for London (TfL) was correct in its September decision, but told an appeal hearing it had made ‘wholesale’ reforms.

The New York Uber crackdown dealt another huge blow to Uber and other car-for-hire companies.  

Uber drivers protest fare cuts and go on strike in front of the New York offices in 2016

The initial rise of car-for-hire apps brought New York’s iconic yellow cabs to their knees and since December, six yellow-cab drivers have committed suicide.

Those deaths have been linked to desperation over plummeting income. T

he increased competition has slashed the value of yellow cab taxi licenses from more than $1 million in 2014 to less than $200,000 today.

The new bill stipulates a 12-month cap on all new for-hire-vehicle licenses, unless they are wheelchair accessible, as well as minimum pay requirements for app drivers. 


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