Uber's Been Pushing The Government For More Congestion Charging

By Holly Brockwell on at

A closed-doors meeting between transport secretary Chris Grayling and Uber saw the ride-hailing company push for regressive congestion charges that an official warned them would screw over poorer drivers.

A Freedom of Information request from The Guardian showed that Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spoke out against potential plans for capping the number of private hire vehicles, which would include Uber cars. Instead, he told the government to introduce congestion charges for vehicles with "less utility," which an unnamed senior civil servant responded would be "regressive and lead to higher costs for the less wealthy."

The concern, apparently echoed by TfL, is that disadvantaged drivers would end up eating the cost instead of people who can actually afford it.

As James Farrar of the IWGB United Private Hire Drivers branch puts it:

"Uber is cynically proposing a congestion charge knowing full well that drivers on below minimum wage will end up paying it while Uber and its passengers continue to get a free ride."

The company has previously bickered with Sadiq Khan over plans for private hire caps. It seems Uber is fully on board with reducing the number of cars on the road, as long as it's not theirs.

The meeting also included discussion about Uber's plans to be the new Citymapper, including potentially incorporating TfL bus and tube data, as we reported yesterday. They also talked about ways to leverage new technology for better transport, and offering improved services in more rural areas.

Main image: R4vi via Flickr CC