• Nov 1st 2007 at 8:02PM
  • 10
The website Cleangreencars.co.uk has an idea for you. If, say, you're a luxury car driver who doesn't want to pay the daily London Congestion Charge (currently £8, but it might be going up to £25 in a few months): tell the government you're offering a "private hire" (i.e., taxi) service and cruise London for free (well, for a £82 application fee and £27 per year). Cleangreencars has discovered that there are an unusually high number of luxury cars that have been granted the private hire designation, including two Maserati Quattroportes, three Maybach 62 and eight Rolls Royce Phantoms. See the full list after the break. Cleangreecars is not happy these Band-G cars are driving through the city without paying.

Any of our London readers want to try and actually hire one of these rides?

[Source: Cleangreencars.co.uk]

Register your Rolls and avoid the London congestion charge!

In an exclusive investigation, has discovered that a large number of expensive luxury cars are being registered as private hire vehicles in London. Amongst the list of cars you are not likely to see parked under the flashing yellow light of a minicab office are:

Model Number Registered as private hire vehicles
Aston Martin DB7 1
Bentley (all models) 31
BMW M5 1
BMW X5 18
Cadillac Escalade 1
Jaguar XK 1
Range Rover 52
Maserati Quattroporte 2
Maybach 62 3
Rolls Royce Phantom 8

By paying an £82 application fee and £27 per year licence, owners can avoid paying £8 per day Congestion Charge – which is planned to rise to £25 per day for such vehicles in 2008.

Comments Jay Nagley, Publisher of Clean Green Cars, "The Congestion Charge is presented as an environmental measure, yet exceptions are being granted to some of the highest-polluting vehicles on the road.

While we have no objection to exemption for minicabs in principle, it is absurd that a private hire vehicle with a V12 engine has to pay nothing, when a family doing the school run with a Renault Espace 2.0T Auto will be liable for the full £25. The logical move would be to stop exemptions for any minicabs that fall into Band G – that way no-one would have an incentive to register their luxury car as a minicab."

Showing just how lax the current system is, there are eight Mercedes SL models currently registered as private hire vehicles – a car which does not even have a back seat. For the full story, including comments from Transport for London (which are almost as strange as an Aston Martin minicab), please visit www.cleangreencars.co.uk.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      How difficult would it be to only give these "for hire" permits to vehicles with a bolt-on big "taxi" sign that attaches on top - with the business license number?

      Most businesses that require licenses are in easily searchable databases that cops could check at a click of the mouse.

      This does not seem like an insurmountable problem.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Private hire vehicles don't need any of that by law. All they have to do is display a green circular sticker on the top corner of both their front and rear windscreen. Most of these cars are obviously just evading the charge but I have legitimately seen companies that have a fleet of ridiculously expensive cars (Phantoms, Bentleys ect..) to cater to the growing number of uber-rich tourists that flock into London (Knightsbridge mostly) every summer so I suspect that this article is kind of bias as its portraying the story as if they are all rich congestion charge evaders.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't think they presume all other factors will remain static. It's just that it's incredibly difficult (impossible?) to draft new legislation that is 100% watertight. Human beings are a resourceful bunch, especially when money is involved!

      The change proposed by CGC should work perfectly well to shut this loophole. No doubt there well be some bonafide private hire vehicles in Band G but they will just have to exchange their cars for something greener.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Same thing happens in Sydney - People register luxury car - BMW 7 series etc all as hire cars - the only suckers are normal folk

      • 7 Years Ago
      This is just people using common sense and using a perfectly legal method to bypass what is essentially a draconian tax. Motorists already pay for these roads inside the congestion zone, we fund them through the road fund licence. It is unreasonable to be forced to pay twice.

      The licence for ‘private hire vehicles’ also covers those used for chauffeuring, therefore many of the vehicles mentioned may be legitimately registered anyway. If anything, all this fuss will achieve is to encourage more people to register their vehicles for private hire use. I say good luck to them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This one should be fairly easy to redress: don't exempt private rental cars from the congestion charge.
        • 2 Years Ago
        I'm not sure if you live in London because if you did you'd know that in the last 6-8 years there has been a massive increase in the private hire taxi market share over black cabs. Firms like Addison Lee have hundreds of cars in their fleet and are continuously growing. To expect them to pay the congestion charge on a daily basis will add millions of pounds to their annual expenses. The government has actually considered giving these private hire vehicles more rights on the road such as the right to use bus lanes which until now has only been granted to black cabs rather than cutting down on their rights.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oligarchs ALWAYS take care of themselves first and their rich and powerful friends second. This loophole does both.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is entirely predictable, and is a direct result of the law of unintended consequences.

      Lawmakers write laws that address a specific problem, generally presuming that all other factors will remain static. But citizens change their behavior based on the new law - and will interpret the sum of all laws to their best advantage. This is why I always discount the predicted effects of new laws.

      No surprise here.
      • 7 Years Ago
      SCORE! hahaha
      Super rich: 1
      All the Little People:0
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