Europe News: London’s “luxury minicab” swindle

Europe News:  London’s “luxury minicab” swindle

In an exclusive investigation, Clean Green Cars has discovered that a large number of expensive luxury cars are being registered as private hire vehicles in London to avoid the Congestion Charge.

On the list of unlikely minicabs are an Aston Martin DB7, one BMW M5 and eighteen X5s, a Jaguar XK, a Cadillac Escalade, two Maserati Quattroportes, three Maybach 62s, eight Rolls Royce Phantoms, 31 Bentleys and 52 Range Rovers.

Also on the list are eight Mercedes SL models – which don’t have a back seat.

By paying an £82 application fee and an annual licence fee of £27, owners can avoid paying the current £8 per day Congestion Charge. This is expected to rise to £25 per day for such vehicles in 2008.

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

“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.”

He says that the logical move would be to stop exemptions for any minicabs that fall into Band G.

For the full story, including comments from Transport for London, click here

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