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?
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.