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Uber plans pollution levy on London fares

Ride-sharing pioneer Uber plans a clean air levy in London to help combat pollution
Ride-sharing pioneer Uber plans a clean air levy in London to help combat pollution AFP/File

London (AFP)

Uber will levy a "clean air fee" on London journeys from early 2019 to help tackle pollution and part-fund electric cars for its drivers, the pioneer ride-sharing app said Tuesday.

A levy of 15 pence (17 euro cents) per mile will be introduced, resulting in an average additional cost of 45 pence per ride, Uber said in a statement.

"The Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan) has set out a bold vision to tackle air pollution in the capital and we're determined to do everything we can to back it," said Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshah.

Uber said the amount drivers received toward the cost of an electric vehicle would be based on the number of miles (kilometres) driven.

"For example, a driver using the app for an average of 40 hours per week could expect around £3,000 of support... in two years? time and £4,500 in three years," the company said.

Uber wants to use only electric cars in London from 2025, while it anticipates the first 20,000 upgrades by the end of 2021.

In June, Uber won a legal bid to restore its operating licence in London after a judge overturned an earlier decision by Khan -- and granted the ride-hailing app a 15-month permit.

The capital's transport authority stripped the American firm of its licence in late 2017 amid safety concerns, but Uber appealed the decision and was allowed to continue operating while the case was heard.

Earlier this month, Uber drivers in Britain went on strike, demanding higher fares and improved workers' rights.

Uber operates in 60 countries and is eyeing a valuation above $100 billion for its much-anticipated share offering due in 2019, which would be the biggest-ever in the tech sector.

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