Congestion Charge – all you need to know about the new regulations

London Congestion Charge - How the new regulations affect PCO drivers
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UPDATE
To support drivers, Uber will be adding a £1 Central London fee to every trip that starts, ends or passes through the Congestion Charge zone. This new fee will be activated as soon as the new regulation comes into effect, starting Monday, April 8th.

Transport for London (TfL) is lifting the exemption for Congestion Charge on PCO vehicles and introduces tighter eligibility criteria for green vehicle discounts.

Following a public consultation, the Mayor of London announced that effective 8 April 2019, private hire vehicles will no longer be automatically exempt from paying the Congestion Charge. The new regulations also carry stricter standards for green vehicles allowed in the charging zone, replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) with the revised Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD).

The Congestion Charge is an £11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within central London on weekdays during daytime hours (07:00 to 18:00), aimed to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in and around the charging zone. The fee has been gradually increased and the conditions for exemption restricted since it was originally introduced in February 2003. All private hire vehicles enjoyed exemption until the most recent modification, which will be in force until October 2021, when discount eligibility will be further restricted to fully electric vehicles only.

To help understand the changes to the Congestion Charge regulations and how they will impact your work as a rideshare driver, we compiled the FAQ guide below.

When does the Congestion Charge change come into effect?

Monday 8th April 2019 at 7:00 am.

How much is the Congestion Charge and how do I pay?

You’re charged £11.50 for every day you enter the charging zone between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm, with the exception of weekends.

If you are a Splend Member
Splend Members have our full support as all of our vehicles are registered with TfL, and Splend will be billed daily if your vehicle enters the Congestion Charge zone. We will then on-charge this daily to your nominated credit card on file. Therefore, the only step you need to take is to ensure you always have the necessary funds on your nominated credit card.

If you drive your own car
You can pay the charge online from your London Road User Charging account. If you don’t have one yet, you can register here.

You can also reduce the costs by £1 a day if you register for TfL’s automated payment system, Congestion Charge Auto Pay. This is also the method recommended by TfL, as this way you will never be late on your payments and you can register as many as 5 vehicles into a single account.

What if I forget to pay the Congestion Charge?

If you are a Splend Member
Again, Splend Members don’t have to worry about penalties because, as mentioned above, all of our vehicles are registered and we process all payments in due time. In other words, this shouldn’t concern you as long as you make sure to always have a balance of at least £11.50 on your credit card.

If you drive your own car
If you don’t pay the Congestion Charge by midnight on the day after you entered the charging zone, a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle. If you receive one of these, you can either pay the penalty or seek legal advice and challenge the PCN within 28 days of the document’s date of service.

If you choose to pay the fine, it’s best to do so within 14 days, as you’ll receive a 50% discount. Be careful, as if you fail to pay the discounted penalty in 14 days or the full amount in 28 days, your penalty charge will increase by 50% and you will also no longer be able to challenge the PCN!

Where is the Congestion Charge zone?

The Congestion Charge zone covers Central London roughly from Vauxhall to Clerkenwell and from Marylebone to Southwark The area is enclosed by Marylebone Rd, Euston Rd, Pentonville Rd and City Rd (A501) to the north, Great Eastern St, Commercial St and Tower Bridge Rd to the east, New Kent Rd, Newington Butts and Kennington Ln to the south, and Vauxhall Bridge Rd, Grosvenor Pl, Park Ln and Edgware Rd to the west.

London Congestion Charging zone

Image credit: Transport for London

What cars are exempt from the Congestion Charge change?

The vehicles that are exempt from the Congestion Charge from the 8th of April 2019 are the ones that meet the following requirements and apply for a Cleaner Vehicle Discount:

  • Euro 6 emission standard compliant
  • CO2 emissions below 75g/km
  • Zero-emission capable range of at least 20 miles

Cars like these above will be eligible for the discount until October 2021, after which the criteria are poised for a further restriction, making it available for fully electric vehicles only. After December 2025 the discount will expire, meaning that all drivers entering the charging zone will have to pay the daily fee regardless of the car’s emissions category.

Is Congestion Charge the same as the ULEZ charge?

No. Although the Congestion Charge discount is called Cleaner Vehicle Discount, its primary purpose is to reduce traffic during daytime hours. ULEZ, however, stands for Ultra Low Emission Zone, and it’s aimed exclusively to improve air quality.

If you are a Splend Member
You don’t need to worry about the ULEZ charge – our entire fleet is ULEZ-compliant.

If you drive your own car
The ULEZ charge is currently enforced in the same area as the congestion charging zone, but all day, every day, and the criteria for exemption are more permissive. Cars with Euro 6 diesel- or Euro 4 petrol engines and newer are exempt from paying the £12.50 daily charge.

Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those registered with the DVLA after 2005, although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001. In the case of diesel engines, these are commonly found in cars registered after September 2015.

About Splend

Splend offers vehicle access to Uber drivers in the UK, Canada, Australia and Mexico through its Rent and Rent-to-Buy plans. In addition to the most important tool in your career as a rideshare driver, Splend also provides ongoing training, support, and data-driven feedback via a personal Member Success Representative. Our Members also receive some fantastic Member Benefits including discounts from our partners!

For more information about Splend, give our team a call on 0333 444 0533 or email us.