Are you a frequent or occasional driver around London and wondering if the ULEZ Expansion that comes into force on the 25th October 2021, will affect you? Do you rent your car out on hiyacar and want to know how to avoid drivers costing you in PCNs? We’ve put together everything you’ll need to know about these changes.
What is the ULEZ?
For those new to driving in London or just unfamiliar with the term, ULEZ is short for ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone,’ an air quality improvement scheme implemented in April 2019, to help improve air quality in London. The ULEZ is in operation 24/7, every day of the year (except for Christmas Day).
What’s the difference between the ULEZ and ZEZs?
Yet another acronym to get your head around, ZEZs, short for ‘Zero Emission Zones,’ are areas in which diesel, petrol and any emitting vehicles (inc. hybrids) are prohibited from accessing during certain times. These ZEZs are much smaller than the ULEZ, consisting of just streets at a time. There are currently two ZEZs in operation in London, one in the City of London and one in Islington & Hackney. Visit the Urban Access Regulations London ZEZs page for more information on days, times, vehicle types and penalties.
Is the ULEZ the same as the Congestion Charge Zone?
Currently, the ULEZ and Congestion Charge Zone cover the same area; however, the upcoming ULEZ expansion will put this zone far wider than the Congestion Charge Zone. The Congestion Charge Zone is in effect Monday to Sunday between 07:00 - 22:00, again with Christmas Day exempt.
Where will the new ULEZ cover?
The ULEZ is being expanded into Enfield in the north, Southwark in the south, covering Ealing in the west and Newham in the east - see the map below for a more comprehensive view.
Only the area is changing, the charges remain the same.
Are the North Circular and South Circular roads included in the expanded ULEZ?
Though the expanded ULEZ will have these popular roads as it’s boundaries, driving only on the North and South Circular roads, without entering the ULEZ on the map above, will not incur any charges for non-ULEZ compliant vehicles.
How do I know if the hiyacar I’m picking up will be in this zone?
To check whether you’ll be driving through the ULEZ or picking a hiyacar up within it, enter the postcode you’ll be picking the hiyacar up from in the TFL postcode search. Or, if you’re familiar with the areas you’ll be driving in, around London, consult the above ULEZ Expansion map.
Which vehicles face the ULEZ charge and which are exempt?
If you’ve opted for an electric hiyacar then you will be exempt from the ULEZ charge.
Newer diesel cars and petrol cars are also ULEZ compliant - for hiyacar Owners or those looking to list their car, if you’re in any doubt about whether your vehicle meets the ULEZ Emissions standards, please do consult TFL’s vehicle checker. For hiyacar drivers, listings on our website, Android and iOS hiyacar apps will show whether the car is ULEZ compliant.
I’m a hiyacar Owner and a driver didn’t pay the ULEZ or Congestion Charge during their hire, what happens now?
Whilst your vehicle was driven within this zone, the license plate will have been scanned by CCTV in the area and after a few days you will receive a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice). It is advisable to pay your PCN straight away, to avoid additional charges, you do so via the TFL ‘Pay a Penalty Charge’ page. You can contact the driver responsible for not paying their ULEZ or Congestion Charge directly, to make them aware of the charge and to sort out their paying it. We’re also happy to help you via Live Chat to arrange this.
To avoid this happening in the first place, we highly recommend setting up Auto Pay!
I want to set up Auto Pay, how do I do so?
Auto Pay is a great way to avoid drivers forgetting to pay the associated charges with driving around London. If you share multiple vehicles on hiyacar, you can also cover upto 5 of them, to avoid any future PCNs.
Auto Pay can be set up on the TFL website, on their Auto Pay page.
Having Auto Pay set up is also a real winner for potential drivers who know the London roads, so you could boost your bookings by letting future drivers of your car know that it is covered - you just bill them for the charge that occurred, post hire.