March 22, 2022

As a private hire driver, you should already know that several charges apply to certain types of PCO cars in London. In order to help you maximise your income, the Otto Team has put together a comprehensive guide to how the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) works and whether you’re impacted or not. From the charging hours to the types of private hire vehicles affected, read on to find out everything you need to know.

Don’t forget – the fewer fees you have to pay, the more money you save.

Switch up to electric for less today by using your Uber Clean Air fund

What is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ was first introduced in 2019 in Central London to help reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health.

The ULEZ is enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age:

  • Petrol: Euro 4
  • Diesel: Euro 6

How much is the ULEZ?

You need to pay a £12.50 daily charge by midnight on the third day following the journey, or up to 90 days in advance.

If you don’t pay by midnight on the third day after travelling in the zone, you will receive a PCN which will cost you £160 (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days).

Read more: Best maps for Uber drivers in London

💡 Tips:

The Uber Clean Air Plan was launched to help Uber partners switch up to electric PCO cars. Private hire drivers driving an EV will receive 15% higher rates (compared to UberX) on all Uber Green trips.

When does the ULEZ operate?

The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December).

Where is the ULEZ?

The ULEZ covers all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. The North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads are not in the zone.

Following the expansion to the North and South Circular Roads in October 2021, the ULEZ will be extended across all of Greater London by the end of 2023, which means it’s likely that more PCO drivers of vehicles that do not comply with minimum emissions standards are charged a daily fee of £12.50 for entering the zone.

Find out if a specific address is in the ULEZ on the TfL website.

Read more: The ultimate guide to City of London PCN

Are PCO cars exempt from the ULEZ charge?

Unfortunately, PCO cars are not exempt from the ULEZ, except for designated wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles. You still have to pay the ULEZ if you travel within the zone during charging hours.

Please note that the following groups of people and vehicles are fully exempt from the ULEZ or eligible for a discount:

  • Fully electric vehicles, such as Tesla Model 3 and Kia e-Niro
  • Vehicles for disabled people
  • Taxis
  • Minibuses used for community transport
  • Wheelchair-accessible PHVs
  • Historic vehicles

Find out the full list of discounts and exemptions on the TfL website.

You may check if your vehicle meets emissions and safety standards required to drive in London, or if you need to pay the ULEZ and Congestion charges.

💡 Tips:

Driving an EV means that you don’t have to pay the ULEZ or Congestion charges until 2025.

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Tesla Model 3Kia e-Niro 2Volkswagen ID.3 Life
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How to pay for the ULEZ charge?

The ULEZ charge can be paid by midnight on the third day following the journey, or up to 90 days in advance. You can pay the ULEZ charge in several ways, such as paying it online, or setting up Auto Pay.

As a part of the Otto Family, we will help you automatically include the charge* in the weekly rent so there’s nothing you need to do.

* A 45p administration fee from Otto Car is included.

How to avoid paying the ULEZ charge?

One of the best ways to avoid the ULEZ charge in London is to switch up to an EV. Fully electric PCO cars are exempt from both Congestion Charge and ULEZ.

Other top reasons why it’s the best time to make the switch:

✅ Reduced fuel costs
✅ Less wear & tear
✅ Zero emissions
✅ Expanding EV charging network
✅ Incentives from operators
✅ Quiet & smooth ride – and riders love it!

Looking to switch to electric?

If you’re looking to change to electric this year, the Otto Team can help. We specialise in electric PCO cars for the private hire community.

Learn more about our PCO car ownership schemes: Rent 2 Buy and Rent 2 Buy +.

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