What and where is ULEZ and the Congestion charge zone?
ULEZ, short for Ultra Low Emission Zone, was introduced in April 2019 in an effort to improve air quality in London. Contrary to the Congestion Charge zone, ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and every day of the year (except on Christmas Day, as we all know Santa does most of the driving in his eco-friendly sleigh on that day).
The Congestion charge zone was introduced way back in 2003. It is in effect from Monday to Friday, 07:00-18:00. Bank holidays are exempt.
The zone where ULEZ fees applies is the same as the Congestion Charge zone, which is illustrated in the image below. If you aren't sure if you are picking up a car in in the area or if you will be driving through it, you can check your postcode here.
How much is it? How do I pay?
If the vehicle you are hiring from hiyacar does not meet the ULEZ emissions standards, you must pay a daily charge to be able to drive within Central London. Typically, newer diesel cars and petrol cars are compliant. If the owner hasn't specified if his car is ULEZ compliant you can use the vehicle checker provided by Transport for London (TfL). This fee to drive an non-ULEZ compliant vehicle is £12.50 daily.
As for the Congestion charge, if the vehicle you hired is not set up on Auto Pay (which the owner will have specified), you must pay a daily fee of £11.50 to drive in Central London.
You can pay the ULEZ & Congestion charges to drive in Central London here.
What happens if I did not pay my ULEZ/Congestion charge?
CCTVs are in action everywhere in London, which means TfL will have scanned the licence plate of the vehicle you are driving at any point while you were driving within Central London. A few days later, the owner of the car you hired will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). They have a few days to pay and will either reach out to us or to you directly to pay for the PCN.
If you do not pay the charge within a few days, the amount doubles up. As per our terms & conditions, we will charge your credit card as soon as we receive a PCN claim from one of our owners.