4 Apr 19

30% London commuters can't afford ULEZ

Almost one in three commuters into London won't be able to afford their travel to and from work anymore when the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) debuts on April 8, a survey by Bikesure shows. 

From that date, the ULEZ will cover Central London. Its aim is to improve London's abysmal air quality, and it will do so by penalising all vehicles that do not meet its stringent emission standards.

Emissions standards

Exempt from the charge will be the following vehicle types:

  • Motorbikes which conform to at least the Euro 3 emissions standard (i.e. emit no more than 2.3 g/km of CO2 and 0.15 g/km of NOx).
  • Petrol cars, minibuses and LCVs conforming at least to Euro 4 (no more than 1 g/km of CO2 and 0.08 g/km of NOx)
  • Diesel cars conforming at least to Euro 6 (no more than 0.5 g/km of CO2, 0.08 g/km of NOx and 0.005 g/km of particulate matter).

That still leaves most current cars and LCVs under a penalty of £12.50 (€14.60), payable every time they enter Central London, day or night. That comes on top of the Congestion Charge (the ULEZ is identical to the Congestion Charge Zone), which is £11.50 (€13.40) for any vehicle entering the zone between 7 am and 6 pm from Monday to Friday. 

Too much

Adding both costs means a typical commuter will have to pay £120 (€90) per working week to drive into London. For many, that's simply too much. Bikesure, a provider of motorcycle insurance, quizzed 1,000 commuters into London about the impact the ULEZ will have on their travel into work and back. 

  • 31% said the ULEZ would make it unaffordable for them to drive into Central London.
  • A further 32% said they wouldn't drive into Central London as often as before.
  • Only 29% of commuters said they would not be affected by the ULEZ, with 7% saying they didn't yet know whether it would.

Asked whether the ULEZ would affect their usual mode of transport,

  • 37% said they had already changed;
  • 46% said they had 'thought about' it; and
  • only 18% of commuters said they would not be changing their usual way to commute.

"Good idea"

Despite the considerable disruption caused by the ULEZ, 

  • fully 47% said they thought it was a good idea;
  • 45% 'understood' the reasons for it, but felt frustrated by the idea; and
  • just 8% thought it was a bad idea.

According to Bikesure, the ULEZ could mean a surge in the use of scooters, mopeds and other motorcycles by as much as 141%. The ULEZ is set to expand further to the North and South Circular Roads by October 2021. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs