Due to traffic congestion in Europe’s busiest city, London, the residents had to endure the worst air quality. This issue led to many deaths and respiratory problems, and the government introduced different restrictions and charges for polluting vehicles, including the ULEZ charge. Although these changes have significantly improved the air quality in London, many people are still at risk, forcing the London Mayor to expand the ULEZ all over the city from 29 August 2023.


Transport for London has estimated that 160,000 more cars will be paying the ULEZ charge after the expansion. These changes have a significant effect on the PCO industry because all PCO drivers are liable for the ULEZ and Congestion charge.


The experts at a PCO car hire agency in London, G&M Direct Hire, have explained how ULEZ has affected the PCO industry and what to expect next.



ULEZ Expansion

Traffic congestion is a serious issue in London—a traffic survey last year suggested that London was the most congested city worldwide. Thousands of people die as a result of poor air quality. To combat this issue, the London government introduced ULEZ in 2019 and has seen positive results.


Initially, the zone covered just central London (the same as the Congestion Charge zone), but the government expanded it to the North and South Circular Roads in October 2021. After the latest changes, the ULEZ will become 18 times larger this year, covering the overall city. The charges are still £12.50 per day. Anyone who drives a car that doesn’t meet the TfL emission standards has to pay these charges whenever they enter ULEZ.


60% of Residents Objected to the ULEZ Expansion Decision

After the Mayor announced his plans to expand the zone, 60% of outer London residents objected to it. They made it clear that they don’t want the ULEZ expansion and claimed the air quality wouldn’t get affected that much in these boroughs. Despite their views, the Mayor went ahead with this decision and announced the date of ULEZ expansion. He explained how air pollution is causing chronic and severe illnesses like cancer, dementia, asthma and lung diseases and expanding ULEZ would bring cleaner air to millions of Londoners.

 Ultra low emission zone in London 

Drivers Shifting to Electric Cars

Due to increasing demand, government incentives and increasing restrictions for polluting vehicles, more and more people are shifting to electric cars in London. According to Zap Map, a popular EV charging map platform, there are over 660,000 electric cars in the UK. In December 2022, the electric car registration rate saw the highest number, with 42,284 new registrations.


PCO drivers take rides in all major London boroughs daily. Paying the £15 Congestion charge and £12.5 ULEZ charge every day can be an inconvenience for them. That’s why Uber and other rideshare drivers are more inclined to make this eco-friendly switch and save money.

Government Incentives

The UK government will ban the sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and is currently offering various incentives to encourage people towards electric vehicles. One of these incentives is the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. This scheme offers a grant of up to 75% of the installation costs incurred when setting up an EV charge point at your home.


The government is also increasing charging points around the city, and some of them are offering free charging. As the restrictions and policies keep changing, the incentives also change to meet the Net Zero target.


Better Driving Conditions for PCO Drivers

The traffic levels in London are higher than they were during pre-pandemic days. This can be a major annoyance for PCO drivers because they take busy roads during rush hours to pick up/drop off their passengers. With ULEZ expansion, these levels will go down as most people will stop taking unnecessary rides in the city. As a result, PCO drivers can take more rides in less time and enjoy more profits.


PCO Rental Companies Offer More EVs and Low-Emission Vehicles

PCO car hire companies rent vehicles to rideshare drivers and take care of PHV licences, insurance, and other aspects of car maintenance. These companies have started offering modern zero and low-emission vehicles to meet drivers’ demand. This way, PCO drivers can comply with TfL’s regulations while reducing their carbon footprint.

Electric car for rent

If you’re also looking to rent an electric car for PCO, check out G&M Direct Hire. It’s the leading name for PCO car hire in London, offering modern vehicles at affordable rates all over the city. From Kia e-Niro to Mustang Mach-E, you can rent brand-new cars from them. View their fleet or contact them for details.