ULEZ lands in half term traffic lull
London’s ULEZ began this week, charging non-Euro VI coaches £100 a day to reach the former Congestion Charging zone.
The scheme, brought forward 18 months by Mayor Sadiq Khan, has proven controversial (see London Latest, this issue), with some Euro VI coaches registered in 2015 still not on the Transport for London database, and Euro VI retrofit kits are sparse, with many mired in a backlog at Millbrook Proving Ground.
Operators in London were unsurprised that congestion was moderate on the first day of ULEZ, since the Monday was also the start of half term for many of London’s schools: “Traffic was a bit lighter but we expected that anyway,” said a spokesman for Lewis Coaches. “I suspect that the penny won’t drop with private motorists until the first fines start coming in the post.”
Golden Boy Director Terry McIntyre told Bus and Coach Buyer much the same: “We’ll be OK as almost 70% of our fleet is now Euro VI, with a further 12 to replace. I know many operators are saying they’ll simply pay the £100 fee if they have to; as we have invested so much in our fleet, we didn’t really want to hear that.
“The real impact has only just been realised by ordinary people. It was all over LBC radio this morning, with the Deputy Mayor suggesting tradesmen will have to consider going to work on a bicycle.”