Derek Turner, managing director of street management, Transport for London, has written to 35,000 fleet operators this week to inform them of a new publication that explains the two different charging schemes for fleets. Both schemes apply to fleets operating more than 25 vehicles and each involves a bulk payment system, with the intention of reducing corporate administration costs and hassle to a minimum.
Under both schemes, an employer has to pay £10 for each vehicle it wants to register for the scheme, in addition to the regular daily charge for a vehicle entering the charging zone. The employer must also make an advance payment to cover its estimated congestion charging bill for the first month.
The first payment programme, called the Notification Scheme, is open to all vehicle types, including cars and is based on a £5 a day congestion charge. At the end of each month, fleets provide TfL with a list of the exact details of which vehicles entered the zone on each day of the month. TfL then checks this against its own records, and takes a direct debit for the following month, based on the charges incurred by the fleet during the previous month.
The second option, the Automated Scheme, is open to commercial and freight vehicles, including light vans, but excludes cars and has a £5.50 a day charge per vehicle.
Fleets make an upfront payment based on expected use and the cost is cross-referred with electronic records from TfL's network of cameras around the charging zone. A pre-payment for the forthcoming month is then taken by direct debit based on the previous month's charges.
Turner said: 'There are several benefits of registering for a fleet scheme if you have vehicles that regularly enter the charging zone. One major advantage is that there is no chance of incurring penalty charge notices for registered vehicles.'