The fine print of Transport for London's (TfL) congestion charging scheme reveals proposals for van fleets to pay 110% of the daily congestion charge - or £5.50 per day, compared to the £5 charge for all other vehicles.
The supplement only applies to light and heavy commercial vehicle fleets that take advantage of TfL's fleet account scheme by paying an annual £10 per vehicle fee to pre-register their vehicles on TfL's database. TfL will then implement a 'decrementing' procedure whereby charges will be paid for pre-registered vehicles detected automatically in the charging zone through their registration number.
Originally, TfL had proposed a 15% supplement - equivalent to a daily charge of £5.75 per vehicle - for fleets to take advantage of the fleet account scheme, but reduced this to a 10% supplement in response to consultation with business.
A TfL spokesman said: 'As part of the fleet account scheme we are not requiring fleet operators to inform us everyday of their vehicles inside the zone, therefore reducing the administrative burden on these businesses. However, the camera technology is designed for enforcement rather than for managing a fleet account and therefore, in negotiation, we have agreed with business that there should be a surcharge of 10% to account for this administration and the possibility of the cameras missing a small percentage of the vehicles.'
A second scheme will apply to car fleets that also have to pay an annual £10 per vehicle registration fee, but will only be liable for the standard £5 per day congestion charge.
'For the scheme aimed at cars, the fleet operator would subsequently confirm at the end of the account period which vehicles had been present in the central zone,' said TfL.
Both van and car schemes include leased and hire vehicles, and are only open to fleets that register at least 25 vehicles.
TfL has also confirmed the extension of its 100% charging discount to all alternative fuel vehicles (not just mono-fuelled gas vehicles), so long as they are: 'registered to specific groups in the TransportAction Register, or converted by an approved supplier on the TransportAction Register,' and has also removed the requirement that certain alternatively-fuelled vehicles would only qualify for an exemption if they were registered and operated from a Greater London address.
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone announced the go-ahead for congestion charging last week and set a deadline start date of February 17, 2003, claiming: 'For the first time there will be a serious attempt to tackle the chronic traffic congestion in central London by reducing the number of vehicles terminating their journeys in or passing through the charging zone.'