TRANSPORT for London (TfL) is promising fleets an improvement in the administration of the congestion charge following a decision to invest more money in its organisational structure to cut down on the number of blunders.
Capita, the main contractor behind the congestion charge, has renegotiated its contract with TfL and has pledged to employ more staff, introduce new IT to improve data quality, improve customer care and introduce 'firm but fair' enforcement and compliance.
TfL spokeswoman Ruth Excell said this should result in a better service for fleets. 'Fleets should see an improvement in customer service and data management, with fewer errors overall. The whole service will be improved from next month,' she said.
Problems encountered by fleets since the introduction of the charge in February include several companies receiving letters saying their accounts would be closed - the result of an administrative error - and one company overpaying almost £10,000 in fines due to a software error.
Peter Hendy, managing director for surface transport at TfL, said: 'This new deal will see Capita delivering an enhanced service to congestion charge customers. It will result in improved quality of service, help to reduce the number of errors made and improve compliance. We will be taking a tougher line on the small minority of motorists seeking to avoid paying the congestion charge with improved data management and processing of payments, representations and appeals.'
Fleets should notice a difference across four main areas. These include the call centre where a recruitment drive and training and data checks will improve response times. TfL also aims to cut down on the number of penalty charge notices sent to fleets and drivers in error.
And the number of appeals against enforcements is expected to fall as TfL improves the handling of appeals and there will also be a review of its management information systems to ensure TfL can identify problems quickly.
Changes will start to be introduced next month with the full programme being completed by March 2004.