Misguided PCN saga making a mockery of ULEZ

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) represented the biggest legislatorial shake-up in years for some operators. It led to major upheaval in their long-term business plans, as did the subsequent changes that Mayor Sadiq Khan made to the ULEZ’s original implementation plan.

So the least that Mr Khan could have done would have been to ensure the Transport for London (TfL), which oversees the ULEZ and the penalty charge notice (PCN) regime aimed at the non-compliant, had its house in order beforehand.

That seems not to have happened. Many operators have received PCNs for coaches that meet Euro 6 standards. And that’s not by retrofit; it’s those that are OEM Euro 6 and which represent a significant investment to meet ULEZ requirements.

Even on that basis, the following story should be scarcely believable.

One operator has found itself in receipt of two letters from TfL. They arrived in the same day’s post. In one hand, it has a communication thanking it for proving that the vehicle concerned meets Euro 6 standards and thus complies with ULEZ requirements. In the other, it holds a missive that threatens court action because multiple PCNs relating to one coach’s non-compliance have not yet been settled.

Both letters reference the same vehicle.

At operators’ busiest time of the year, management time is being wasted on dealing with such correspondence. It is true that in some cases, TfL has dealt with erroneously issued PCNs rapidly and suitably amended its records, but accounts of it not doing so remain too common.

Saying it will be addressed soon is not good enough. TfL needs to step up and put things right now.