Uber set to launch 15p eco-charge for London journeys

Ride-hailing firm Uber is launching its 15p per-mile "eco-charge" for all journeys taken within London, in the same week that Sadiq Khan has unveiled the world's largest air quality network in the capital.

Uber set to launch 15p eco-charge for London journeys

According to Uber

The move from Uber is part of its pledge to spend £200m on its ambition to electrify its entire London fleet of passenger vehicles by 2025.

Starting from tomorrow (16 January), Uber will ring-fence the profits as grants for London-based drivers who require help to purchase EVs. The amount of support drivers will receive towards the cost of an EV will depend on how many miles they have logged on the Uber app, with a full-time driver working 40 hours a week expected to receive a grant of around £3,000-£4,500.

According to Uber, more than half the miles on UberX journeys – which seat up to four passengers – in London are already in hybrids or EVs.

Speaking at the launch of Uber’s new clean air strategy back in October, the firm’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said that the new measures were spurred by the upcoming implementation of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London.

Air quality monitoring

The ULEZ has been created by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who today launched a new air quality monitoring network to help improve the city’s toxic levels of air pollution.

Fixed sensors will provide real-time data on London’s air quality in tens of thousands of locations across the capital. These will be complimented by mobile sensors equipped to Google Street View cars which will be able to identify areas of toxic air that the network might miss.

The data will be publicly available on an interactive online map on the Breathe London website, allowing Londoners to see the condition of the air they are breathing while enabling more accurate polluting forecasting.

The London Mayor said: “London’s filthy air is a public health crisis that leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness.

“An issue this large and complex requires bold and innovative action, so I’m proud that we’re leading the world in establishing this new monitoring network – allowing Londoners to see the levels of pollution at a local level. This real-time data will also help us learn more about London’s toxic air and help us to put the right policies in place to continue our clean-up efforts.”

Clean Air Strategy

The announcement comes less than a week after a report found that the Mayor’s wide-range measures to tackle London’s air quality crisis will “substantially” improve the health of people living in the capital’s most deprived areas.

Breath London will be followed in April by the launch of the world’s first ULEZ in London, which will force vehicles meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries) to travel within the zone.

Khan urged for more for more help from Westminster to tackle London’s “public health crisis”, after describing the Government’s new Clean Air Strategy, launched yesterday, as “hugely disappointing”.

The Strategy set out new plans on air pollution that ministers say go beyond existing EU rules, with a pledge to improve air quality nationwide to the standards the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends.

Farmers will be subject to air quality regulations for the first time to cut their growing contribution to pollution, under the Government plans set out on Monday, while diesel vehicle drivers and owners of wood-burning stoves will also face restrictions.

George Ogleby

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