London Drivers Are Renting Parking Spaces Due to Towering Emission Fees

Uber Technologies' initial public offering roadshow
A London black cabs is seen outside the main entrance of Claridge's Hotel where Uber Technologies launched its initial public offering (IPO) roadshow in central London, Britain April 29, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville)

London has officially cemented its title as the worst place to park in the world. Over the last few weeks, drivers have been cramming to find parking spaces to avoid paying higher emission fees.

On April 8, 2019, the center of London officially became an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The shift nominated even tighter emission standards and vehicles, including motorbikes, failing to make the cut will have to pay £12.50 or $16.30.

The fees are too painful that people working in ULEZ would rather leave their cars somewhere outside of it. This phenomenon has presented an opportunity for property owners just outside ULEZ, CNET reports.

YourParkingSpace, the leading parking app in the United Kingdom with over a million users, provides an online platform for people to rent out their extra parking spaces and driveways to commuters who work in the city. A week after ULEZ's effectivity, the app enjoyed a 34% increase in driveway lessors.

"It is very encouraging to see that the ULEZ appears to be having an immediate desired impact," Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said in a statement. "It is also interesting to see the spike in savvy property owners registering their driveways and empty spaces near the ULEZ, making it easier for motorists to find a parking space near a bus stop, train or underground station."

UK's Airbnb for parking estimates that its users have saved over 132 tons of carbon emissions by using the app to look for parking spaces rather than add congestion to the Center of London. The app may find its subscriber count ballooning soon as other UK cities like Bath, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds gear up to enact their own ultralow emission zone.

However, it seems that this additional income for lessors is only temporary. On 2021, ULEZ will be extended to the North and South Circulars of London. This means the people leasing their driveways now may find themselves covered in the expanded ULEZ.

Meanwhile, drivers who are in doubt whether ULEZ covers them may check the TfL website for guidelines. 1.3 million people have checked the page so far. Many of London's ambulances, police cars, and fire engines will have to be replaced to comply with the new standards.

Interestingly, 21,000 black cabs, positively London's dirtiest vehicles with diesels that pump out 16% of all transport nitrous oxide (NOx) in central London, has been granted an exception. However, TfL says that all new taxis must be zero-emission. Disable passenger vehicles are also exempted, The Guardian reports.

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