The outsourcing firm Capita is planning to hire 900 additional staff to manage London’s congestion charge and low emission zones after it won a five-year extension to its existing contracts with Transport for London (TfL).
The deal is worth £355m to the company, which also manages the BBC licence fee, and includes work related to London’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ), which is scheduled to be expanded in October 2021.
The measures, along with the congestion charge, are designed to improve air quality by keeping the most polluting vehicles out of central London.
The expanded zone, an area bounded by the north and south circular roads, is many times larger than the area covered by the congestion charge and is monitored by a network of cameras.
Drivers of vehicles including motorbikes will be charged £12.50 every day apart from Christmas Day for driving in the zone, if they do not meet the tighter exhaust emission standards.
This payment is in addition to the £15 congestion charge payable every day for those driving in central London between 7am and 10pm. Motorbikes are exempt from the congestion charge.
Capita currently processes an average of 1.5m roadside images each day as part of managing the zones and will migrate its existing technology to the cloud when it starts handling the expanded ULEZ.
Capita said the majority of its new hires would be allowed to work remotely and encouraged to work from home.
Jon Lewis, Capita’s chief executive officer, said the company would work with TfL to roll out schemes to reduce the effects of air pollution and make roads safer.
“These new contracts will see us build on our existing partnership, which has already seen us launch ULEZ on time and on budget, and will draw on our track record of transformation and digitally enabled services, as well as adding value for our shareholders,” Lewis said.
TfL has reported that the existing ultra-low emissions zone in central London has already led to a 44% drop in roadside levels of the harmful gas nitrogen dioxide, NO2, and that 79% of vehicles entering the area were meeting its emission standards.
Capita, which is one of the major providers of outsourced services to the UK government, announced in June it would cut at least 200 jobs because of financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.