A parent whose child is receiving cancer treatment at a hospital in outer London’s newly expanded Ulez zone says the charge is a “bureaucratic burden” at an already a stressful time.
Arin Ghosh has to drive his daughter from Kent to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton every day for chemotherapy.
He must pay the £12.50 daily Ulez charge and then claim it back.
Transport for London (TfL), which operates and enforces the Ulez, urged affected families to get in touch.
The Ulez was expanded last Tuesday to include all of Greater London and means drivers of the most polluting cars must pay the £12.50 daily charge to enter the zone.
The Royal Marsden Hospital said everyone receiving cancer treatment there would be able to claim back the Ulez fee.
However, they will have to pay the charge on the day of travel and claim the cost back afterwards.
Mr Ghosh told the BBC the Ulez fee was “the last thing you should have to think about when attending critical appointments and caring for an unwell child.”
He also said the process to claim back the charge was “unclear, confusing and lengthy”.
He added he believed he and others in his position should be fully exempt from the charge, as it would save time and allow him “to spend as much time as possible with my daughter”.
‘Not a choice’
Tessa Holme, who lives in Sussex, must take her stepdaughter Isla-Rose for regular cancer treatment at the hospital. She also believes she should be entirely exempt.
“You’re not going there through choice,” she said.
She said she was worried she would forget to pay the charge due to the stress involved in caring for a sick child.
“Remembering to do a Ulez fee at the end of that is really not up there on your list.
“I can’t see a reason why they can’t make this easier,” she said.
‘Parents already suffering’
Another mother, Emma from Kent, who did not want to give her surname, has to bring her son to the hospital for check-ups once a year. He was recently given an “all-clear” notice form the hospital and is not eligible for the reimbursement scheme, as he is not currently receiving treatment.
She said: “It’s not so much about the money, it’s the fact that parents are already suffering so much if their child has cancer and thinking about paying a charge is an additional burden.”
Paul Scully, the Conservative MP for Sutton and Cheam and Minister for London, has written to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking him to remove the Ulez camera in front of the hospital, which has been previously targeted by vandals.
Mr Scully said the location of the camera was aimed at intentionally catching motorists “venturing little more than a hundred metres into the boundary to visit loved ones, receive treatment or attend their place of work”.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear of anyone finding the process around NHS exemptions difficult. The exemptions are in place to help people at difficult times, and we’re doing everything possible to help and to make the process easier.
“We would encourage any families affected, who are finding the process difficult, to contact us and we will offer support to make sure that things are made as easy for them as possible.”