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Transport for London Congestion Charge

London Congestion Charge prices rise, hours extended

Transport for London Congestion Charge

Transport for London has announced an increase in the cost of the London Congestion Charge to £15 a day.

It previously cost £11.50.

The operating hours have also been extended to 10pm in the evening: previously, charges were lifted from 6pm.

The Congestion Charge still begins at 7am in the morning.

TfL has also confirmed the Congestion Charge will operate during the weekends, too. Until now, it has only operated during weekdays.

Christmas Day is now the only day on which charges are lifted. 

The changes are described as temporary and TfL says they could see car journeys fall by a third and pollutants reduced by up to 11 percent.

Although many people are still working from home, latest data suggests there are now as many cars within the Congestion Charge zone as before lockdown.

Without changes, TfL argues traffic levels in central London could double.

The residents’ discount will also be closed to new applications from 1 August, to act as a deterrent to car ownership in central London.

Only 1 in 4 central London residents actually owns a car.

“The temporary changes will be kept under review to ensure they remain effective in light of the transport challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic,” adds TfL.

TfL also reminds motorists they still need to pay the London ULEZ charge on top of the Congestion Charge, if their vehicle is not a September 2015-on diesel or 2005-on petrol. 

London Congestion Charge from 22 June 2020

  • Price increased from £11.50 to £15 (+30 percent)
  • Evening hours extended from 6pm to 10pm
  • Now operates during weekends
  • Residents’ discount closed to new applications on 1 August 2020

Congestion Charge reinbursements

An extension to the Congestion Charge reimbursement schemes has also been confirmed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 

NHS staff are already eligible for reinbursements: these have now been extended to staff at NHS Trusts, ambulance staff and those who work in care homes located within the zone. 

The NHS patient reimbursement scheme has been extended to include patients vulnerable to coronavirus. 

Local authorities and charities within the zone who are providing coronavirus-related support services can apply to the reimbursement scheme too. 

Click here to pay the London Congestion Charge

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London Congestion Charge

London Congestion Charge and ULEZ return from Monday 18 May

London Congestion Charge

The London Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will be reintroduced from Monday 18 May as Transport for London phases out emergency coronavirus measures.

Both charges were dropped on March 23 to help key workers get to work while avoiding public transport.

Car parking restrictions were relaxed during this period, too.

The Evening Standard reports the reintroduction of the charges comes two weeks earlier than planned.

Transport for London has also confirmed the Congestion Charge will be “temporarily” increased from £11.50 to £15 from June 22.

It will be enforced seven days a week, rather than only on weekdays, and operating hours in the evening will be extended from 6pm to 10pm.

The morning enforcement start-time of 7am will remain.

The changes follow the agreement of a £1.6 billion government support package for Transport for London, whose finances have been hit by a plunge in passenger numbers during the coronavirus crisis.

“Enormous challenges remain,” said London Transport Commissioner Mike Brown, “including agreeing longer term sustainable funding for transport in the capital.”

NHS staff

NHS workers, however, will continue to benefit from a Congestion Charge reinbursement scheme that refunds them for journeys related to coronavirus, including to and from work. 

This scheme has now been extended to support care home employees too. 

Transport for London has a dedicated page explaining how NHS staff and care home employees can be reimbursed for the London Congestion Charge

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London Congestion Charg and ULEZ road sign

Coronavirus: London Congestion Charge and ULEZ are FREE; parking rules RELAXED

London Congestion Charg and ULEZ road sign

The London Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charge have both been suspended during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Parking restrictions and charges have also been relaxed for key workers. 

The moves are to help heed London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s call to avoid public transport where possible. 

From Monday 23 March, all road user charging schemes are suspended, says Transport for London (TfL).

This also includes the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for HGVs, lorries, vans, buses and coaches. 

The move is “to help critical workers” after London Underground services were severely cut back this week. 

Temporarily suspending the London LEZ “supports the supply chain, the effort to keep supermarkets fully stocked and the city’s continued operation”. 

London Congestion Charging Central Zone road sign

But it is not a green light for all motorists to drive into London, adds TfL. Following government advice, motorists should ‘consider the wider implications when thinking about using their vehicles.

‘Roads must be kept clear for emergency services and critical workers. 

‘Only travel if your journey is necessary.’ 

Parking restrictions ‘relaxed’

TfL is, however, not responsible for car parking charges in London. They are controlled by London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London.

London Councils represents them all and has now called for a ‘common-sense approach to issuing parking and driving fines in order to help critical workers’.

Guidance has been issued to London borough on a ‘pragmatic approach to enforcement of parking and driving offences during the coronavirus pandemic’.

Safety and traffic flow will still be important, but the guidance includes advice such as:

  • Relaxing parking restrictions for vital members of staff around hospitals, clinics and emergency services control centres – e.g. no time limit and no charge
  • Giving parking permits to key workers allowing them to park more flexibly if there are no parking spaces available
  • Taking into account when drivers demonstrate they are key workers – e.g. when deciding whether to issue a penalty charge notice or when a driver is appealing a penalty
  • Making additional parking spaces available to key workers – e.g. business parking

Cllr Julian Bell from London Councils said: “All key workers using cars or other vehicles to get around can be reassured that borough parking teams are on their side.

“We ask that they look to their local council to find out what this means for them.

“London boroughs are united in taking a pragmatic approach to parking enforcement in these challenging times to help our critical workers do their jobs”

All London boroughs are now putting the guidance into practice locally and on a temporary basis.

Only essential journeys

London Congestion Charging road sign

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “People should not be travelling, by any means, unless they really have to.

“London’s roads should now only be used for essential journeys.

“To help our critical workers get to work and for essential deliveries to take place, I have instructed TfL to temporarily suspend the Congestion Charge, ULEZ and Low Emission Zone from Monday.”

Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Keeping our supply chains resilient will be key in ensuring businesses can continue to function during the crisis.

“It’s the right thing that firms have the confidence to call in other contractors to move their goods into the capital at short notice and not worry about LEZ and ULEZ charges.”

Calling for the suspension earlier this week, Conservative London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey claimed the suspension would cost around £21m a month in revenue for TfL. 

He told Talk Radio this was “peanuts” compared to the overall impact of COVID-19 on the NHS. 

Driving in London at Christmas: how to avoid charges

Christmas congestion charge

We are well into the festive period now, to the point that you’re not even allowed to complain about Christmas music.

For shopping, social occasions and more, many will be driving into London over Christmas. If that means you, here’s what you need to know about charges and when to pay them.

Congestion Charge at ChristmasChristmas congestion charge

Be selective about your visits to London and you won’t need to pay the Congestion Charge. For starters, you never need to pay between 6pm and 7am. Weekends are also free, as are Bank Holidays.

Two of those Bank Holidays are Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The difference here is that these act as goal posts for a fallow period for the Congestion Charge. Driving into London from 6:01pm on Christmas Eve until 6:59am on January 2 is free of the charge.

It’s worth remembering that outside of this period, weekends fall on 21-22 December, and 4-5 January. So if you’re all tied up between Christmas and New Year, there’s still hope.

Congestion charge – what you’ll pay

If you need to pay, there are still ways you can save. Forward-planning can save you a couple of quid, useful for a winter-warming brew.

Signing up for Congestion Charge Auto Pay will mean you pay £10.50. If you pay in advance, or by midnight on the day of your visit, it’ll set you back £11.50. But if you wait until midnight the next day, the full £14 is payable. Motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles are exempt from the Congestion Charge.

Christmas congestion charge

Not paying the C-Charge when it is due will incur a fine of £160. If you pay within 14 days of the charge being issued, a 50 percent discount will be granted, for a fine of £80.

The ULEZ and Christmas

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) covers the same area as the Congestion Charge, until it expands in October 2021.

Unlike the C-Charge however, it doesn’t have off days. If your vehicle isn’t ULEZ exempt, you will need to pay, regardless of when you are in London.

Find out whether you’re liable to pay the ULEZ charge with our guide.