All About the London Congestion Charge

London congestion charge

If you live in London, work there or need to visit for any reason, chances are you’re going to run into the congestion charge at some point. Here is some handy info about driving in the capital, the congestion charge rules and remits and how to avoid it altogether.

The reason for the charge, also known as the CC is to help decrease the heavy flow of traffic into certain areas of the city, to lower carbon emissions and to raise revenue for the council. London was the first city in the world to introduce such a traffic charge, inspiring cities such as Stockholm and Milan to follow in our footsteps.

The current charge per day is £11.50 but this rises to £14 if you pay the following day. Friday travel does allow you until midnight on Monday to make the payment in retrospect. Thankfully, the charge is only once per day, no matter how many times you enter and leave the congestion zone. You also only need to pay if your vehicle is physically inside the chargeable zone during the charging hours. How Much does the congestion charge cost?

For those who wilfully refuse to pay, or those who innocently forget, if the charge is not paid by midnight the following day, the registered vehicle owner automatically receives a penalty charge notice of £130. If you pay the penalty within the first 14 days, that figure is reduced to £65. If you fail to meet the 28-day deadline, the charge increases to £195. You can appeal the penalty, but beware – there are cameras everywhere, so if you have driven in the congestion zone, it will be known via number recognition technology.

The charge is in effect between 7am and 6pm during weekdays, with the exception of bank holidays and between 25th December and 1st January. You’ll know you’re in the zone by the signs with a big white letter ‘C’ in a red circle. The ‘C’ is also painted on the road surface at the entry and exit points. If you’re travelling into these areas, you’ll need to pay the charge: Soho, Southwark, St Pancreas, Westminster, Waterloo, Newington, Finsbury, Bloomsbury, Charing Cross, Covent Garden, Clerkenwell, Lambeth, Marylebone, Barbican, Holborn, Mayfair, City of London and Euston.

The good news for riders of bicycles, motorbikes, scooters, and mopeds in London is that they are exempt from the congestion charge completely. If ever there was a reason for residents or commuters to get on board two wheels, this is it! If you’re dusting off your motorbike after a while in storage to beat the CC, then make sure you have it checked over by motorbike repair Chelsea.

Electric vehicles and some low emission cars are also exempt or pay a discounted rate. If you’re licensed to ride a motorbike or moped but don’t own one, you might want to consider hiring one if you’re going to be in and out of the zone for a short time. Not only are they exempt from the charge but it’s also free to park at any time of day when you’re on two wheels.