From 22 June, London’s Congestion Charge, which covers around 1% of Greater London, will temporarily increase from £11 to £15 a day.
The Congestion Charge is a daily fee that motorists must pay if they drive within the Congestion Charge Zone between 07:00-22:00, every day except Christmas Day.
Plans to widen the level and scope of the Congestion Charge had already been put in place pre-pandemic, but as one of the conditions of a recent £1.6bn bailout deal between Transport for London and the government, TFL has had to bring them forward.
The £3.50 increase has been brought in as the UK’s lockdown gradually eases, since COVID-19 cases have been decreasing. According to TFL, even with the Congestion Charge back in place, and a huge portion of people still working from home, the number of cars on the roads is back to the level it was at before the lockdown began.
Though these charges are for anyone in the Congestion Charge Zone, people working at the heart of the COVID crisis will have their charges reimbursed. This includes those working for the emergency services, NHS staff, care workers, charity volunteers, or local authority workers – plus any vulnerable NHS patients.
Residents applying for a discount have until 1 August to submit their applications.
The temporary changes aim to make walking and cycling safer, and essential bus journeys more reliable during the pandemic, whilst also reducing pollutant emissions by up to 11%.
The temporary Congestion Charge changes are supporting our Streetspace programme, which will make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle and keep the bus network reliable for those who need to use it.” – Alex Williams, TFL’s Director of City Planning
As London, and the rest of the UK, gradually become accustomed to post-pandemic life, it’s questionable whether things will go back to ‘normal’. Instead, governments and people in power are surging to create a new normal – one where we can move forward in a greener, healthier way.