London mayor and TfL increase congestion charge fees to halt rise in car traffic
In response to rising levels of car use in the Congestion Charge zone, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has introduced a temporary increase in charges to £15 from £11.50 day, 07:00-22:00 seven days a week and the residents’ discount will be closed to new applicants on 1 August. The temporary changes are designed to reduce traffic in central London and enable more journeys to be made safely by foot or by bike while keeping the bus network reliable for those making essential journeys.
Sadiq Khan says: “The Government was absolutely clear that TfL must bring forward proposals to widen the level and scope of the Congestion Charge. Coronavirus continues to present our city with unprecedented challenges but I am determined to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic with a cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport system.
“The reality is that due to social distancing requirements public transport can only carry a fraction of the number of passengers compared to pre-pandemic levels – even when we are back to running completely full services.
“While capacity on the network needs to be preserved for those people who need it most, we can’t allow journeys that were previously taken on public transport to be replaced with car trips.”
Alex Williams, TfL director of city planning, adds: “It is not sustainable for London’s recovery to be dominated by cars. We are already seeing a surge in traffic and need to act now to stop the city grinding to a halt. 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.”
TfL reports that car traffic in the zone in the evenings is now almost as high as during the day, and at weekends is even higher than during the week. The cost of congestion in London is estimated at £5.5billion per year with the capital’s drivers losing more than 200 hours per year due to being stuck in traffic.