Congestion charge increase

18 June 2020

 

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that the 30% hike in the congestion charge will apply from Monday 22nd June

 

The new charge will apply from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, from Monday 22nd June and the price rise would be in place for a year.

 

It follows a £1.6 billion bailout from the Government, in which Transport for London (TfL) secured the emergency funding to keep tube and bus services going until September.

 

Downing Street defended the changes saying it "only applied to a small area of central London".

 

TfL had suspended the congestion charge and fees for the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure London's critical workers are able to travel round London in the way that best suits them. 

 

The latest data from TfL shows that even with the congestion charge back in place and many people still working from home, there are as many cars in the zone as there were before the lockdown began. 

 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the measures were designed to avoid a build up of traffic after the government urged people returning to work to avoid public transport. Also adding "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.” Mr Khan warned public transport must only be used "as a last resort".

Khan highlighted how TfL’s Streetspace plan has already given 19,000m2 of additional road space for walking and cycling.  

   

The Department for Transport (DfT) said these changes would be put in place "as soon as practicable" and would "create more space for social distancing when walking and cycling, ensuring that the people who have no choice but to return to work in central London can do so as safely as possible".

Some streets will be converted to walking and cycling only, with others restricted to all traffic apart from buses, creating "one of the world's largest car-free zones".

 

Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge may be restricted to people walking, cycling and buses only, with pavements widened to enable people to safely travel between busy railway stations and their workplaces. 

 

Also under the conditions of the government deal, children will no longer have free travel across London and restrictions on travel passes for people with a disability or over the age of 60 will also be imposed during peak hours.

 

The low emission zone and ultra low emission zone - imposing levies on high-polluting vehicles will also come back into force this Monday (22nd June).

 

However, experts said the added chargers could benefit the electric car market which could be set for a boost as Londoners desperately avoid the costs.  Fully electric vehicles are exempt from paying any car tax or congestion charge bills which could see many more making the switch. 

 

Analysis indicates that as the Government further eases lockdown restrictions, if those who would have used public transport instead choose to drive, car traffic levels in central London could double without any changes to the congestion charge, claims TfL.

 

Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, said: "We are already seeing a surge in traffic and need to act now to stop the city grinding to a halt.”

 

Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “The suspension of the congestion charge back in March 2020 was extremely welcome in helping operators focus on dealing with the crisis.

 

“However, to reward this hard work – completed under very challenging circumstances – with such abrupt and significant changes to the London congestion charge is extremely disappointing.”

 

Like many other sectors, logistics is suffering financially from the pandemic – 76% of respondents to an FTA survey report a general business downturn.

Chapman says increasing the scheme’s rates and extending its operating hours so “abruptly” will be detrimental to business recovery.

 

“While FTA understands the financial pressures TfL is currently facing and supports the broad intention behind the scheme – to manage congestion and improve air quality in the capital by incentivising active travel over vehicle use – logistics businesses have little alternative but to drive in London to meet the delivery needs of consumers and businesses, so this simply amounts to a tax on deliveries.

 

FTA is also disappointed by the lack of consultation on such a significant decision, and, although the changes are only temporary, TfL has given no concrete indication of how long they will last. Permanent implementation should be out of the question.”

 

 

       

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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