Congestion charge has doubled for some fleets, since the introduction of new rates on the 22nd June. The original charge was £11.50 for all vehicles, which could be reduced to £10.50 using the Government’s Auto Pay scheme. This has now risen to £15 a day as part of TfL’s funding agreement with the Government after their £1.6bn bailout back in May.
Car traffic in the zone is already back to pre-pandemic levels and without changes car traffic could double. These new changes could see car journeys fall by a third and pollutant emissions reduced by up to 11% in newly charged hours.
On top of the increased charge, the congestion zone is now operating for longer and on weekends. The new C-Charge sees drivers being charged from 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week – an extension of 4 hours each evening. As a result, many businesses and individuals who travel to central London outside normal business hours will start having to pay the £15 charge, which will hit those businesses delivering at all times twice as hard.
For a vehicle in operation every day, the previous rate was £220 a month plus the £10 a year to register that vehicle. With the new charges, this could increase to £450 per month. For a fleet of 100 vehicles, that’s an increase of £23,000 a month, i.e. a huge £270,000 per year. This large fee could be avoided by going electric, helping businesses save on both congestion charge and fuel.
Currently, only vehicles that meet Euro 6 standards (petrol and diesel), that emit no more than 75g/km of CO2 and have a minimum 20 mile zero emission capable range qualify for the 100% cleaner vehicle discount on Congestion Charge. From 25 October 2021, the cleaner vehicle discount will change so that only battery electric vehicles are eligible.
TfL has not confirmed when the fare will return to its previous rate, but says it will monitor the changes to see if they work as hoped. Their website reads:
“The temporary changes will be kept under review to ensure they remain effective in light of the transport challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.”