London’s Congestion Charge could rise for the first time since 2011 by at least 15 per cent, as Transport for London opens a new consultation on the planned increase.
Currently the daily charge to travel through central London stands at £10 (or £9 in paid using CC Auto Pay) but could rise to £11.50 if paid in advance or on the day or £10.50 if paid using CC Auto Pay, by summer 2014.
Transport for London says that the cost of the charge has been falling in real terms since 2011 and the change could help ensure that it remains a deterrent to unnecessary journeys through the capital’s crowded streets.
The consultation will also consider the introduction of paying by Direct Debit for CC Auto Pay customers in addition to existing options to pay by debit or credit card.
Increasing the charge is expected to generate an estimated £84m of additional revenue by the end of 2017/18, though any net revenue generated would be invested in improvements to London's transport as required by law.
Since the Congestion Charge was introduced in 2003 more than £1.2 billion revenue has been invested in transport, including £960m on improvements to the bus network, £102m on roads and bridges, £70m on road safety, £51m on local transport/borough plans and £36m on sustainable transport and the environment.
Despite this, there are likely to be plenty of businesses not impressed by the planned increase.
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVLA), commented: “This 15 per cent increase in the daily charge is completely unjustified and is in effect a tax rise on essential business users who have no choice but to drive in central London. It is illogical that London cabs are exempt from the congestion charge but rental vehicles are not.”
Garrett Emmerson, TfL's Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “We are keen to hear what Londoners and motorists have to say about the proposed changes to the Congestion Charging scheme. The proposed changes will ensure the Congestion Charge remains an effective deterrent to making unnecessary journeys in central London.
“We do listen to the views of our customers and have made significant changes to the scheme in recent years, including the removal of the Western Extension and the introduction of the hugely popular Congestion Charging (CC) Auto Pay system.”
More information on the consultation, including the supporting documents, is available on TfL's website at: www.tfl.gov.uk/ccyourviews. The consultation closes on Friday, March 14, 2014.
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