Avoiding the Congestion Charge in London

Although Transport for London took the lead on implementing the congestion charge to combat traffic congestion and reduce escalating CO2 emissions, the policy has extended to most major towns and cities throughout the UK. To determine which locations have implemented, or are planning to implement, congestion charges, click here. You can also access additional information via the government's Congestion Charge Zone checker, which can be found here.

Since London is further along in the implementation process than most other cities in the UK, it is critical to understand the impact the current plan is having on UK drivers and explore how to decrease the financial burden.

This guide intends to inform people about possible options available concerning the London congestion charge. For instance, did you know that Blue Badge holders and residents living in congestion charge zones can apply for a discount? Read on to learn more about the ways to obtain congestion charge exemptions.

What is the Central London congestion charge?

In the past, the congestion charge was £11.50 per day from Monday to Friday with bank holidays exempted. However, in June 2020, Transport for London introduced changes to the charging regulations due to the Covid-19 pandemic's effect on traffic levels.

Currently, the fee has increased to £15 per day between 7 am to 10 pm, including weekends, with only Christmas Day remaining as a free day. As these modifications are temporary, they may change in the future. Stay up-to-date with the Transport for London website to stay informed about the up-to-date charges for traveling to or from the center of London.

Top 4 tips to avoid the Central London congestion charge

1) Know the congestion charge zone

Whenever you travel to London, it is essential to know your destination's relation to the congestion charge area. You can refer to the London Congestion Zone Map.

Consider your route — if your destination is outside the charging zone, could you select an alternate route to avoid the center of London? If it is not too inconvenient, this approach could save you £15 per day.

2) Time your trip correctly

The congestion charge zone operates from 7:00-18:00 Monday-Friday, and 12:00-18:00 Saturday-Sunday and bank holidays.

If you plan on staying in London, carefully consider your arrival time. Since you will most likely use public transportation or walk while in the city, you will likely need to drive only when arriving and departing.

Therefore, it may be relatively straightforward to avoid the charge by considering the congestion charge times. For instance, you could plan to arrive late at night (after 10 pm) and depart late when leaving. If you can manage public transportation during your stay, you can avoid the congestion charge altogether.

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