Transport for London (TfL) announced today that from 21 February the congestion charge will be scrapped every day from 6pm, remaining operational on weekends between 12pm and 6pm. The £15 price cap will remain unchanged, the network added.
Following a 10-week public consultation involving around 100,000 people, TfL has stated that the changes will prevent car usage from going up compared with pre-pandemic levels.
“These new changes strike a balance between reducing traffic and congestion and supporting London’s economy and residents and helping ensure our recovery is a green and sustainable one,” London mayor Sadiq Khan said.
The mayor cited the need for London’s hospitality and culture industries to receive a boost after the pandemic’s disastrous impact as a reason behind the decision to remove the evening charge.
“The removal of the evening charge will support the capital’s culture, hospitality and night-time businesses which have struggled so much, as well as encouraging people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
“It’s vital we do not encourage a car-led recovery and replace one public health crisis with another due to filthy air.”
Khan’s target is for 80 per cent of trips in the capital to be made by either walking, cycling or public transport by 2041, with numbers going up to 95 per cent in central London.
“Reducing car use is key to tackling congestion and improving air quality in the capital,” Sylviya Barrett, Campaign for Better Transport’s head of policy, research and projects said.
“We’re pleased that the congestion charge is being retained at £15 as measures like this, coupled with investment in public transport, are a proven way to reduce traffic levels and clean up the air.”
The charge – raised in June 2020 from £11.50 – will also be suspended between Christmas and 4 January, in a move to allow people to see their families over the festive period.
The decision to maintain the £15 price came a few months after TfL removed the congestion charge exemption for drivers of plug-in hybrid vehicles, City A.M. reported. From 25 October, only 100 per cent net-zero cars qualify for the discount.