Have your say on the proposed improvements to the way you pay the Congestion Charge

Overview

Improving the Congestion Charge scheme for customers

Transport for London (TfL) regularly reviews the Congestion Charging scheme to ensure that it remains effective in reducing traffic and congestion in central London as well as improving the operation of the scheme.

As part of this consultation, we are proposing to make the following changes:

  • Allowing TfL to refuse payments from unauthorised third party websites, many of which overcharge Congestion Charge customers

  • Removing the option to pay the Congestion Charge by SMS (text message) and introducing a new app for Smartphones and Smart Devices which will enable faster payments and access to account information

 

This consultation ends on 12 September 2014.  If the Mayor approves the proposals, the change to refuse payments from unauthorised third parties will be introduced shortly after the Mayor’s decision, which is expected to be made in December 2014 and the app will be introduced at the same time as the SMS channel is removed, which will be from 1 November 2015.

About the Congestion Charging scheme

The Congestion Charge (the daily charge is now £11.50) applies to all vehicles being driven within the Congestion Charging zone from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, unless they are exempt or registered with TfL for a discount. The Congestion Charge is payable in advance or before midnight on the day of travel or before midnight on the next charging day.

Click here for a larger version of this map

Refusing payments from unauthorised third party websites

Customers wishing to pay the Congestion Charge can do so through our official website here

At present, there are a number of unauthorised websites advertising themselves as retailers of the Congestion Charge.  These websites charge up to £8 in addition to the cost of the Congestion Charge, based on the assertion that they provide extra services to customers. We believe that the fees charged by these sites do not provide customers with any additional services that are not already offered by TfL directly and are free of charge.  This has a negative impact on TfL’s customers and is damaging to the reputation of the Congestion Charging scheme.     

We are proposing an amendment to the Congestion Charging legislation so that we can refuse to accept Congestion Charge payments which are made by these unofficial websites or other unauthorised third parties which mislead road users into paying a fee in addition to the Congestion Charge.  TfL will accept payments from third parties for someone else’s vehicle where there is no charge or commercial gain for making payment on their behalf; for example, payments made by people using car hire vehicles.

We are planning to refuse payments from unauthorised third parties from December 2014.

Removing the option to pay the Congestion Charge by SMS and introducing a new app

Customers can currently register with TfL to pay the Congestion Charge by SMS before midnight on the day of travel.  Residents registered for the 90 per cent discount can also pay by SMS for five consecutive charging days before midnight on the first day of travel. 

Since the introduction of CC Auto Pay, the numbers of people paying the charge by SMS has decreased from 17 % to under 0.7% of all Congestion Charge payments.

We are proposing to remove the option to pay the charge by SMS.  We predict that the numbers of customers who pay the charge via SMS will continue to fall further as they move to CC Auto Pay.  Therefore, we do not anticipate that customers will be significantly affected by this change. 

In addition, we will introduce an app for use on Smartphones and Smart Devices which will provide greater choice and convenience for customers whether registered or unregistered.  The app will allow customers to pay the charge in advance and up to midnight on the next charging day after travel, as well as weekly and monthly charges.  The app will also provide registered customers with additional functions such as being able to manage and amend account balances and account information.

We propose to remove the option to pay the charge by SMS and introduce an app for use on Smartphones and Smart Devices on 1 November 2015.

Next steps

This statutory consultation ends on 12 September 2014.

We will consider all of the comments provided and prepare a report for the Mayor.

The Mayor will decide whether to go ahead with the proposals, with or without the changes.  We will publicise the outcome along with any supporting information.

Your views

Your views are important to us. To have your say on the proposals detailed above, please complete our online questionnaire below by 12 September 2014. You can also click here to go directly to the questionnaire.

Documents

We have produced a number of documents in relation to this consultation, all of which are located below or in the Related Documents section at the bottom of this page.

Related Documents

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Contact

Key Dates

Consultation is Closed

Ran from 4 Aug 2014 to 12 Sep 2014

Other Information

Areas:

All Areas

Audience:

  • Public,
  • Stakeholders,
  • Local residents,
  • Local businesses,
  • Schools,
  • London Boroughs,
  • Coach Operators,
  • Taxi trade,
  • Transport for London

Interests:

  • Congestion charge