As a Hire Company we have seen many (Taxi and PCO) drivers getting caught in the minefield that is the congestion charge and we would like to make things easier and clearer for them. In recent months London has seen changes in almost every aspect of the Congestion Charge from Price, to which days the charges apply, to the times of operation.
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The Congestion Charge has increased in price from £11.50 to £15. While an increase of £3.50 might not seem like much as a one-off payment but if you were to drive into the Congestion Charge Zone Area every day for a month, this adds £105 per week to your expenses.
Congestion Charge was previously enforced on weekdays only, Monday to Friday, and did not apply on weekends – this is no longer the case. The charge has been extended to run every day, including weekends, 7 days a week. Taxi and PCO drivers can’t seem to get a break from these hard times and now they have to pay £15 to drive passengers into London during the weekend. Weekends were always a good payday for drivers but forking out £30 can be a big bite into the weekend profits of hard working drivers.
The Congestion Charge used to run from 7am to 6pm, allowing free drive-ins to Central London for those evenings jobs which were vital to so many Taxi and PCO drivers. Taking couples out to dinner, theatre shows, the pub, music venues, clubs, etc. The extension of the Congestion Charge to run from 7am to 10pm has been a massive blow to Taxi and PCO drivers. Those 4 hours in the evening were the nightlife, entertainment and social life for the passengers and the livelihood for the drivers.
The congestion charge changes hopes to tackle rising levels of traffic in central London. The Mayor said increasing the charge to £15 and extending it until 10pm would help deliver a “cleaner and greener” central London.
To avoid paying the Congestion Charge is it vital Taxi and PCO drivers get their hands on plug-in hybrids or fully electric cars. These cars are 100% Congestion Charge Free and could save the driver £105 a week, £450 a month in Congestion Charge Fee’s. Forward thinking Car Hire Companies such as G&M Direct Hire now offer plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars to meet the demand of their PCO drivers and to satisfy drivers’ needs to save money and drive cleaner, greener cars, avoiding all the problems that conventional cars have with Congestion Charge.