Congestion Charge Changes: Prices, Days, Times and Exemptions

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, the times of operation, etc.

Here is what you can read through this article

  • Everything to know about congestion charge: Times, days, prices and zones
  • Exemptions and discounts on congestion charge
  • What are the other charges and fines in London?
  • FAQs about congestion charge pay

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Congestion charge: days, prices and zones

This is the latest updates about details of congestion charge in London, though there is the possibility of new policy announcements anytime. In fact, due to Coronavirus pandemic, government may consider new rules anytime. Therefore, we try our best to publish latest news frequently.

How much is congestion charge in London?

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. This price is considered for those drivers who pay the congestion charge in advance or by the midnight of the travel day.

Note that you would be required to pay £17.50 if you pay the congestion fee in 3 days after travel. It is good to mention that you are free of paying congestion charges the whole Christmas day.

Congestion Charge Changes

When does the congestion charge apply?


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.

Therefore, paying for congestion charge is currently undeniable in every week days.


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.

Where does the Congestion Charge apply?

Currently, the congestion zone includes the London inner ring road which is both in the city of London and the West End covering the areas below:

  • St. James’s
  • St. Pancras
  • Euston
  • Barbican
  • Waterloo
  • Borough
  • City of London
  • Clerkenwell
  • Covent Garden
  • Fitzrovia
  • Charing Cross
  • London Bridge
  • Holborn
  • Finsbury
  • Bloomsbury
  • Soho
  • Mayfair
  • Westminster
  • Parts of Marylebone, Lambeth and Southwark.

Note that the Congestion Charge zone is clarified with a Sign written a C in a red circle (the congestion charge login). When the congestion zone is over, there will also be a sign (the congestion charge logout).

Exemptions and discounts on congestion charge

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.

What are the other charges and fines in London?

ULEZ (ultra low emission zone) is another charge needed to be paid by some drivers in London. There is a list of car health requirements announced by TfL (transport for London) that classifies different cars from a polluting point of view. The most polluting vehicles are required to pay the ULEZ charges.

Read more

Everything about Uber insurance for Uber drivers

congestion charge

FAQS about congestion charge pay

Why to pay the congestion charge?

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.
In other words, the main reason London asks for congestion charges in Central parts of the city is to lead people to use more eco-friendly transportation methods including bikes and Green vehicles.   

How to pay the congestion charge?

There are various ways to pay the congestion charge check, from auto pays to using the debit and credit cards. Congestion charge autopay can be done once you register on TfL official website using your credit or debit card information.
You can also pay up to 90 days in advance on the website, through the website or mobile apps specified for this issue.

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Congestion charge autopay can be done once you register on TFL official website.

How not to pay the congestion charge?

The only way to avoid paying the congestion fee if you are not having a hybrid or electric vehicle, is not to enter the zone! You can simply check the routes before starting the trip and consider the paths with no entry to the congestion zone

What if I don’t pay the congestion charge on-time?

There is congestion charge fine (called PCN) considered for those drivers avoid to pay the congestion charge on-time. Once you pay the congestion charge fine, there would be mo extra penalties. The congestion fine penalty would be £160 with 28 days deadline. Note that paying the congestion penalty within 14 days can lead you to a %50 discount.

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