TfL made an additional £86m from hiked Congestion Charge in 2020 and could pocket an extra £113m this financial year if the £15-a-day charge remains, leaked email reveals
- Email from deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, was seen by Autocar
- Sadiq Khan increased the daily charge from £11.50 to £15 on 22 June 2020
- It was also put in place seven days a week instead of weekdays only and operating hours extended
- The hike was part of a deal for London to receive emergency bailouts from the government – and there is currently no date for when it will be reduced
A leaked email has revealed the boost in revenues for Transport for London last year as a result of the hiked Congestion Charge.
Mayor Sadiq Khan on 22 June increased the daily charge from £11.50 to £15 as part of ‘temporary measures’ put in place during the coronavirus pandemic – and remains in force today.
In an email from officials seen by Autocar, it is revealed the increase raised an additional £86million for TfL in 2020 and is projected to boost revenues by £113million for the full financial year if the higher charge is retained until April.
Congestion Charge revenue boost: A leaked email has revealed that TfL pocketed an extra £86million from the capital’s charging zone in 2020 after the daily fee was increased to £15
The correspondence from Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transport, said that £113million would be taken ‘as a consequence of implementing the temporary changes to the Congestion Charge, if they were to be in place for the rest of the financial year’.
The email also confirmed that the boost in revenues ‘takes account of the cost to TfL of implementing the temporary changes as well as the reduction in traffic volumes and temporary suspension due to the pandemic,’ says Autocar.
The latter part of the statement references when both the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge were suspended from 21 Match.
Both charges were waived ahead of the first national lockdown to ensure critical workers, such as NHS staff, could move around the capital easily, though were reinstated and the Congestion Charge increased to £15 two months later.
Alexander’s email also added that TfL is now forecast to bring in £232million in total from Congestion Charge payments made by motorists this financial year.
This is Money has contacted Transport for London for comment.
The daily charge was not only increased by £3.50-a-day in the summer but also extended to apply every day – bar Christmas Day – instead of weekdays only, and the operating hours lengthened by five hours to 6am to 10pm.
The Congestion Charge had been waived for two months from 21 March to ensure critical workers, such as NHS staff. However, two months later the daily charge was increased
The Congestion Charge Zone covers the same area as the Ultra Low Emissions Zone. It means a daily charge of £27.50 to enter Central London for those driving older polluting cars
The zone covers the same area as the controversial ULEZ, covering the London Inner Ring Road, which includes both the City of London and the West End.
With the ULEZ charge – which only applies to older, more polluting vehicles – some drivers have been paying £27.50-a-day to enter Central London in their cars.
Daily rates were increased last summer as part of efforts to plug the hole in revenues from drivers as traffic levels during the Covid-19 outbreak plummeted.
An increase was also part of an agreement for the capital to receive the first of two emergency funding settlements from the government.
Mr Khan said in November that ministers had ‘forced’ him to keep the Congestion Charge at £15 as part of the £1.6billion bailout for TfL.
The London Mayor described the bailout as ‘not a perfect deal’ but insisted he ‘fought hard to get to the best possible place’ in rejecting the ‘very worst’ proposals.
No date has yet been announced for when – or if – the charge will be scaled back to £11.50 per day.
Sadiq Khan in November that he had been ‘forced’ by the government to keep in place the hiked Congestion Charge as part of the deal to receive a second bailout for the capital
Failure to pay the Congestion Charge – which is monitored by Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras – will result in drivers receiving a Penalty Charge Notice of £160, which will be reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.
The ULEZ is due to be expanded to the North and South Circular Road from 21 October this year, meaning millions of Londoners will be charged the £12.50 daily rate each time they get in their cars.
On top of the controversial expansion, Mayor Khan said in December that he may force non-Londoners £3.50-a-day to drive in the capital unless he is allowed to keep £500million from London car taxes.
The Mayor claimed it was unfair the vehicle excise duty, which is collected from drivers in the city, is spent mostly elsewhere.
He suggested a scheme like the Greater London Boundary Charge could reduce the number of journeys by up to 15 per cent and raise £500million a year.
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