Congestion charge to rise to £15 this week will also apply at evenings and weekends

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LONDON: The congestion charge will rise to £15 from next week and apply in the evenings and weekends to tackle rising levels of traffic in central London, Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed today.

He said temporarily increasing the charge from £11.50 and extending it until 10pm would help deliver a “cleaner and greener” economic recovery from coronavirus.

Transport for London said the number of cars in the zone had returned to pre-lockdown levels amid concerns the numbers could double as people followed orders to avoid public transport.

Mayor Sadiq Khan

According to an Evening Standard’s report, it is hoped the new hours and higher levy could cut car journeys by a third, reduce exhaust emissions by 11 per cent, and make walking and cycling safer.

The changes mean the charge will operate from 7am-10pm from Monday June 22, seven days a week. At present it applies only 7am-6pm on weekdays.

TfL said: “These temporary changes will ensure the capital’s recovery from the pandemic is not restricted by cars and congestion.”

Mr Khan has rejected calls, including from his Tory mayoral rival Shaun Bailey, to exempt police officers driving to and from work from paying the charge.

NHS workers were already exempt and this has been temporarily widened to include care home workers, London Ambulance staff and council and charity workers involved in the pandemic response.

NHS patients who are “vulnerable to coronavirus” will also be exempt. Emergency vehicles – including police cars – were already exempt. An increase in the C-charge was a requirement of the Government’s £1.6 billion coronavirus bail-out for TfL last month.