LONDON: The congestion charge will be bumped up to £15 a day following the government’s bailout for London’s transport system, which has been hit by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Though the congestion charge was suspended on March 23 to help key workers to move around safely under lockdown, it is due to be re-introduced on Monday (19) at the pre-lockdown cost.
However, from June 22, drivers will have to pay £15 rather than £11.50 per day including weekends – rather than just on weekdays as current rules stipulate. In addition, its operating hours will be temporarily increased in the evening, extending from 6pm to 10pm.
Transport for London will also be extending the congestion charge reimbursement scheme to help NHS and care home staff.
The ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) will also be re-introduced on Monday, having been suspended alongside the congestion charge. It requires drivers of older, more polluting petrol and diesel cars to pay £12.50 a day.
The increases reflect a recent government bailout of Transport for London (TfL) of £1.6 billion, consisting of a £1.1 billion grant and a £505 million loan.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “We have just reached agreement with the Government on a funding package to allow TfL to run public transport safely in London for the next four and a half months. This was necessary because Covid-19 has had a catastrophic impact on TfL’s finances – as it has on every transport provider in the UK.
“I want to be completely honest and upfront with Londoners – this is not the deal I wanted. But it was the only deal the Government put on the table and I had no choice but to accept it to keep the Tubes and buses running.
“This deal is a sticking plaster. The old model for funding public transport in London simply does not work in this new reality – fares income will not cover the cost of running services while so few people can safely use public transport.”