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If you regularly drive in and out of London, pay attention to this guide! Recently, as of the 21st February 2022, there was a change to the regulations around London’s congestion charge. The congestion charge zone is in place throughout central London in a bid to reduce traffic and congestion, giving our environment a helping hand.

The changes in the congestion charge

During the pandemic, the congestion charge’s hours of operation increased. Between 7am and 10pm, people driving into the zone were required to pay the congestion charge at an increased daily charge of £15. This change originally occurred to encourage travel by walking and cycling. Now that the world is largely going back to normal, these hours are decreasing.

What are the new regulations?

As of the 21st February 2022, the hours that the congestion charge applies is now 7am until 6pm. Weekends and bank holidays will continue to have the hours of 12pm to 6pm, and the charge will remain at £15 for entry into the zone. The charge is suspended between Christmas Day and the first working day of the New Year.

Is the congestion charge the same as the ULEZ?

The London congestion charge and the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone)are completely separate. The ULEZ extends throughout central London, all the way up to the North and South Circular roads. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, and certain models of cars are exempt from the charge if they are in line with the regulations which protect our environment.

How do I pay the congestion charge?

You’ll be glad to hear that if you’re driving in and out of the congestion charge zone multiple times a day, you only need to pay the daily charge once. There are three options for when you pay the £15 charge:

  • In advance
  • On the day of travel
  • By midnight on the third day after your travel

If you delay your payment so that it’s after the day of your travel, the charge increases to £17.50. If you neglect to pay the charge altogether, you will receive a penalty charge notice (PCN)! There are two methods of payment, and you are at ease to use whichever suits you:

  • Auto pay (an automated payment system recording when you travel in the zone and charging your debit or credit card)
  • Pay online (you can pay up to 90 days in advance. With this option you must pay manually rather than the charge being automatic)

Are there any exemptions?

There are some circumstances that can make you exempt from paying the daily charge, such as being a blue badge holder. The TfL website has all the information you need regarding whether you are eligible for a discount or exemption.

If you’ve decided to hire a minibus for your day out in London, you’ll now know everything you need to know about the congestion charge. Don’t get caught unaware, and pay the daily charge before you’re at risk of a penalty charge notice! For your trusty minibus hire, come to CVS Van Hire on 020 8003 1184 or email [email protected].