Boxing Day shoppers will have to pay the congestion charge for first time as Sadiq Khan looks to claw back TfL revenue shortfall

  • london
  • July 20, 2020
  • Comments Off on Boxing Day shoppers will have to pay the congestion charge for first time as Sadiq Khan looks to claw back TfL revenue shortfall

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Motorists entering central London for the Boxing Day sales will have to pay the congestion charge for the first time, it can be revealed.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has ruled that the charge — which was last month increased to £15 and extended into evenings and weekends — would be “switched off” only on Christmas Day.

Previously the charge, which was launched in 2003, did not apply during the Christmas holidays.

The decision to enforce the C-charge over the festive period is one of a series of tougher new rules expected to net Transport for London an extra £64 million in the current financial year.

Lib-Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon has called on the Mayor to make “Boris bikes” free to hire as an alternative way to get around during December.

The C-charge, which applies in central London, was increased from £11.50 to £15 a day on June 22, when its hours of operation were extended until 10pm on weekdays and at weekends for the first time.

This led to an immediate 27 per cent week-on-week reduction in cars within the zone at evenings and weekends, the Standard has been told.

There was an eight per cent reduction between 7am to 6pm on weekdays — the hours when the charge was previously only enforced, TfL said.

The changes had an even bigger deterrent effect on minicabs — their numbers are down 17 per cent on weekdays and 36 per cent at the weekend. TfL said the fall in car traffic was in line with predictions.

It is expected to reduce pollution from vehicles in the zone by five per cent overall and by 10 to 12 per cent at evenings and weekends.

The charge was hiked to £15 and had its scope extended by Mr Khan as a condition of the Government’s £1.6billion coronavirus bailout for TfL. The changes are “temporary” but it is not known when they will end.

The extra income for TfL has been revealed in the Mayor’s monthly report to the London Assembly. But Mr Khan said the forecast was “inherently uncertain” and the total income was still £11 million lower than the £165 million TfL had expected to receive in 2020/21, had coronavirus not happened.

London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display, which attracts 100,000 ticketed revellers to the Embankment and costs £2.3million to stage, is being reviewed to check how it can be held without increasing the risk of coronavirus. The Mayor said: “We are currently looking at what considerations need to be made with regards to marking New Year in London and working through the available options. We will be looking to make a decision later in the summer.”