The London Congestion Charge Scam!


If you don’t want to end up paying hundreds of pounds in fines, you’d better mind your Ps and Qs!

anouk-fotografeert-BryYookJz_w-unsplashLast month, I had to rent a van for Fix Radio. There were two days where I drove through London’s congestion zone.

I made sure that our Accounts Director paid the £11.50 congestion charge for each day and he emailed me copies of the receipts. You can imagine how shocked I was when I was sent two fines in the post for £130 each.

I called up Transport For London and was told that I needed to pay the fines because the number plate was wrong. It turned out that our Accounts Director had entered a zero instead of a letter O by mistake. 

Now that should have been an easy thing to fix on the phone. I haven’t attempted to evade paying the congestion charge, it’s a simple human error. All the person on the phone, sitting in front of their computer, had to do was change the zero to an O, cancel the fines and we could have both moved on and got on with our day, but that is not how TFL operate!

The system is, you have to pay the fines, then launch an official appeal. I was told that if I did that it would take months and as entering an incorrect number plate is, in itself, an offence, it wasn’t worth it and I’d end up in court where I’d lose anyway.

The system has been set up this way to catch you out. The current number plate format is two letters, followed by two numbers, followed by three more letters. TFL could set up their webpage so it doesn’t allow you to enter a number where a letter should be, especially with zeros and Os, but this mistake must happen all the time, so TFL make it EASY for you to make a mistake so that they rake in even more cash! 

Making money is the only reason London has a congestion charge. Don’t let them kid you, it has nothing to do with reducing congestion. TFL’s own figures show that the amount of traffic that goes through central London is about the same as it was before the change was introduced in 2003 and it moves slower than it did back then as well.

London’s congestion charge brought in £229.8 million in the last financial year. That number will be even higher next year because of extra charges introduced for vehicles that exceed specific emissions standards;

There’s a lot of disinformation surrounding the congestion charge. My favourite is that it’s there to help the environment by encouraging people to drive greener vehicles (Electric vehicles are exempt). If they really wanted London’s air to be cleaner, they’d ban the most polluting vehicles. They won’t do that because there would be a cost in policing it, this way they MAKE money. 

When I think about what a racket the whole thing is, it makes me feel sick to the stomach. –  They should change the name of it to, the “ingestion charge”.

Craic on!

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