What is the Congestion Charge?
The Congestion Charge is a £15 daily charge for driving in Central London during daytime hours (7:00 am to 10:00 pm), aimed to reduce traffic congestion in and around the charging zone.
Starting from June 22, TfL has increased the daily charge to £15 and extended the charging period to weekends too, up from the previous £11.50 fee charged only on weekdays.
Currently only Euro 6 cars with CO2 emissions of 75 g/km or less and a zero-emission range of at least 20 km are allowed into the Congestion Charge Zone free of charge. This tightened regulation will be in force until October 2021, when the discount eligibility will be further restricted to fully electric cars.
To support driver-partners and offset their expenses, Uber adds a £1 surcharge to every trip that starts, ends, or passes through the Congestion Charge zone.
To help understand how Congestion Charge works and how it impacts you as a rideshare driver, check out our FAQ guide:
Congestion Charge FAQ
- How much is the Congestion Charge?
- What time is the Congestion Charge?
- How do I pay the Congestion Charge online?
- What if I forget to pay the Congestion Charge?
- Where is the Congestion Charge zone?
- Do I need to pay the Congestion Charge? – Cars exempt from the Congestion Charge
- Do I need to pay the congestion charge on a bank holiday?
- Is Congestion Charge the same as the ULEZ charge?
- How to navigate the Congestion Charge zone as an on-demand driver?
How much is the Congestion Charge?
TfL charges you £15 for every day you enter the charging zone between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm, including weekends.
What time is the Congestion Charge?
The Congestion Charge is between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm, Monday to Sunday.
How do I pay the Congestion Charge online?
If you’re a Splend member
You have our full support as all of our cars are registered with TfL, and Splend will be billed daily if you enter the Congestion Charge zone. We’ll then on-charge this daily to your credit card. Therefore, you only need to make sure to have the necessary funds on your nominated credit card.
You can reduce the costs by £1 per day if you sign up to TfL’s automated payment system, Congestion Charge Auto Pay. This is also the method recommended by TfL, as this way you’ll never be late on your payments and you can register up to 5 cars into a single account.
What if I forget to pay the Congestion Charge?
If you’re a Splend member
Again, you don’t have to worry about penalties because our entire fleet is registered and we process all payments in due time. In other words, you just have to make sure you always have at least £15 available on your credit card.
If you drive your own car
If you don’t pay the Congestion Charge by midnight on the day after you entered the charging zone, TfL will issue a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) to the car’s registered keeper. If you get one of these, you can either pay the penalty or seek legal advice and challenge the PCN within 28 days of its date of service.
If you decide to pay the fine, do it within 14 days, so you get the 50% discount. If you miss this deadline and also don’t pay the full amount within 28 days, your penalty charge will increase by 50% and you’ll no longer be able to challenge the PCN.
Where is the Congestion Charge zone?
The Congestion Charge zone covers Central London roughly from Vauxhall to Clerkenwell and from Marylebone to Southwark. The area is enclosed by Marylebone Rd, Euston Rd, Pentonville Rd and City Rd (A501) to the north, Great Eastern St, Commercial St and Tower Bridge Rd to the east, New Kent Rd, Newington Butts and Kennington Ln to the south, and Vauxhall Bridge Rd, Grosvenor Pl, Park Ln and Edgware Rd to the west.
Tip: Set your route planner in Waze or Google Maps to avoid toll roads.
Do I need to pay the Congestion Charge? – Cars exempt from the Congestion Charge
Are hybrid cars exempt from the Congestion Charge?
Some of them are, some of them aren’t. To enjoy Congestion Charge exemption, you currently need to apply for a Cleaner Vehicle Discount in your London Road User Charging account.
Your hybrid car is eligible for the exemption if it meets these criteria:
- Euro 6 emission standard compliant
- CO2 emissions below 75g/km
- Zero-emission capable range of at least 20 miles
You’ll only be exempt until October 2021, after which the discount will only be available for fully electric cars. After December 2025 TfL plans to retire the discount completely, meaning that all drivers that entering the charging zone will have to pay the daily fee regardless of their car’s emissions category.
Are electric cars exempt from the Congestion Charge?
Yes, all fully electric cars are Congestion Charge-exempt until December 2025, when TfL plans to retire the green vehicle discount and require all drivers to pay the daily fee regardless of their car’s emissions category.
Remember that congestion is not the same as pollution. While the Congestion Charge might come back for EV drivers too, greener technologies will always be preferred, and thus, incentivised. Driving an electric car for Uber will always be cheaper than a petrol-only, or even a hybrid.
Do I need to pay the congestion charge on a bank holiday?
The Congestion Charge is free all day long on bank holidays and between Christmas and New Year.
Is Congestion Charge the same as the ULEZ charge?
No. The primary purpose of the Congestion Charge is to reduce traffic during daytime hours, while ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) is aimed exclusively at improving air quality.
If you’re a Splend member
You don’t need to worry about the ULEZ charge – our entire fleet is ULEZ-compliant.
If you drive your own car
The ULEZ charge is currently enforced in the same area as the congestion charging zone, but all day, every day, and the criteria for exemption are more permissive.
- Cars with Euro 6 diesel- or Euro 4 petrol engines and newer are exempt from paying the £12.50 daily charge. These are commonly found in cars registered after September 2015.
- Petrol cars that meet the ULEZ standards are generally those registered with the DVLA after 2005, although cars that meet the standards have been available since 2001.
How to navigate the Congestion Charge as an on-demand driver?
To work around the Congestion Charge you’ll need to adapt your driving strategy. We have four tips you might find useful:
- If you enter the Congestion Charge zone, maximise your income for that day to offset the daily charge. Go for rides and delivery jobs in Central London to benefit from the £1 surcharge as many times as possible and consume the least possible fuel between jobs.
- Try to avoid the Congestion Charge zone altogether on days when you work shorter hours. If you get ride requests near the perimeter, ask if your passenger minds being picked up or dropped off a block early. Remind them that they can save £1 if you don’t enter the Congestion Charge zone.
- Study the street names and major intersections near the perimeter of the Congestion Charge Zone so you’re always aware of where it starts and ends. It’s easy to overlook the road signs when you’re focused on the traffic.
- Consider driving more at night. Between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am you don’t have to pay the Congestion Charge.
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