As one of the biggest and busiest city capitals in Europe, London comes with busy traffic. That’s why driving in London comes with some charges, specifically introduced to avoid traffic congestion. The two charges that directly affect how much Uber drivers make are the Congestion Charge and the ULEZ Charge. The Congestion Charge aims to reduce traffic during rush hours, while the ULEZ is aimed at improving air quality.

To help understand how the Congestion Charge works and how it impacts you as a rideshare driver, check out our FAQ guide.

What is the Congestion Charge?

The Congestion Charge is a £15 daily charge for driving in Central London during daytime hours, 7:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday to Friday and 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays. This charge aims to reduce traffic congestion in and around the charging zone.

There is no Congestion Charge between Christmas day and New Year’s day bank Holiday (inclusive).

Since October 2021, only fully electric cars are allowed in the Congestion Charge Zone free of charge.

DID YOU KNOW? To support driver-partners and balance their expenses, Uber adds a £1.50 surcharge to every trip that starts, ends, or passes through the Congestion Charge zone.

How much is the Congestion Charge?

If you pay in advance or on the same day, TfL charges you £15 for every day you enter the charging zone during operating hours. Otherwise, TfL charges £17.5 if you pay by midnight of the third charging day after you travel.

What are the Congestion Charge times?

The London Congestion Charge times are:

  • Monday to Friday – between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm
  • Saturday, Sunday, bank holiday – between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm

Is there a Congestion Charge on Sunday?

Yes. During the weekend, the Congestion Charge must be paid between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm, both on Saturday and Sunday. 

Do I need to pay the Congestion Charge on a bank holiday?

Yes. The Congestion Charge applies even if you’re driving in London on bank holidays, between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The only time there is no charge is between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day bank holiday (included).

How do I pay the Congestion Charge online?

If you’re a Splend customer

We make driving in London as a rideshare driver a bit easier. 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 you have the necessary funds on your nominated credit card.

If you drive your own car

Luckily, London authorities provide easy methods to pay fees, from the Heathrow drop-off charge and ULEZ Charge to the Congestion Charge:

  • Online  – from your London Road User Charging account. If you don’t have one yet, you can register here
  • Via the TfL Pay to Drive in London app – you can download it both on Google Play and App Store
  • By phone – call TfL Pay to Drive in London Service on 0343 222 2222 

Via Auto Pay, TfL’s automated payment system, for an annual registration fee of £10 per car. Once registered, TfL automatically checks whether you need to pay the Congestion Charge and ULEZ charge, and if you drive within the zone, it will automatically charge you via your Auto Pay service.

Auto Pay is the method also recommended by TfL, as this way you’ll never be late on your payments and you can register up to five cars into a single account.

What if I forget to pay the Congestion Charge?

If you’re a Splend customer

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 third day after you entered the charging zone, TfL will issue a £160 PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) to the car’s registered keeper. 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.

Who is exempt from the Congestion Charge?

Do hybrid cars pay the Congestion Charge?

Yes. Starting October 2021, only fully electric cars are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge. This means that if you drive a combustion-engined car  including hybrids, you will have to pay the fee.

Do electric cars pay the Congestion Charge?

No. You can drive fully-electric cars for Uber in London without paying the Congestion Charge 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 encouraged.


Long range and no Congestion Charge

The MG5 EV Long Range is available from £219 per week on Flexi own


Is the 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 while driving in London.

If you’re a Splend customer

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 zone now covers all areas within the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205) and it’s applied all day, every day. Starting August 29, 2023, the ULEZ will cover all 33 boroughs in Greater London. Read more about the ULEZ expansion.

The cars that meet the ULEZ emission standards are exempt from paying the fee: 

  • Diesel cars with Euro 6
  • Petrol cars with Euro 4 
  • Fully-electric cars

How to navigate the Congestion Charge while driving in London?

Here are some tips to help you work around the Congestion Charge as an on-demand driver:

  1. If you enter the Congestion Charge zone, boost your income for that day to offset the £15 daily charge. Go for rides and delivery jobs in Central London to benefit from the £1.5 surcharge as many times as possible and reduce your fuel consumption to the minimum between jobs.
  2. Try to avoid the Congestion Charge zone on days when you work fewer 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 £1.5  if you don’t enter the Congestion Charge zone.
  3. 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.
  4. Consider driving more in the evening or at night. Between 6:00 pm and 7:00 am you don’t have to pay the Congestion Charge.

About Splend

We enable people to make money by driving. Our vision is a future where every on-demand driver can be successful.

We’re PCO car specialists. Don’t take our word for it—drivers rate us excellent on Trustpilot. We can set you up with a brand-new or new-model car on our Flexi own plan, plus we provide the training and support you need to become an Uber driver that’s more profitable, safer, and fulfilled.

Make an appointment at our London Hub at 393 Edgware Road Cricklewood, Londonemail us, or say hello on 0333 016 4331