The London Congestion Charge Zone gets bigger today when it expands to include Bayswater, Notting Hill, North and South Kensington, High Street Kensington, Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Belgravia and Pimlico.
The coincide with the extension the charging hours within the zone have
been shortened by 30 minutes from 7.00am – 6.30pm to 7.00am – 6.00pm.
Residents within the larger catchment area can register for a 90 per cent discount reducing the cost to a maximum of £4 a week as opposed to the daily charge of £8. To register for the discount residents need to complete an application form available from Transport for London or via the web at www.cclondon.com
Saturday saw protests from some residents affected by the enlarged zone. The protest was supported by would-be Mayoral candidates Mike Read and Victoria Borwick.
A Transport for London spokesman said on Saturday “no one’s interests are served by organising a drive slow on a Saturday, causing congestion and delays, when people are trying to go about their business and go shopping.”
According to recent figures issued by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone “the amount of traffic entering central London during charging hours has been cut by around 20% since the scheme was introduced in February 2003.
Last week Mr Livingstone repeated calls for greater powers to coordinate roadworks in the capital which he says are undermining the impact of the Congestion Charge scheme.
Malcolm Murray-Clark, director of Congestion Charging, believes considerable preparation by Transport for London has seen a smooth go-live process. He said: “The congestion charging scheme has now been operating for four years, and is a proven success.”
“Since the introduction of the charge in 2003, traffic levels have been reduced in the central zone by 20 per cent, meaning that each day in 2006 there were almost 70,000 fewer vehicles entering the charging zone compared to the number that had been entering each day before charging began.”
Murray-Clark said today’s extension has been “an effective and well-run process.”