Drivers will no longer be able to pay the congestion charge via third-party websites after Transport for London stepped up its campaign to protect Londoners from fraudulent and rip-off sites.
Over the past year the capital’s transport agency has been seeking to cut the use of unofficial and copycat sites which take payment for entering the congestion charge zone.
In many cases such sites charge additional fees, pushing up the costs for motorists, and in some instances have failed to register vehicles with TfL, incurring penalties for drivers.
TfL has already secured an Advertising Standards Authority ruling against one site and has worked with Google to limit the ability of unofficial sites to advertise on the search engine.
Following a public consultation this summer it will now stop accepting payments collected by third-party sites and says drivers should only ever pay via the official tfl.gov.uk website.
To help make it easier for drivers to pay, TfL will also launch a smartphone and tablet app in November 2015 when a new contractor takes over managing the congestion charge scheme on its behalf.
From the same date, CC Auto Pay users will be able to pay by Direct Direct and drivers entitled to a discount will be able to apply for this online.
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “Improving the experience for our customers and listening to their feedback is a top priority and the new app will provide a simple and effective method of payment.
“These changes mean that customers will be able to more easily make payment through authorised channels and will also allow us to block payments from unofficial sites. This will provide further protection for our customers.”