Motorists could lose the ability to pay the Congestion Charge in shops and petrol stations under proposals put forward by Transport for London.
Scrapping over the counter payments is one of a number of changes being consulted on by TfL as it seeks to save costs and raise more money to meet budget cuts imposed by City Hall.
Guidance notes accompanying an online consultation for proposed changes claim only 6% of payments are now made in shops and say the “retail payment channel is also expensive for TfL to operate”.
TfL wants all drivers to pay via online, text message and Auto Pay, its automatic billing service.
Other proposals include increasing the penalty charge for anyone entering the Congestion Charge Zone without paying to £130 and creating a new Ultra Low Emission exemption.
The new exemption would replace the existing Greener and Electric Vehicle discounts and would apply only to vehicles which emit 75g/km of CO2 or less and meet the Euro 5 standard* for air quality.
The current exemption applies to vehicles which emit 100g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality standard.
TfL’s guidance notes state: “The number of vehicles able to meet the Greener Vehicle Discount criteria is constantly growing, and without a tightening of the emissions criteria, there could be a significant increase in the numbers of vehicles within the Congestion Charging zone. This would add to traffic congestion, increasing overall emissions of CO2 and air pollutants, which would undermine the purpose of the discount.”
The change could mean cars currently sold as Congestion Charge Exempt no longer qualify for exemption, increasing costs for motorists.
The consultation ends on 8 February 2013 and can be accessed online via tfl.gov.uk.