It Costs Even More to Drive Into London

Reuters reports that London’s congestion charge on vehicles entering the city centre rises by two thirds to eight pounds on Monday. The increase from the current five pounds is expected to raise up to 45 million pounds a year to reinvest in transport.

But opposition parties say the move will be bad for businesses.

The charge, introduced in February 2003 on weekday traffic, has been credited with reducing congestion in central London by 30 percent. “The increase will maintain the benefits currently witnessed … and build upon its success, cutting congestion even further, and raising more revenue to be invested in London’s transport system,” London Mayor Ken Livingstone said.

But an Conservative member of the London Assembly, Angie Bray, protested.

“This is bad news for businesses, bad news for residents and bad news for Londoners,” she said. “It is a blow for businesses who are already in pain with the current five pound charge level.”

The charging scheme, which is operated by support services company Capita Group, is the biggest in the world, extending from Hyde Park in the West to Tower Bridge in the East.