TfL generates £130m in unpaid Congestion Charge fines over 12 months

Published 09 February 2021

Drivers were issued with up to £130 million in fines from October 2019 to September 2020 for failing to pay the London Congestion Charge, new research by Citroen has revealed. 

The study revealed that Transport for London (TfL) received £183 million in revenue during that time, with £52 million of revenue actually received through daily congestion charges over the same period.

The Congestion Charge aims to reduce congestion within central London by encouraging drivers to use other modes of transport, i.e. public transport, walking and cycling.

The daily fee, which was increased from £11.50 to £15 from June 2020, alongside an extended seven-days-per-week charging window, is levied on vehicles that don’t meet the exemption criteria. 

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Failure to pay the London Congestion Charge results in a fine of £160, reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days. The £160 fine can be avoided if motorists remember to pay the London Congestion Charge within three days of travelling within the specified zone, or are travelling in an exempt vehicle.

The data, which Citroen obtained following a Freedom of Information request, revealed TfL had issued more than 817,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to vehicle owners in the 12 month period.

With a fine of £160 and more than 817,000 fines issued between October 2019 and September 2020, drivers faced up to £130 million in fines.

A total of 4,022,208 London Congestion Charge payments were made for vehicles between October 2019 and September 2020. With a payment of £11.50 until June and £15 thereafter, this totals £52,773,772.

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   on 11 February 2021

So £52m in revenue but £130m in fines...? Surely this shows that the payment system is not working fairly? Most people would not intentionally avoid paying the charge knowing that they will definitely get fined. Why do we, the motorist, the general public put up with this? Do TFL treat the fines as part of their regular budget? Confilict of interest, maybe...? Something smells bad..

Patmobile    on 11 February 2021

It's so simple , don't go there , take your business elsewhere

P Menzies    on 12 February 2021

Couldn't agree more. I could easily travel in by public transport but, any organisation that gives me problems doesn't get my money if I can help it.If more people had this attitude the system would collapse. TFL is in that position now because of lack of use.

barney100    on 19 February 2021

Totally agree, used to go q frequently but now once in a blue moon by train to the theatre or museums etc but they are closed now.

james04cooper    on 11 February 2021

What a f****g racket! Lock them all up! They get 2.5x more money from the fines than they do from the charge itself. F****g politicians!!!!

Chorum Records    on 11 February 2021

I was stung by this. I never normally drive to Central London, so in November 2019 I opened an account with TfL, giving payment details and registration etc., and thought that was enough. It isn't! You have then to register a specific vehicle under your account - like, as if I hadn't already! - that was my feeling anyway! Like most people, I only have one car; I'm not a fleet operator! So, although I had an account and had done everything I thought was right, in advance of my trip, it wasn't good enough. I could have gone to court and was tempted to do so but in the end paid up. What an absolute racket!

Edited by Chorum Records on 11/02/2021 at 20:12

TedTom    on 11 February 2021

Most charges in London are a legal racket. The mayor and councils have ruined the place. I just stay away.

brk109    on 11 February 2021

How unfortunate for people who have to use London, I don't and would avoid it like the plague, from what I heard today the zone is being extended right up to the circular as well now, pitynthe general British public are a bit like headless chickens , if it was possible , if nobody used anything in London the place would go bust , bt on a smaller scale to get my point across , Tescos always used to monoplise shopping, they whack up the prices , the headless people that shop there just keep paying it, if they all stuck together and boycotted Tescos for a month, would they still keep prices high, I think not, they aren't the only ones who do it.

If you have the chance , vote with your feet, I haven't driven to London for over 20 years , I won't be going there for another 20 years , even if I live that long, I,m sorry for the people who have no choice .

jiwoon    on 11 February 2021

This is so not fair. They did not advertise the change to 7 days AT ALL.
I attended 1 weddingin august, and I had moved address January 2020 and forgot to transfer car registration address (this is my side of fault, i know, I only changed my license but didn't think about the car) and last week I found my clamped, and was given £560 fine to remove the clamp. I contacted my old address and found the letters (not even warning or anything written, not even DVLA or TFL but a private company). They advertise the new ULEZ zone SO MUCH I'm sick of hearing that advert but congestion charge now is just a revenue source and they're not even sorry or shy about it.

Peter Axworthy    on 12 February 2021

Some years ago I had a letter posted to me by the congestion charge officials threatening me if I don't pay a fine within so many days It would double and even end up in a court of law if I did not pay. Firstly I was in the north west of England driving. I sent a letter telling them that. A terse reply came along and said I had to prove I was not in London that day. Luckily for me I was driving a HGV lorry with Tachograph readings on the hours I was driving that day. They were not happy with that I also had to send evidence where my car was parked at the time I was driving my lorry that day. Luckily my works car park had CCTV footage. I had a load of stress for something I did not do. My car I was eventually told without apology had been cloned.

Can you imagine if it was my day off and I had no evidence that day how I could claim a victory in court against this. Beware everyone what ever they do in London it will soon be near you.

IE more money to spend to park on your own drive.

Lada    on 13 February 2021

The most iniquitous thing here is that you were presumed guilty and then had to prove your innocence. A complete inversion of centuries of common law.

RJP41    on 12 February 2021

I used to work for TFL many years ago under Livingstone I jacked it in as it is corrupt
and So PC he thinks money grows on trees I see now we are bailing out Khan as he has appointed loads of useless jobs for penpusher types on mega money ( the lastest looking into racist statues ?? ) so he needs to sponge joe public .
My veiw is unless a tradesman carrying tools / food etc etc dont go there by car all you are doing is supporting all this if he is cash starved it will change.

jiwoon    on 12 February 2021

They were not even shy about claiming the reason to change the chargeable days to 7 days being more revenue... If it's not to reduce congestion anymore just call it toll shouldn't they? disgrace...

   on 12 February 2021

I find this no suprise at all - the system for paying is not "Fit for Purpose" and would not be toleratd by any other business. It is designed to be unhelpful and to trap the unwary (a bit like Amazon Prime then, which I refuse to join desoite all of Amazon's Traps and Tricks).
I paid last week to travel into London the next day. Input all my details and the day required. The response eMail simply gives a Payment Reference Number which is meaningless. NOTHING confirming what I had entered.
Another time I believed I MIGHT have entered the zone over in East London. THERE IS NO WAY TO CHECK. Predictably a fine with a photo arrived not long after - and there is NO defence.
And a great system coming from East Acton where you only discover you are unintentionally entering the Congestion Zone as you drive along a one-way street - a Cunning Plan Baldrick

Lada    on 13 February 2021

The answer is simple - don't go to London or indeed any other city that adopts such a childish policy. And not going there should be a policy adopted by every lorry driver, van driver and tradesman. Can't wait to see Sadiq Kahn and bicycling chums hauling on the back of their bicycles 26 ton deliveries of organically-correct food to their local branch of Waitrose...

Covid has allowed us to see another world in which many people no longer need to go into cities and can work either from their homes or more convenient hubs in the local towns or villages. That means more money for our local communities and our local tradesmen and businesses and less going into the pockets of London based bankers who have loaned loads of money to London based landlords to build lots of London-based office blocks. And less into the coffers of TfL which Mr Kahn would waste away on whatever is front page news on the Woke-guardian. People can save car (and rail) costs and for young people, that could mean saving up a deposit to buy a home rather than spending their salary on commuting and whatever is left being funnelled into the greedy, grasping hands of a private landlord.

Something may then come out of the congestion charge - a rebalancing of our economy towards the local a reduction of commuting and guess what, less car use. Not by the dictatorial means favoured by Mr Kahn and Mr Shapps and all the rest but simply by all of us adopting a better, localised way of living and working.

J. Mike Rose    on 13 February 2021

If I get a call for a job in London I ask if it is in the congestion charge zone. If it is I tell the customer sorry and refuse the job.

Maxo    on 4 April 2021

People of London, there is one solution and we can resolve it this May! Do not vote for the current mayor of London. He is a clown!!! Instead of providing solutions to problems he is just throwing obstacles.He hasn't created the infrastructure for electric vehicles but want everyone to use eletric vehicles. He hadn't made electric scooter legal, but he wants every one to use public transportation in the lockkdown times amid Covid pandemic. And i could continue and continue....People, your vote matters!!! Please go and vote!!!

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