January 27, 2021

UK: What is congestion charge and how can you pay for the congestion charge?

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If you are driving through a congestion charge zone in London, then you have to pay a certain charge, commonly known as congestion charge. It is a daily payment based charge and Transport for London (TfL), a government agency, is responsible for operating the whole process of congestion charge between 7 am-10 pm. Here in this post, we will tell you about the required things that you must know before paying the congestion charge.

Operational timeline:

Congestion charge is active 7 days a week, from 7 am to 10 pm. Christmas day (25th December) is the only day when there is no requirement of paying any congestion charge, even if you drive through a congestion charge zone. The charge comes back to action from the very next day, known as Boxing day (26th December).

The charge amount:

The amount of congestion charge is fixed to £15, and it is equally applicable for both passenger and goods carrying vehicles, along with car drivers. However, the congestion charge amount depends on the timeframe of payment. For same day or advanced payment, the amount is £15. This amount increases to £17.50 if you choose to pay after your journey. You need to pay the amount within midnight of the 3rd charging day after your journey, and if you fail to pay the charge, the TfL will send you a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

Different ways of payment:


There are multiple ways through which you can pay for the congestion charge. However, the most convenient way is to subscribe to the auto-pay function. This payment method is totally automated and it calculates the number of times you travel through the congestion zone in a month. Thus, it generates bills on a monthly basis. The key benefits of setting up for auto-pay are;

  • It never lets you forget your congestion charge.
  • It protects you from receiving Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

To register for auto-pay, you need to first create a London Road User Charging account from which you can complete your registration for the auto-pay function.

Online payment:

You can make single payments online. To complete an online payment, you need to go to the official site of TfL. There are also many unofficial websites for single payments but they will charge you extra and they are not safe and secured enough like the official TFL website.

Pay through phone:

Alternatively, you can pay congestion charge through a phone call by dialling the congestion charge payment number available on the TfL website. However, the phone payment service is active on weekdays between 8 am to 10 pm.

Payment through mobile application:

TfL also provides a free app from where users can pay their congestion charge conveniently. Besides, users can also pay other charges such as LEZ or ULEZ through this app. Plus, you can set up auto-pay, pay a penalty or check whether an address is within the congestion charge zone or not through this app.

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