London is full of confusing signs, bustling traffic and thousands of cameras waiting to catch our every mistake.
But of course it doesn’t stop there, as a driver in London you also have to deal with the dreaded congestion charge, where does it start? How do you pay it? And how do you know if you have been though it?
Impossible to Avoid?
The congestion charge is set up around all the areas in London that you are more than likely to want to go. It’s almost impossible to avoid – you can do so by running parallel to the river or sticking to the A40 that then turns in to the A501. However opting for these routes is normally a traffic nightmare.The ironically named congestion charge is now at the bargain price of £10 – I would strongly recommend checking on the map, which is on the TFL website to assess if you are likely to drive through the zone. My advice is to be careful, without knowing, one wrong turn can lead you directly into a congestion charging zone.
In my experience if you have any doubt pay it just in case. If you phone up they will not give you any information so there is basically no way of knowing and you take the chance of spending £10 or risk the £65 fine.
Automatic Payment Option
The TFL website gives you the option to pay for the previous day if you have forgotten, but that is as far back as you can go. There is also the option to pay in advance if you are a super organised lady – Unfortunately those are only options you have. So again if you have any doubt pay up and save yourself the hassle of a hefty fine.
As a daily driver in London, I do not take the risk any more and have registered for, something called: Automatic payment, which I would strongly suggest doing even if you only visit London a few times a year.
What this means is that you pay a one of charge off £10 and then every time you drive through the congestion charge zone, it will automatically charge your card and at the discounted price of £9.
Register – the best option
This is simple and the best option, as without knowing you can easily make a congestion charge mistake.
There used to be shops that you could pay the congestion charge in with cash, in central London, but nowadays they are few and far between, the website is your best bet or you can phone if you find the site confusing. My suggestion however is if you have a spare moment register for £10 and save yourself the inevitable fines.