Apparently the Government is pressuring Sadiq Khan and TFL to extend the Congestion Zone boundary out to the South Circular.
Extension of Congestion Charge Area under Consideration
Glad it’s not just Sadiq Khan opposing it!
Hopefully they will both oppose robustly scrapping free fare for children & pensioners. That is so grossly unfair on families that are struggling & pensioners that live just on their pensions.
I don’t just live on my pension, but would resent paying fares after working & contributing for so many years.
Yes, it seems like quite a big change which could have lots of unintended consequences and cause hardships.
Perhaps bringing forward the ULEZ extension would be a better first step.
How much would it cost for a resident inside the CC zone then? According to this they just stopped ‘residents discounts’
So if I drive anywhere I’m paying £15 to drive the last 50 yards to my house? Maybe time to switch to a petrol hybrid although even the TFL website isn’t entirely clear on whether or not you can get a discount and seems to suggest you have to apply to see if you qualify.
From 25 October 2021, the cleaner vehicle discount will change so that only battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible. Then from 25 December 2025, the cleaner vehicle discount will be discontinued. From this date, all vehicle owners, unless in receipt of another discount or exemption, will need to pay to enter the Congestion Charge zone during charging hours.
After 2021 it’s only electric vehicles and after 2025 EVERYONE will have to pay £15 any time they take their car anywhere in London if this ‘Circular’ boundary goes through. Is that correct?
Doesn’t really work like that though does it? You don’t get a loyalty discount just because you paid fares for longer.
As far as I recall the agreement on freedom passes was to take them back to a 9.30am start which seems perfectly reasonable.
I thought that was always the case?
I do think removing free fares for children would be \ is completely wrong.
It has been taken to 9 am on buses. 9.30 in trains.
I do not mean any disrespect Hannah, but you are young & hopefully earning a decent wage.
As I say I don’t just have my state pension coming in & my husband is still working although in a different role to before because of arthritis & thus earning a lot less.
When you get to 60 + you will have a different outlook, as you won’t have the income you have now. Again a lot of pensioners live month to month on their state pension & maybe pension credit.
I don’t see why. What’s so special about London children? Children in the country have to pay and their bus fares are much higher. It’s not like children here have the length of journeys that children in the country have to get to school, where fares are so much more costly for everyone and buses are as rare as hen’s teeth. London’s hugely subsidised public transport has us spoilt. I see no problem in a school bus system being free, again as long as it applies Nationwide.
I agree. Also in answer to HannahM, people on low incomes get subsidised rates fir travelling as well, regardless of age.
Not saying that older people shouldn’t get a freedom pass, just that it need not start at 9am. It never did (hence the LT nickname of Twirly) the change was something introduced by Boris Johnson.
Also no disrespect but I bet a lot of pensioners have much lower housing costs than people my age.
Not sure how this relates to the potential expansion of the Congestion Zone?
It seems that the extremely expensive tube that has been fleecing passengers for decades, is unlikely ever to achieve the same very high usage which everyone just got used to - before the pandemic and Brexit.
The Government is desperately looking to raise cash, and although Boris Johnson himself - as Mayor - cancelled the Westerly expansion of the Congestion zone, he now wants to push Khan into imposing an expansion.
This would be dreamy …
We’d need it to include proper public transport routes and access across the country too, of course, not just cities.
Maybe, but if they are renting they will only get benefits if again they are on a low income.
Don’t get me wrong I know how hard it is for the younger generation, especially in the present climate.
No I know a bit off topic, but I was mainly replying to HannahM.
Also agree we who aren’t working don’t need to be getting on public transport before 9-9.30 unless we have an appointment, hence freeing up space for working commuters
I think agreement has broken out!
Yes maybe, about public transport pricing.
But my original post was about the proposal to extend the congestion zone. Apparently there are no opinions about that. I don’t think it will happen, but there could be some upside to it for some of us.
Sorry we derailed! As a non car owner I have zero opinions on that other than I would support any measures to reduce air pollution and traffic locally.
With the state of our Public transport in this area I find I have to rely on lifts from my OH to get to Canada water to go to work at the weekends and on Boxing day (when I also have to go in to work every year) If they introduced the Congestion charge on the South Circ it would make living here pretty unbearable for many.
Extending the ULEZ and/or the Congestion Charge would gridlock our streets here and turn them into car parks. I barely use my car, but when I have to I have to. £15 a day would kill my use of local shops for any major purchases and probably be the death of places like Shannon’s.
The fact they tell us to use Southern trains when they overground is down is a total joke. Costs £4.40 instead of maybe £1.50 in addition to taking twice as long.
I bet we’d find car / private vehicle use has increased by loads this year and some of this is undoubtedly due to service at weekends.
I’m all for LTN and congestion zone extensions in principle - but not until they’ve sorted out public transport and provisions for cyclists.
What happens to people how are disabled we can’t afford £15 a day we are not a load on buses and trains till 9.30 with are freedom pass I have hospital appointments at 8.30 every week?
Absolutely agree that anyone with disability/illness/other valid reason for using cars should be exempt from the charge - or at least be able to claim back the charge with proof of something like an appointment.
There’s usually a ‘residents discount’. Also I don’t get how they would enforce it. If I’m inside the zone, say I want to drive to Greenwich for whatever reason, how would they know I’m driving? They can’t put cameras everywhere. Even every street that comes off the circular just monitoring who comes into the zone in the first place… is that really practical? The only way they could do it would be to charge you an annual fee to have a car registered inside the zone. Are there even proposals for how to implement this or is it just another random ideal.
I thought that had been discontinued?
on the tfl site they say Blue Badge holders do not need to pay to drive in the zone.
'If you hold a valid Blue Badge in the European Economic Area, you’re eligible to register for a 100% discount, even if you don’t own a vehicle or drive. (If you have an organisation Blue Badge or are applying on behalf of another person, for example a child, please see ‘Applying for Blue Badge discount on behalf of someone else’ below).
You can register up to two vehicles that you would normally use to travel within the Congestion Charge zone. This could be your own vehicle, or one you travel in.’
Getting a Blue Badge for some is really hard. If you’re waiting for a joint replacement or recovering from an operation you can’t get one. I really think that GPs or hospitals should be able to give temporary Blue Badges. Certain treatments too can really knock you about.
I think this proposal covers far too great an area. Aside from my own gripes about it (I live on the other side of the south circ so I’d have to pay to drive to FH/dulwich/Shannon’s /anywhere north!), I really feel for small businesses that rely on driving around London to do their work. Even if there is some sort of discount, It’s still an additional overhead. While long term, London may want to go that way, now really is not the time to hammer SMEs with additional expense, in my opinion.
Purely party-political manoeuvring is what is happening. Over-the-odds fare hikes, council tax supplement, congestion zone extension - other than possibly the first one they look politically suicidal to me, especially when combined and enacted at a time of crisis.
It’s unlikely to happen for various reasons, but there is more of a risk that this is a badly disguised attempt to crush TfL with valuable parts being sold out to private market chums and the rest left to rot.
Discussion in the other thread about frequent Overground closures feels like a first world problem compared to what I fear people in London may have to endure in the coming years. Home county commuters (if there are any left) will be cared for first and foremost.
Just a nudge again about politics please. Let’s keep this to how it would affect SE23 given the circular runs right through. It’s going to affect people on both inside and out.
I think it is inevitable that it will be extended to the South Circular eventually, purely because it will raise more revenue.
Obviously, it will cause problems for those of us who live south of the border. An extension will displace traffic and parking into areas that are not subject to the charge.
We live to the south of it so we will in effect be stuck going to East Dulwich, Peckham in fact anywhere We actually want to go.
I dont fancy meeting friends for lunch in Croydon or Beckenham. or going shopping there either.
tbh without access to a car I would have not moved here and since the extension would make having a car unsustainable and with such poor unreliable transport links it would just make living here really miserable.
I don’t think those north of the border would fare much better. It’s not just about car owners having to pay £15 a day. It would potentially cause an immediate unprecedented shock to economic activity, businesses being wiped out, high streets faltering, people leaving in droves, house prices collapsing. At least in “family-friendly” suburban areas like SE23 with relatively high car ownership.
On the other hand, there would be massive opportunities from the reduction in car traffic which could reverse all the above effects over time.
Still worth remembering that this is just being used as a threat at this stage rather than something that is actually going to happen.
Indeed, huge ramifications for local businesses, for example basic food shopping at the FH Sainsbury’s where the car park is around the back inside the zone. On the flip side it would at least cut off a couple of local rat runs. But talking of divisive policies, this would be orders of magnitude bigger than anything we’ve seen so far. For us it would literally divide the community. Fortunately both major mayoral candidates oppose this in London.
I honestly can’t see how it’s technically viable to enforce across the whole circular. As you say, it’s more of a talking point, at least I hope so.
What do you define as poor unreliable transport links? I have lived here 5 years and have never felt the need to hire, let alone buy a car.
When people in London talk about “poor transport” I feel like laughing and wonder if you actually mean what you say!
I very much echo this… indeed for a zone 3 area (and having moved a few years ago from zone 3 in southwest London which had so many more options and frequency of trains to central London), the transport here is relatively poor.
Aside from all the weekend disruptions and stopping of the Victoria train (as discussed on the other thread), it has never been ideal.
Perhaps vs other cities and towns we can say we’re doing ok, but our house prices and cost of living are disproportionately high to be satisfied with this level of service. Fine to have congestion charge in areas that have an abundance of alternative options… but clearly not the case here.
Absolutely ridiculous to further penalise south east London where we don’t benefit from the tube.
It’s genuinely another reason to consider leaving our beloved FH.
I grew up in London and lived all over west and South West london I never felt the need to rely on a car until I moved here (I was 50years old when I moved by the way) In fact because I hated the tube (and still do)When I lived elsewhere I found it easy to get a bus to central london and could walk 15 minutes from my home and have a choice of routes going to North London and Victoria as well as the west end.
I’ve always worked in the west end and trust me the transport here is so bad that I dread working weekends (I often do-shops open 7 days a week until 9pm or 10pm in the west end) when more often than not we have no train service-I used to have my boyfriend drive me to work on Saturdays & Sundays but with the 7 day week congestion charge that is unfiesable.
Therefore at weekendsit takes well over an hour getting to work which is just 8 miles away.
I finish work on weekdays at 8.30pm (I had to opt out of the late shifts that finish at 10.15pm because they started stopping the overground early) and it takes around an hour to get home when the trains are working.
Peckham for example has way better bus services than we do, as does Brixton Clapham, Crystal Palace.
I echo whatNadia says SW london is far better served by busses and trains than we are.
I love the area but tbh if I could afford to move I would purely because the commute is so bad.
One of my colleagues lives in Honor Oak Park and we have more than once had to share a £30 uber to and from work.
I will have to do this on Boxing day or get 2 busses and spend 90mins travelling each way.
We live in Zone 3 therefore I do think we should expect better.
When I moved here the 176 bus ran to Oxford Circus that made all the difference, and of course the trains were definitely more reliable back then.
When I first moved out here, there was actually a direct service from Charing Cross to here in the evenings. The newly opened overground displaced that service. Then there was disruption while the work on London Bridge station was done. Currently the service from London Bridge to Victoria isn’t running, halving the services to London Bridge and there are engineering works almost every weekend, which, as other posters have pointed out, is makes it very difficult for those who work weekends.
I sense from your comment, although perhaps I’m inferring too much, that you have previously lived outside London, where transport links are different. I grew up in the midlands and it’s true that transport systems outside of London aren’t as extensive. My home town for example is not trying to move around a population somewhat bigger than the total population of some other European countries every day. But I think when people here say the transport isn’t great it’s generally in comparison with other parts of London and/or what it was like before, rather than in relation to rural districts where everyone has to drive, or smaller towns that just don’t have the same weight of numbers travelling.
It is interesting that some feel that expecting public transport (trains) to run a reliable and frequent service at weekends is a first world problem.
Lets flip the situation around and say also that people are banned from using their cars/private vehicles at weekends and that your only choice is foot, cycle or bus. Let’s make it as difficult for people to use cars at weekends and it is for people to use trains at weekends.
How would that be received? Car drivers would then surely be complaining to the same extent that people who rely on weekend train service are now.
Anybody who does not use a car relies solely on public transport and do not have the luxury of a car.
They would use the same cameras that are going to be installed for the extension of the ULEZ. Given that the Council has shown no serious intent to solve traffic problems in Forest Hill, this could at least potentially reduce traffic for the areas of Forest Hill inside the South Circular.
Right, but that’s my point - for either scheme they would need cameras on every side road off the circular. ULEZ is due to go live next October.
The area covered by the existing Congestion Charge and ULEZ has around 650 cameras. The new zone will be 18 times the size, but new technology means only around 750 additional cameras will need to be installed.
So I presume they will be monitoring major roads to catch people driving in.
Whatever the rollout plan for ULEZ, it will be no additional expenditure (except software) to introduce a simultaneous extension to the congestion zone.
Actually it could save money as they could move all the existing cameras from the inner congestion zone to the north and south circular, slightly reducing the cost of separate CC and ULEZ boundaries. But that doesn’t make it a good idea for Forest Hill.
Which might be offset by the cost of removing signage in Central London and repainting road surfaces with the C Charge notices.
Or we could stimulate the economy by putting toll booths in and employing toll collectors!
But surely they need cameras throughout town to ‘catch’ you driving inside the zone, otherwise I could literally drive from my house just inside the circular, right across town for free.
700 extra cameras will not cover every single side road either. So they will no doubt pick the busier ones. I have no idea to estimate how many side roads there even are coming off the circular - I think it would make an interesting question for a job interview to see how good people are at estimating.
Funny how they can afford money to pay for cameras and fancy technology but not… and count to ten…
I think there are pinch points that you need to drive through, such as under railway bridges.
I do enjoy the comments here that it would be technically too difficult when the ULEZ is literally coming into effect in the same area in 12 months’ time.
I also chuckle at the people innocently assuming they don’t need a car who forget about all the transport services such as PHVs, delivery vans and services that will still have to pay this charge and will simply pass the charge on. And of course, the now legendary weekend service we enjoy from Forest Hill station…
This will make living anywhere outside of very central London where I used to live relatively unattractive. Great for people in Penge, not great for businesses in the East Dulwich/Peckham area.
I’m not sure whether the point has been deliberately taken out of context or I haven’t been clear enough.
When the line is open as normal, I find the service very frequent and reliable. Like you and probably most other rail users I have a great dislike for weekend closures, and I also agree that if feels like our line has been disproportionately affected.
It’s worth remembering though why these closures happen. They mean money being spent on London’s infrastructure, presumably to improve services. A (practically free) replacement bus service is available which allows for the same journeys to be made, admittedly in less comfort and with limitations around accessibility.
As far fewer people travel (and buy tickets) since the start of the pandemic, there are vast sums of money missing in the bank which resulted in this thread existing in the first place. It looks increasingly likely that this will have much wider-ranging consequences on transport further down the line. This was the point I was trying to make, rather than playing down the inconvenience of weekend works.
Don’t hold your breath, we might get there in some guise sooner rather than later…
To be clear though, there is no ban on public transport. Even if a line is closed, there is always at least one alternative in place (usually more).
As for car use during weekends, the increasing congestion levels must already have a suppressing effect, at least during certain times. Extension of the congestion charge to weekends is effectively a financial “ban” to at least some, and so will be the ULEZ extension.
Motorists are known to moan at least as much as those using public transport, whether it’s about cycle lanes, 20 mph zones, traffic calming, the list goes on.
As an aside, it’s ironic that London must be the only major city in the world that has public transport fares subsidising the upkeep of its roads (i.e. those managed by TfL). It has to be this way because after the withdrawal of both the annual government grant as well as Vehicle Excess Duty receipts to TfL (combined just a ten figure sum), there is not enough other income available that isn’t from fares.
It won’t be an option to everyone, but car pooling is becoming increasingly popular and the affordability barrier is much lower than for purchase hire/ownership. That doesn’t make it an attractive option for travelling to many parts of London but can compensate for some local limitations of the public transport offer.
For those wanting to live somewhere with seamless public transport around the clock that makes one forget why cars even exist, there are far better places to live than London. This is equally true for those who prefer getting around by car.
A deal has been reached and the extension will not happen.
Very generous bailout there, especially now it comes with no strings attached.
Khan racked up £5.25bn in Crossrail delays and 557 TfL staff are paid more than £100K (an increase of 99 under Khan). I’m surprised at the generosity TfL continues to receive from central funding.
That’s good news for SE23 - CC would split the postcode in half. Having transport running as is gives everyone another 6 months to negotiate something that works.
This is a huge relief for me and other over 60’s as regards the free travel
How do you define generous? I wouldn’t know, but history tells me that the rebate (to describe it more accurately than bailout) is likely to be the credible minimum. That’s what tends to happen in negotiations where the two parties have differing aims.
No strings attached? I recall a minimim inflation +1% fare rise, continued increased and extended (to weekends) C-Charge with especially the latter really hitting culture and hospitality. Toxic choice over free travel for kids and pensioners. There were some ominous statements around Council tax, too, so let’s wait what else will come out of the woodwork.
Oh, and that’s before considering the fact that it’s only been can-kicking the actual debate of a longer term solution, conveniently into a time that will coincide with the Mayoral Election campaign.
Accountability to one side, do you suggest that there is a causal relationship between delays/cost overuns to a project at a relative late stage and who is running as a Mayor at that exact time? And what’s that got to do with making up for the Covid shortfall?
This sound like the sort of stat that typically the likes of the taxpayers’ alliance cook up.
557 out of 28,000 staff. How does that compare to a similar size private company (I’ve no idea)? Are you suggesting that TfL should be better run on the cheap, given that they’re overseeing £bn public investment?
You forgot to mention the free travel including spouses.
What one has to say though is that (as is often the case) they’ve managed to get something agreed that allows both parties to keep a straight face and even sell it as a success to their individual camps!
I think it takes some serious mental gymnastics to argue that a £1.8 BILLION bailout of Khan’s TfL is not generous.
And this comes just months after the last £1.6bn bailout.
I’m not going to respond in detail as I don’t want to take this conversation down a political rabbit hole.
My original post was simply intended to add balance to the discussion, after a one-sided account of the bailout by a politician was posted by another commenter (linking to a partisan press release claiming the government wants to “punish London”).
Mind-boggling sums indeed. Up to £48 billion went into the Bounce Back Loan Scheme since March. Made available overnight, with full self-certification, no questions asked, many likely never to be seen again. “Taxpayers’ money” is a fallacy, the state owns the currency and can print as it pleases (for now).
I think the word bailout implies poor management necessitated some kind of rescue (I’m not even sure who used the term first). It should be evident that TfL revenues have dropped due to a global pandemic. Right now tube/transport usage is way down because of mandated ‘stay at home’ messages so TfL revenue is way down. It clearly makes sense to keep the transport network running for keyworkers and so this should be seen as emergency funding in the same way there are furloughed worker schemes. Let’s keep the politics out of it. Keeping TfL running the transport network is a good thing, and extending the CC is not the answer to cover the cost of it.
I fear if I tried that line of reasoning with HMRC they would not agree.
Assuming they understand the basic principles behind their existence, they would probably tell you that, contrary to popular wisdom, paying for government services as such isn’t one of the core purposes of collecting taxes.
Can we park the politics please. At least keep it to London ‘local politics’. This thread is about how the congestion charge could affect SE23 not about HMRC. Thanks.
Apologies, my response was intended to be purely about economics rather than politics, but admittedly off-topic in any case. So attempting to bridge that gap again, the extension of the congestion charge would have unlike taxes been indeed a vehicle to pay for TfL costs, and it looks like this scenario has thankfully been averted for the time being.
Fair point. Perhaps mildly off topic. I was just trying to prevent things going that way! I wasn’t singling you out either. Just a general caution. We’re all not always
This story is coming back, with a slight revision
If it happens I would bet on them using the cameras to be installed for the extension of the extended ULEZ
I doubt this would reduce congestion - it would just increase prices of tradesmen / taxis / deliveries / etc that London residents rely on, adding to the “London premium” cost of living.
You’re probably right but I suspect it would be less about congestion and more about a new secure income stream to TfL.
It would come with the extra sweetener of not directly affecting much of the voting public, although they’d probably have to weather the odd headline involving impact on key workers etc.
It could possibly even be an attempted “cheeky” response to the fact that car tax paid by Londoners is being exclusively spent on the upkeep of non-London roads.
All just games for now IMHO.
Yep, definitely games, but there is a serious income shortfall that needs addressing in one way or another.
Unfortunately cutting services may make it even harder for other businesses to recover - particularly the hospitality and ents sectors.
Cuts will also encourage use of private transport.
Well that would be good for them if we all have to pay CC and some will also have to pay ULEZ charge! Much better to get £15 from me for going into Forest Hill than to get £8.40 or whatever it now is for me to get the train into the office!!
The story is back today, but perhaps just a slow news day for the Telegraph
More detail in the Evening Standard, including potential changes at Canada Water
Apart from it seeming like a fair measure, I can certainly see our local area benefitting from this road entry charge in that it would likely reduce traffic on the South Circular and the A20. Maybe we’d even see less rat-running as a result.
On the flip side, putting Canada Water into Zone 1 would likely affect many of us.
As for the Telegraph creating their own news story, I would think that many of those affected fall into their readership. It’s also the election year.
Do not worry about this road charge though, it will never be allowed by the powers that be.
Actually I would welcome it. It seems pretty clear that Lewisham Council has no plan to reduce commuter traffic through the residential streets of Forest Hill (except for favoured enclaves), so the C charge may be the only thing that might reduce volume of traffic in the near-term.
A lot of people drive into areas like ours, park and commute into town. It seems reasonable to charge them for doing this.
I’m not sure this is good for local business. if I can’t drive from my side of the A205 into forest hill without paying the charge I shall shop elsewhere. It’s not always practical to walk if there’s a lot to carry.
I have to say that bringing the c charge all the way out to the 205 feels like it could be a problem for lots of local businesses, either because it may affect people going to them or because they’ll have to pay it to deliver in the zone.
The suggestion of a GLA boundary charge is at least a little more sensible than the south circular congestion charge zone boundary proposed last year by central government.
The GLA boundary is likely to be less divisive on high streets than a main road through London suburbs and the proposal would not charge London residents every time they used their cars.
I’m not convinced it is a good idea, but worth considering and better than the south circular congestion zone.
The other idea mentioned of bringing Canary Wharf into zone one makes good sense if the revenue from commuters would outweigh the loss of revenue from travel between central London and Docklands being in different zones.
For us it would be an utter nightmare as we are just off the South Circular so if we even wanted to park in Sainsburys car park for a big shop we’d have to pay.
likewise to get a lift home from the gym at night (which I do because of muggings in that area) will cost money.
it will adversely affect businesses both in forest hill and east dulwich.
I feel all these extra ‘taxes’ on residents AND businesses are killing London and its unique villages within the city.