Friday, October 16, 2009

Freight Transport Association Backs Boris Despite Toll Increase For London

Congestion Charge to Go Up But Automated Payment Introduced
Shipping News Feature

LONDON – ENGLAND – Mayor Boris Johnson is to implement the changes to the Congestion Charge he outlined in his pre election pledge. From next year motorists will be able to pay automatically every time they enter the charging zone. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) have given their support to the scheme.

The automated payment account system will mean that motorists who register for an account can pay the Congestion Charge by debit or credit card, or by Direct Debit and avoid the possibility of ever receiving a penalty charge.

The new system, provisionally entitled CC Auto Pay, would calculate the number of journeys a vehicle makes within the zone each week, and debit customers' accounts on a weekly basis. Motorists who continue to use existing payment methods would be charged £10 per day. For CC Auto Pay customers the charge will be £9. The fleet discount, currently £1 per day, will be removed. This will mean fleet owners will pay the same rate as automatic payment users.

These measures would sit alongside the proposed removal of the Western Extension of the Zone and a range of mitigation measures, and would all be introduced by December 2010 subject to legal processes.

Gordon Telling, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said: “While it is disappointing that the congestion charge has gone up at all, we are pleased that the majority of companies that move freight through the capital and don’t have the option of public transport are still afforded a discount.

“We welcome the introduction of the automated payment system which brings to small companies the same savings in administration that were previously only available to larger fleets. This is particularly helpful when Congestion Charge payments slip through the net and cause significant costs to smaller firms which are under pressure from all sides.”