London Congestion Charge & Hire Cars: Everything You Need To Know

You will have to pay the daily charge if you drive within the (CCZ) London Congestion Charge zone between 7am & 6pm, Monday to Friday.

This also applies to hire car drivers, if you are collecting/returning a vehicle within the CCZ or travel within it at any point during your rental. You are liable for the charge and should follow the same instructions as if it were your own car. Failure to pay may result in an administration charge on top of the fine you may receive.

If you are intending to hire a car and will be travelling into the CCZ regularly, then it will be worth asking your supplier for a rental vehicle that is exempt from the charges. See more below..

What is The CCZ?

The current London congestion charge zone covers the area within the London Inner Ring Road which includes both the City of London and also the West End. Although primarily a commercial area, out of London’s population of near 9,000,000 there are over 130,000 residents within the CCZ.

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Starting at the northernmost point and moving clockwise, the major roads defining the boundary are Pentonville Road, City Road, Old Street, Commercial Street, Mansell Street, Tower Bridge Road, New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle, Kennington Lane, Vauxhall Bridge Road, Park Lane, Edgware Road, Marylebone Road and Euston Road (other roads fill the small gaps between these roads). Signs were erected and symbols painted on the road to help drivers recognise the congestion charge area.

What Times Are The Charges In Force?

The CCZ is active between the hours of 07:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday. It is not active on Weekends, Bank Holidays (England) and from the 25th December (Christmas Day) to the 1st January (New Years Day) inclusive.

How Much Is The London Congestion Charge?

The standard charge is £11.50 per day if paid by midnight on the day you enter the CCZ. if you pay by the end of the following day then this increases to £14.

You can reduce this charge by setting up an account with CC Autopay. This is an automated system that allows you to register up to 5 vehicles and pay monthly for all travel within the CCZ. This reduces the charge to £10.50 per day per vehicle.

If you have more than 5 cars to register or a business you can register with Fleet Auto Pay, and will be charged £10.50 rather than £11.50.

Failure to pay will result in a Penalty Charge Notice for £130, this can be reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days, but will increase to £195 if it remains unpaid after 28 days.

How To Pay The Congestion Charge

You can pay online via the TFL website up to 90 days in advance of your expected journey, on the day of travel or by midnight on the following day.

As well as online, you can pay the Congestion Charge via CC Auto Pay, by telephone, by text message or using the new smartphone app.

CCZ Exemptions, Discounts & Refunds

Refunds are usually available to those who pay in advance and whose plans change. Reimbursements are available to NHS patients who are assessed to be too ill to travel by other means (this will need to be substantiated), NHS staff and fire fighters using vehicles on official business. Residents living within a specified distance or inside the CCZ are eligible for a 90% discount which is charged via CC Autopay.

The automated system gives free travel to registered vehicles which meet certain emission requirements.

  • Vehicles that emit 75 g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 emission standard
  • Vehicles with nine or more seats
  • Motor-tricycles
  • Two-wheeled motorcycles (and sidecars)
  • Mopeds
  • Accredited breakdown companies and roadside recovery vehicles
  • All-electric vehicles (BEVs)
  • Eligible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

If you drive a plug-in electric drive vehicle, you will qualify if your vehicle is registered with the DVLA and is on record with a fuel type of “electric”, alternatively, if your vehicle is a “plug-in hybrid” and it is on the Government’s list of PHEVs eligible for the OLEV grant.