London to Scrap Evening Congestion Charge to Revive Nightlife
(Bloomberg) -- London is cutting back on the hours it’s charging drivers to enter central areas in a bid to get people back into pubs and restaurants, just as the U.K. is facing a record-breaking wave of coronavirus infections.
Transport for London will apply the congestion charge from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 12 noon to 6 p.m. on weekends and bank holidays, according to a statement Thursday. The move is aimed at balancing a reduction in car journeys while also reviving the hard-hit hospitality industry. The changes will take effect on Feb. 21.
With its budget stretched by the pandemic, TfL in June last year increased the congestion charge zone hours of operation to 10 p.m., seven days a week. The cost per vehicle will remain at 15 pounds ($20) a day, TfL said.
London was one of the first cities in the world to introduce a congestion charge at the turn of the millennium for cars driving into the city center. At the height of the pandemic, with few commuters using public transit, Mayor Sadiq Khan raised the levy for the first time in six years and the most since it was introduced in 2003.
TfL will also suspend the congestion charge between Christmas and the first working day of the New Year, as concern over spiraling cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant prompts people to stay away from public transit.
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