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Guide To The London Congestion Charge and Its Zones

The London Congestion Zone - How Does It Work?

Initially introduced in parts of London in 2003, then expanded into western London in February of 2007, the London Congestion Zone is an area in downtown in which motorists are charged a fee of 8 Pounds each day for driving a high emissions vehicle into the zone. There are essentially two purposes for the zone and the congestion charge. The first purpose is to reduce vehicle congestion and emissions congestion that has polluted the air. The second is to raise funds for investment in the transportation system.

The zone fee is assessed for vehicles that come and go in the zone between 7AM and 6PM, which is the main driving time for the area. Despite the fact that many other metropolitan areas in the world have used a similar scheme to reduce congestion, most now view the London plan as the best practices model. Though not popular amongst many in the area, the goals of the plan have certainly come to fruition.

Many large carmakers have indicated a tremendous increase in demand for hybrid vehicles in the areas affected by the charge zone. Because of their zero to little emissions, hybrid vehicles receive a 100 per cent free charge in the zone. This means that motorists who simply must travel in and out of the congestion zone on a daily basis, yet want to avoid the service charge, must consider a hybrid car. Toyota said it saw a 135 per cent increase in sales of its Prius, one of the best selling hybrid's in the world, between January 2006 and January 2007. Some forecasters predicted that 2008 would see an increase of 6,500 hybrid vehicles in London alone.

Toyota is just one of the hybrid leaders that have seen an influx in business in the London area. Honda said it tripled its 2007 supply of its Civic Hybrid to London. The company was said to have added over 3,000 hybrids to the London roadways during the year. If hybrid car makers had their wish, the London plan would certainly be the worldwide example for how to reduce emissions congestion in populated areas.

The real question with the congestion charge zone and the results is who is the greatest beneficiary? It would be hard to argue that hybrid car manufacturers are not one of the biggest winners. However, motorists have must drive in and out of town for work or other needs also benefit from the reduced traffic congestion. Many large cities around the world have found it difficult to keep roadways running smoothly when populations and motorists grow faster than roadways can be expanded. London has demonstrated how to reduce this problem without a more radical move.

How about residents in the zones in general? The significant drop off in vehicles emitting pollutants has improved the breathing air for everyone and gives peace of mind to those concerned about long-term global warming trends. Plus, those that must use the roadways and stick to their standard cars are contributing to the fund to improve transportation systems in the future. So, despite hybrid sales growth, there are other winners with the London Congestion Charge. For help, advice and details on where and how to pay click on the black link.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the Click4Group unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.