The Congestion Charge Rip Off

Top of the list of people I find it impossible to trust is London’s Major Ken. Never mind the patronising ‘I know what’s best attitude’, or the ‘the congestion charge won’t be increased from 5 pounds’, when it is subsequently increased to 8; I just find his whole persona really creepy.

How on earth was he elected? They do say people get the government they deserve, not necessarily what they want.

Anyway, the point of this rant is the shameless way we are ripped off by the Congestion Charge – the architect of which is one Major Ken. I’m not going to bleat about not wanting to pay it, or the fact that the money just goes to fund more useless local authority jobs rather than proper alternative infrastructure. No, my rant today concerns the way you pay – or rather can’t.

In all the hoo-ha on Friday – I joined the mass exodus from the City at around 3.45 and didn’t get to Wiltshire until nearly 7.00pm – I forgot to ring up and pay the Charge. So, like an honest citizen I called on Saturday to pay up. Except you can’t. If you don’t pay on the day, you cannot pay. Crazy? Sure, because they will now send me a fixed penalty notice and I will have to pay 50 quid – if they caught me.

This is just criminal. By all means, make me pay a late penalty, but with the current system there is no option for me to pay a day late – I am forced to wait until I get a fine and then pay or to hope they did not catch me and I get away with it.

Well, I’m not going to take the chance. I am going to send them a cheque. The way I see it I owe them 8 quid and if they deny me a reasonable mechanism of paying it then it is not my problem. I’m not going to wait and see if I get away with it for the simple reason that I am honest.

It is a shame that Transport for London are not.

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