The move follows efforts to persuade search engines to downgrade the websites and give TfL's official payment page more prominence.
Transport for London is considering scrapping text messages as a payment method for congestion charges.
Here are the top five embassies for unpaid congestion charge in London.
- The other main proposal from TfL is to replace paying by text message with a new smart phone app
- The text payment method is only used by 0.6 per cent of customers
- A new Smartphone app would allow customers to pay the daily congestion charge and carry out basic account checks
Transport for London wants your views on the proposed changes to the way drivers pay for the congestion charge.
– Transport for London
TfL has worked closely with Google and a number of other search engines to better enforce their advertising policies to ensure ads for Congestion Charge payments are not misleading or otherwise unlawful.
Customers should always pay via the official TfL website to avoid paying unnecessary charges imposed by unofficial sites and remove the risk of receiving a Penalty Charge Notice.
The proactive action taken by TfL and others has seen the number of payments being made by unofficial payments sites fall significantly.
This additional provision will make it even harder to operate an unofficial payment site that misleads TfL’s customers and is otherwise unlawful.
Transport for London may refuse to accept congestion charge payments from unofficial 'copycat' websites which charge users an additional premium.
TfL says unofficial 'copycat' websites can mislead customers, who often end up paying more than they need to for the congestion charge. Some drivers pay up to an extra £8 for what TfL calls "non-existent additional services".
In January, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld three complaints against the website paylondoncongestion.co.uk and ordered the website to make changes.
Since the Congestion Charge was introduced in 2003, TfL says more than £1.2 billion of revenue has been re-invested in transport, including:
- £960m on improvements to the bus network
- £102m on roads and bridges
- £70m on road safety
- £51m on local transport/borough plans
- £36m on sustainable transport and the environment
Transport for London says:
"While TfL recognises the increase may not be widely welcomed, it is vital to maintain the effectiveness of the scheme. The increase will ensure the charge remains an effective deterrent to all but the most essential journeys into the centre of London.
"It will also contribute an additional income of £82.7m over the course of the next five years, which will be re-invested into London’s transport network – including modernising London’s roads infrastructure."
The 17 per cent increase fro commercial vehicles is an unfair tax on businesses which have no option other than to use the city’s roads, says Freight Transport Association.
It also complains that there are no charge-free breaks in the daytime to encourage deliveries to be made outside of rush hour.
– Natalie Chapman, Freight Transport Association
Commercial vehicles making essential deliveries, such as keeping the capital’s shelves stocked and supplying London’s hospitals should be exempt from the Congestion Charge. But not only are they forced to pay to use the road network in Central London, they have now been unfairly clobbered with a bigger rise than casual users of the scheme.”
Londoners' reactions to the congestion charge increase this morning ranged from 'ridiculous' to 'worth it'.