What is a congestion charge?
This is a charge for driving into an area of London known as the congestion-charging zone.
The purpose of a congestion charge is to encourage drivers not to drive into busy traffic areas, to ease the traffic congestion and to encourage use of public transport.
When does the congestion charge apply?
The charge applies during weekdays, Monday to Fridays, between the hours of 7.00am to 6.00pm, excluding public holidays and bank holidays and between 25th December and 1st January.
How do I know when I need to pay a congestion charge?
You will know when you are entering and leaving the congestion charge zone because you will see congestion charging signs on or at the side of the road.
The sign is white with a red circle, which has a white letter 'C' inside it.
There is a sign that also indicated the end of a zone when you are about to leave the charging zone.
Find out more about the signs at Transport for London Congestion Zone Signs
How does the congestion charge work?
There are no barriers or tollbooths.
You are paying to register your Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) on a database.
Cameras will read your number plate as you enter, leave or drive within the charging zone and check it against the database of those who have paid the charge or those who do not have to pay the charge because they are exempt or registered for a 100% discount.
Once your VRN has been matched, the photographic images of your vehicle are automatically wiped off the database.
Do Sixt register their vehicles in the Congestion Zone?
No, even if a vehicle is delivered into the Congestion Zone charging area, it is our customer's/the driver's responsibility to register the vehicle at one of the designated pay stations.
The vehicle must be registered for each day it is being driven in the Congestion Zone.
When do I have to register the vehicle in the congestion zone?
Once you have entered a congestion zone, you have 24 hours to register this.
How can I register to pay for my congestion charge?
You can pay for a congestion charge in a number of ways. It is quickest and easiest if you register with the Transport for London via their website, as there are a number of ways you can register/pay:
- Auto Pay, online, by text message (SMS), phone, automated telephone service, or by post.
(Since July 2013, it is not possible to purchase the Congestion Charge from shops and petrol stations displaying the ‘e’-pay).
How much will the congestion charge cost?
It depends on when you pay:
- The congestion charge is £11.50 per day, if you pay in advance (online up to 90 days in advance)
- The congestion charge is £14.00, if you pay the next following charging day or on the same day of travel or by midnight 12.00am the next charging day.
Who do I contact to register to pay my congestion charge?
The Congestion Charging Contact Centre opening hours are as follows:
Mondays to Fridays - 08:00 to 22:00 hours
Saturdays - 09:00 to 15:00 hours
Sundays - Closed
Telephone UK - 0343 222 2222
International - +44 207 649 9122
Text phone - 0207 649 9123 (if you have an impaired hearing)
Fax - 0207 649 9121
How many times do I have to pay in a congestion zone?
In the weekday, you only need to pay once a day, no matter how many times you drive in and out of the charging zone on the same day.
What happens if I fail to pay for a congestion charge?
If you have not paid the congestion charge by midnight on the next charging day after the day of travel into a congestion zone, you will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
In these cases, Sixt will at some stage receive notification from the Transport for London of the offence. Sixt will pay the fine in order to prevent late payment and any increase in the fine amount.
We will then invoice our customer for the amount of the fine along with our standard administration fee.
What is a PNC (Penalty Charge Notice)?
A PNC is a charge, which is issued where a driver has failed to register and pay for a congestion charge within the time limit.
How much is a PNC?
The price of a PCN differs depending on who is issuing it, as different authorities will charge different amounts. Below is an example of the process undertaken by TFL when issuing a PCN for a Congestion Charge – All rates may be subject to any change which will may not have been updated at time of press). The PCN is currently (since 2018) issued at £160.00 and is discounted to £80.00 if paid promptly and within 14 days.
If you do not pay within 28 days, the penalty increases to £240.00. Failure to pay the £240.00 will result in registration of the debt with the County Court (and a court fee will apply).
If this is not paid, a warrant will be requested and issued to Bailiffs to recover the amounts due.
Do Sixt charge an administration charge for handling traffic offences and if so, how much?
Yes, for every traffic offence Sixt/we have to process, an administration charge will apply.
Administration charges for the handling of traffic offences are common business practice and industry standard.
Please check with our Traffic Fines department for the amount you, as the customer/driver will be charged at the time of application as our fee amount is subject to any increase/change as we review this periodically, against other rental suppliers/competitors, to ensure these charges are competitive and reasonable.
Why do I have to pay a traffic fine administration fee and can this not be waived?
An administration charge is necessary to cover the time and cost of us, as a business in processing incoming your fine(s) on your behalf. Once we receive your traffic fine notification, we have to investigate each offence, match it to the relevant hirer, pay the appropriate authority within the statutory deadline and then invoice you/the customer/driver accordingly, to ensure no delays.
What do I need to do if I receive an invoice for a Traffic Offence from you/Sixt e.g. Parking ticket, Speeding ticket, bus lane offence, etc.?
If you simply receive, an invoice with a copy of the fine attached then we have already taken payment for the fine and our administration cost, which you authorised us to do via the signed rental agreement.
However, if you receive an invoice with an attached speeding fine, we have not paid for the contravention, we have invoiced you for the cost of the administration fee.
We have transferred liability, as the hirer of the vehicle to the police, who in turn will contact you as to what action they wish to undertake.
If you have received this paperwork with a covering letter from Sixt, then we have been unable to process payment for all or part of the charges relating to the offence. In this case please contact our Credit Control department (details provided on the letter) to arrange payment.
Are there any discounts or exemptions from paying a congestion zone charge?
You can register for a discount if applicable:
- Blue Badge Holders
- Accredited breakdown Vehicles
- Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULED)
- Electrically propelled and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV)
- Vehicles with nine or more seats
- Motor tricycles
- Road Side Recovery Vehicles
Exemptions apply to:
- Vehicles such as emergency service vehicles
- Black cabs licensed with Taxi and Private Hire (TPH)
Please note: If your rental is for a destination outside of the UK please refer to the FAQs for that particular country.