London Congestion Charge. Your questions answered.

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.

IMPORTANT: It is your responsibility to register your rental vehicle for the charge. SIXT does not do this for you.

When does the congestion charge apply?

The charge applies to every day of the week, between the hours of 7.00am to 10.00pm, excluding Christmas Day(25th December).

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 to pay the charge by midnight of the third charging day after travel.

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.

How much will the congestion charge cost?

It depends on when you pay:

  • The congestion charge is £15 per day, whether you pay in advance or on the same day.
  • The congestion charge is £17.50, if you pay by midnight 12.00am of the third charging day after travel. If you fail to pay by midnight of the third day, you'll reeceive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

There are some exceptions as to who has to pay the congestion charge. You can find that information here : https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge/discounts-and-exemptions 

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

Telephone UK: 0343 222 2222

International: +44 343 222 2222

Textphone: 0207 649 9123 (if you have an impaired hearing)

How many times do I have to pay in a congestion zone?

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 third 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. 

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:

  • Residents
  • 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)

Find out more infromation here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge/discounts-and-exemptions