London is a vibrant city that is home to over 8 million people. Despite an extensive public transport system, many Londoners need or prefer to drive in the city. In central London, there are over 2.6 million registered vehicles, as well as licensed taxis and daily driving commuters. As a newcomer to London, what do you need to be aware of when driving in the nation’s capital?
Low emissions in London
Choosing which car to drive has become a matter conscience as well as finance. This year saw an increase of 49 percent of drivers choosing ULEVs (ultra-low emissions vehicles). A decision aided by the Ultra-Low Emission Zoning (ULEZ) that will come into effect in 2019. A car that meets the ULEZ standards will not be charged. If you are new to driving in London it is worthwhile to check that the car you plan to drive is exempt from this charge. The ULEZ charge will encompass the same area as the London congestion charge.
The congestion zone
If you approach London from any of the major motorways you will see congestion zone signs. The congestion charge is an amount of money (currently £11.50 a day) that a driver will need to pay for a car that enters a designated congestion zone in central London. Automatically registering your vehicle via the Transport For London website will give you a discount and take your payment down to £10 for the day. It is worth noting that this congestion charge is not in operation weekdays after 6 pm and weekends.
Parking your car
Most of London roads have parking restrictions in place. It is wise to check the surroundings for signs. Do not assume that because other cars are parked in a place that it will be a legal or safe place for you to park. Walk up and down the street to discover parking signs as these are not always prominent. Shockingly, London traffic wardens issue more than £5 million in fines every year, so it pays to be vigilant.
Driving in London does not need to be daunting. Check the routes you need to travel before setting off by using postcodes, avoiding certain areas could prove more cost effective too. If you are aware of your legal obligations you will experience a dynamic city that has lots to offer.