But Livingstone has reassured businesses that his plans will not create an administrative nightmare, with fleets able to operate charge accounts and notify any vehicle changes directly to the central database responsible for policing the system.
Fleet, business and political leaders still oppose the concept of congestion charging until investment in public transport creates viable alternative means of travel. Bernard Jenkin MP, shadow transport minister, said there was no evidence that the charge would reduce congestion or pollution in the capital: 'This tax is untested, unpopular, unworkable and unfair. Public transport in London is simply not good enough to cope with any extra demand,' he said. Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said fleets faced a 'double whammy' - having to pay the congestion charge without seeing a reduction in traffic volume.
Livingstone defended his plan to charge every vehicle £5 per day to enter London, saying strong measures were needed to reduce the traffic congestion.
TNT UK has hundreds of vehicles travelling in and out of London every day, and its group fleet procurement manager Simon Boggis recognises the need to tackle London's traffic problems. But he opposes the congestion charge, saying there is not an infrastructure in place to cope with the shift from private to public transport.
Congestion charging: How it will work
- A £5 charge on weekdays between 7am and 7pm.
- Payable on the day of travel or in advance.
- Accounts will be available for fleet operators.
- Residents with a parking permit living inside the zone could park all day in a residents' on-street parking place without paying a congestion charge.
- The system will be policed by closed circuit television cameras that record vehicle registration numbers.
- Drivers who do not pay up will face a fine of £80.
- Alternatively fuelled vehicles, motorcyclists, taxis, minicabs, buses, NHS vehicles, vehicles used by disabled persons, emergency service vehicles and other forms of public transport will be exempt.