AN increasing number of drivers are remembering to pay London’s congestion charge, the UK’s two biggest leasing companies have found.
Three and a half years after the charge was introduced, both Lex and Lloyds TSB autolease have seen the number of fines drop for the first time.
Latest figures from Lex show that the company dealt with 10,333 congestion fines in the 12 months to September, down from 16,326 the previous year.
In terms of overall fines incurred by drivers, the company noted a fall of 1,582 incidents to 68,299 during the 12 months.
But increases were noted in bus lane offences, which rose from 5,571 to 9,076, and parking fines, which increased to 17,426 from 15,862. Speeding fines reduced by 950 fines, to 23,460.
A reduction in fines issued was also noted by another major player, Lloyds TSB autolease.
Phil Pile, head of administration at the company, said: ‘We experienced a reduction of more than a fifth in the number of congestion charge fines between August 2005 and July 2006 and the same period one year earlier.’
Lex company bosses say: ‘The message is getting through on how it works or more company motorists are now using the train when they travel into London.’
Managing director Jon Walden said: ‘Driver fines cause the entire fleet industry huge administrative hassles so we are delighted that they are falling across the board.
‘As for the congestion charge, there is no doubt it is reducing traffic problems in London but dealing with the company that runs the scheme can be traumatic for any contract hire or rental company. It is not sympathetic to the fact that we own the vehicles, but our customers and their drivers incur the fines.’
From February next year, the capital’s congestion charging scheme will be extended westward to include Bayswater, Notting Hill, Knightsbridge and Chelsea.