Congestion charges are simple toll charges that are sometimes imposed in larger cities. The idea behind the charge is to generate revenue from traveling that takes place in sections of the city where a great deal of traffic congestion exists during specific times of the day. However, unlike a traditional toll arrangement, there are no tollbooths where a congestion charge payment can be submitted upon entering the area. Instead, many metropolitan areas make it possible to pay the charge in advance, as well as pay the charge on the back end if necessary.
One of the more common ways to make a congestion charge payment is by telephone. By calling numbers provided by the municipality, it is possible to connect with an automated system that will allow you to securely enter your credit or debit card information. In return, you are issued a code that is good for the period of time in which you plan to be in the identified area of the city.
As an alternative to making a payment by phone, many municipalities make it possible to make a congestion charge payment by text message. The process is similar, in that you provide credit or debit card information that is used to log the payment of the charge. In return, you receive a confirmation that the transaction is complete. Some people prefer this method, as it is a simple process to save the confirmation message and refer to it if necessary.
If you want to make your congestion charge payment in advance, going online is usually a simple and quick process. By going to a web site established and operated by the municipality, it is possible to quickly make a secure payment online, using your debit or credit card. In some localities, you can also have the payment deducted from your checking account. As with the phone and text messaging options, you also receive confirmation of your payment, usually in the form of a confirmation email sent to the address of your choice.
While not available in all situations, some municipalities also allow people to make a congestion charge payment by post. There are usually specific guidelines for mailing in the payment, especially if a check is used. Often, payments must be mailed by a certain date in order to be processed and credited for the day you plan on being in the area.
For people who prefer to make payments in person, you can often find authorized dealers who can receive payments and process them on behalf of customers. For example, in the United Kingdom, it is possible to visit many convenience stores and make a congestion charge payment in person. Payments can be made in advance, or made as late as midnight of the day after your visit to the area. However, paying after the fact usually involves tendering a higher congestion price than making the payment prior to or on the day of your visit.