Running a car in London is expensive; there are several reasons why:
- Congestion charge - Â�5.00 for cars crossing Central London, from February 2003
- Parking - the boroughs look to parking fines as a way of getting revenue. Car park owners charge a premium for off-road, legal parking. Many Central London streets with parking meters have the charges operational on Saturday and Sunday - check the small print when you park.
- Insurance - Premiums are high for Central London, as it is viewed as high risk fo theft.
However, if you do need or decide to have a car, when thinking about parking, there are several points that are worth bearing in mind.
- Residents Parking Permit - you may need to get one of these from your local council, if you live in a controlled parking zone (CPZ), and do not have off-street parking. This is yet another revenue earner for the boroughs, particularly since they sell as many as they can with no regard to the number of spaces available.
- Disabled sticker - if you are registered disabled, you are entitled to a sticker which exempts you from many of the parking problems.
- Free parking to retail customers - If you are intending to buy groceries from Sainsbury's, Safeways, Asda or Waitrose, these stores ususally have a large car park. This can be useful for walks and other shopping. You may need to show a receipt on exit.
- Park and ride - although this is popular in many large towns and cities outside London, it has not really caught on in London, as land for the car park is at a premium. Boroughs usually make the streets near a tube station into a CPZ.