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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 16:56 GMT
Congestion charge survives school run
Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge was still quiet a week after the charge began
The congestion charge survived the school run and is still exceeding expectations, according to the latest figures.

Transport for London has confirmed traffic rose by 5% in the scheme's second week of operation, but is still down 20% on pre-charge levels.

The reduction is still exceeding expectations of those behind the scheme, who had predicted a 10 to 15% reduction before the charge began.

Traffic "flowed well" throughout the second week, which opponents claimed would be the real test, as the half-term holiday ended and school-run parents returned to the roads.

The scheme, which charges motorists 5 a day to drive into central London, also coped with a major police incident on the northern outskirts of the zone.

Congestion charge second week
93,000 to 98,000 people paid each day
30,000 penalty notices sent out
traffic down 20%
Cars had to be diverted into the charging area when a man pulled a gun and fired at police near Kings Cross station on Monday.

TfL said its procedures coped and drivers who were diverted into the zone would not be fined.

Figures by market research company Footfall suggest the number of shoppers inside the zone was 4% less than the same week last year.

Footfall spokesman David Smyth said they had taken into account the closure of the Central Line and the knock-on effect of heightened security.

But he added: "It is becoming clear that the well-reported effect of consumer confidence is having a larger impact on shopping habits at the moment.

"The congestion charge, although adding to this in some respect, is probably not the major cause for the downswing in numbers."

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