Fines for red route contraventions in London set to increase

Transport for London (TfL) is moving forward with plans to increase the level of the penalty charge for road contraventions on double red lines from £130 to £160. The changes will come into effect from 17th January 2022 following a public consultation held between 5th August and 19th September 2021.

Penalty charge notices (PCNs) are issued to the small number of drivers who fail to follow the rules on London’s network of red routes, putting the safety of themselves and other road users at risk and causing disruption and delays on some of the capital’s busiest and most important roads. The penalty charge will still be reduced by 50 per cent if paid within 14 days and increased by 50 per cent if paid after 28 days.

Overall, there has been a 26 per cent increase in the number of PCNs issued for parking, loading, bus lane and moving traffic offences between 2016 and 2019. The penalty charge level increase is being introduced to deter contraventions of the road rules and support TfL’s Vision Zero aims to reduce road danger, improve public transport reliability and increase active travel.

London’s red routes are roads managed by TfL. They make up five per cent of roads but carry 30 per cent of the capital’s traffic. Red routes exist to allow traffic to move safely and efficiently along some of the busiest roads in London. Stopping is generally prohibited on these roads, outside of designated locations and times clearly marked by signs. Failing to follow the rules and signs at junctions creates safety risks, disrupts traffic and creates congestion for everyone. Vital deliveries can be obstructed and buses and the emergency services can be delayed.

Increasing the level of the penalty charge is about improving compliance, not penalising drivers. It should deter motorists from contravening essential rules and safety restrictions. PCNs are an important way of encouraging road users to follow the rules of the road and are only issued to the small number of drivers who contravene these rules. PCNs can be issued for contraventions such as:

  • Parking illegally in loading bays

  • Blocking yellow box junctions

  • Making a turn where this movement is banned, which creates risk for people walking and cycling

  • Driving or parking in a bus lane

  • Stopping on the red route

The cost of a PCN for contraventions on the red route network has not increased for more than ten years. The last increase was in April 2011 when it rose from £120 to £130. TfL’s increase to £160 is in line with inflation since the last increase. The increase will also bring the charges in line with the penalties for non-payment of the Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which are also currently set at £160. Any revenue raised through these penalty notices is invested back into London’s transport network, which includes investing in its road network to improve safety for all road users.