January 8, 2009

Mayor runs afoul of London congestion fee

London Mayor Boris Johnson admitted Thursday he has been fined for failing to pay the congestion charge when he drove into the center of the city.

Johnson was on a radio call-in show when a woman accused him of forgetting his pledge to extend the period to pay the 8 pound ($12) congestion fee, The Guardian reported.

Drivers must pay the fee on the day they incur it or face a 120-pound ($180) fine, which is cut in half if paid within two weeks.

I absolutely did say that! said Johnson. Do you know, I had totally forgotten that and, speaking as a victim of this wretched system, the other day I drove in to light the Hanukah thing, the Hanukah menorah, and I got done by my own system and I forgot to pay. And then bing! I got the 60-pound fine. I have just coughed up.

Johnson prefers a bicycle and sometimes violates helmet laws.

The congestion charge was the brainchild of the Conservative Johnson's predecessor, Kenneth Red Ken Livingstone, the newspaper said.