The U.S. is still not paying congestion charging fees in London, reports the Guardian.

“TfL and the UK government are agreed that the congestion charge is a charge for a service and not a tax, which means that diplomats are not exempt from payment. All staff at the American embassy should pay it, in the same way as British officials pay road tolls in the United States. TfL continues to engage directly with those embassies that refuse to pay in order to increase compliance with the scheme by diplomats.”

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 24th, 2009 at 8:00 am and is filed under Traffic Culture, Traffic Enforcement. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Stiffed”

  1. Kevin Love Says:

    So, US government scofflaws evade road tolls – because they can. I am always angered by government bureaucrats that consider themselves above the laws (and tolls) that apply to us peasants.

    There has been a trend away from toll booths and physical road barriers blocking non-payers. These have been replaced with electronic toll collection. Examples include Ontario’s 407 toll highway and the London Congestion Charge.

    This is a serious loophole. As noted, the US Embassy is currently owing 3.5 million pounds sterling – and refuses to pay up. Although the US government is the worst offender, other diplomatic missions also owe.

    My concern is that the accumulated amounts are enough to justify the return of physical road barriers blocking non-payers, not only in London but around the world. Once again, government bureaucrats ruin it for everyone else.

    Does the US government pay their 407 tolls in Ontario?

  2. Bill T. Says:

    Kevin, The non-payment of road-related fees has been standard practice for decades. UN delegates never pay for parking meters, nor do they pay the parking tickets they receive when they fail to pay the meter.

  3. Kevin Love Says:

    Bill T. wrote:
    “Kevin, The non-payment of road-related fees has been standard practice for decades.”

    Kevin’s comment:
    This is one of the rare instances where I can say that this is untrue as an eyewitness. With my own two eyes I’ve seen US diplomats paying road tolls. Of course, this was at an old-fashioned toll gate with physical barriers and guards to prevent non-payment.

    I’ve also seen US diplomats paying tram and railway fares. Again, this was because of the enforcement.

    I seriously question the “decades” statement, because automatic electronic toll collection systems like London’s CC or Ontario’s 407 are a relatively new phenomenon. Before that, barriers and guards were standard everywhere.

    I venture to predict that if there were physical tollgates and guards at the London CC zone then the US Embassy personnel would either be paying without a fuss or else be taking their bicycles or public transit. Just like us peasants. And just like they do everywhere else with barriers and guards.

    These US government personnel are only evading paying because they figure they can get away with it. The only issue is one of enforcement. I know that they do pay when there is adequate enforcement. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, so I know its true!

  4. mikey2gorgeous Says:

    & how is this behaviour ‘diplomatic’? Seems like a kick in the teeth to me.

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