Hundreds of drivers have been “charged” for entering London’s Congestion Zone after being directed into the area by the police.
Officers had blocked off Tower Bridge – a key arterial route in the city – during an incident.
All car, vans, and lorries wanting use the bridge were pushed into the zone without a choice.
Transport for London (TfL) congestion rules state that if a motorist has been moved into the zone by an on-duty officer there is no fine.
The motorist must make every effort to leave the zone at the first opportunity.
But when drivers tried to claim back the charge TfL said it had no record of the incident.
To back up a claim, one driver sent TfL a City of London Police tweet warning the bridge was closed.
And a local newspaper had put the closure on its website.
Despite the irrefutable evidence, TfL’s congestion team said it made checks and had no record of Tower Bridge being closed.
A spokesperson said:
“We can confirm that there was no official diversion in the Congestion Charge zone on 17 July 2023.”
But a spokesman in the TfL press office later contradicted:
“I have alerts saying it was closed.
“Something’s gone wrong here.
“I’ll look into it.”
Many drivers turn left at Tower Bridge to cross the Thames to avoid the congestion zone.
However, during the morning rush hour, a City of London officer waved on vehicles wanting to turn left.
They were directed straight into the zone no more 100 metres away.
One motorist caught in the traffic congestion, said:
“On Monday July 17th at about 08.30 the bridge was closed.
“I understand someone was threatening to jump off.
“I was waved on by a police officer and straight into the congestion zone no more than 100 metres away.
“I later contacted TfL to appeal the charge.
“A helpful man told me to pay the charge and then contest it.
“I did both.
“In my claim I included a cutting from a local newspaper that Tower Bridge was closed.
“I also added a Twitter message from the City of London Police saying the bridge was shut at the time I was trying to cross.
“My congestion charge was later refunded in full.
“However, it beggars belief TfL’s congestion team didn’t know one of London’s busiest junctions was closed during the rush hour.”
The TfL press office failed to come back to the London Globe with any reason why its congestion team did not know Tower Bridge was closed.