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C-charge costing London dear in cutting edge

PUBLISHED: 19:58 29 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 October 2010

THE Congestion Charge zone is losing London its cutting edge in business, according to rental car bosses. Business visitors are being stung with charges and fines for driving through the centre of town without realising where the toll zone starts, adding to the already crippling costs of the world’s most expensive city. One car rental company alone was lumbered with a penalty fine every two hours for customers who didn’t to cough up

THE Congestion Charge zone is losing London its cutting edge in business, according to rental car bosses.

Business visitors are being stung with charges and fines for driving through the centre of town without realising where the toll zone starts, adding to the already crippling costs of the world's most expensive city.

One car rental company alone was lumbered with a penalty fine every two hours for customers who didn't to cough up.

It had to pay a staggering £212,000 last year-for 350 customers who skipped paying every month.

"We found a large percentage of business travellers from outside London are unfamiliar with the Congestion zones," explained Sixt rental's operations director Bob Baillie.

"Having to pay up to £100 each for non-payment is a bitter pill to swallow.

"The toll is causing a real headache to businessmen driving through Central London without realising there's a charge."

He added: "It's an additional expense that is pricing business customers out of London."

The company has had to put details about Congestion Charge on its website in a bid to avoid having to pick up the tabs later.

The toll goes well beyond the City and West End, from Whitechapel in the East to Earl's Court in the West, down to Kennington in the south.

The boundary from Tower Bridge follows the Ring Road through the Aldgate one-way system and along Commercial Street and Gt Eastern Street to the Old Street Roundabout, taking in a large swathe of Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Shoreditch.

It then sweeps along City Road, Euston Road and Westway, through Earl's Court and Chelsea to Vauxhall Bridge, south of the river through Kennington and Elephant & Castle-even the Thames is no barrier.

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