Mayor fined in congestion zone

London Mayor Boris Johnson has confessed he was "done" by his own system after forgetting to pay the capital's congestion charge when driving into central London.

Mr Johnson said the system was "wretched" and "crazy" and said his experience emphasised the need for an "account-based" way of administering congestion charges.

During a BBC London radio phone-in on Vanessa Feltz's show, a listener reminded Mr Johnson that he had promised to increase the time period for paying the charge from a "48-hour window" to a month.

Mr Johnson said: "You are absolutely right, I did say that. I had totally forgotten that."

He then admitted that he was a "victim of this wretched system only the other day" when he drove to light the Hanukkah Menorah in a ceremony at Trafalgar Square on December 22.

Mr Johnson, who tries to use his bicycle as much as he can around the capital, said: "I forgot to pay and then 'bing'! I got the £60 fine which I have just coughed up."

He added that a new "account-based system" would be introduced as soon as the technology made it viable to do so.

"That would get away from the crazy system whereby you suddenly get clobbered by these fines," he said.

Copyright © Press Association 2009