Barack Obama’s convoy has been fined $193 (£120) for failing to pay a congestion charge during the US President’s visit to London in May. And the fine should have been higher! However, there is as yet no intention to pay it.
The US president’s motorcade included several vehicles and each one of them was liable to pay the congestion charge for traveling through the City of London. However, the cars were traveling so close together that only one was captured by the traffic cameras and hit with the initial $16 (£10) congestion fee.
The fine has so far not been paid despite the request of Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The refusal to pay has led to the fine. If all the cars in the motorcade had been captured on camera then the fine would have been much higher.
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson explained,
“Any vehicle – regardless of where it is registered – which is identified within the Congestion Charging Zone during the hours of operation without a valid charge, discount or exemption can be subject to a penalty. TfL pursues penalties from foreign registered vehicles that have not paid the charge.”
However, the American Embassy has denied the need to pay the £10 congestion fee, citing the 1960 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which “prohibits the imposition of this sort of tax on diplomatic missions.”
President Obama also visited Dublin, Ireland, where he also ran in to more vehicle trouble. His car got stuck at the Embassy as it was too wide to get through the gates easily.