Milan’s Area C congestion charging system may be reactivated on September 17th according to announcements in several local newspapers. The September 17th date has not been confirmed officially according to the press office of Milan council.
The northern Italian city’s congestion charge system had been suspended owing to a legal challenge, but probably would have been suspended during the month of August anyway.
While the September 17th date has been mentioned, there is a chance that the reactivation will not take place on that date. Indeed, I was told by the Milan council press office in a telephone conversation on August 30th that the reactivation date is not yet definitive.
The following information should, therefore, be considered provisional.
From September 20th, assuming the reactivation does occur as planned, the Area C traffic monitoring cameras will be switched off at 6pm. Before, they were turned off at 7:30pm.
The change in the switch-off time, reports the non-official Area C Milano website, is to give more people time to come into Milan’s city centre to go shopping.
Shops in Milan tend to shut at around 7:30, so the new switch-off time should give shoppers an extra hour and a half to make purchases.
One of the criticisms of the Area C congestion charge was that it had a major effect on the trade of Milan’s city centre shops. Many shop keepers and bar owners were not happy with this aspect.
Another possible change is that the grace period to allow people to pay the congestion charge is to be extended and fines for forgetting to pay are to be reduced.
On a more positive note, the Area C system, owing to the reduction in traffic congestion, allowed public transport to run much more efficiently, and the number of traffic accidents within the congestion charging zone fell considerably too.
If the September 17th date changes, this article will be updated.
In the meantime, if you are on holiday in Italy and you have a car, you can visit Milan without having to worry about being fined for entering a restricted traffic area. Just be careful not to end up driving along bus/taxi lanes, because doing so will incur a fine.
Milan’s centre is worth visiting and the Duomo cathedral is a jaw-dropping sight which is not to be missed.