London Congestion Charge A Shambles

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

While greens (and tax collectors) the world over have hailed London's Congestion Charge (CG), the scheme is far from the showpiece legislation its proponents suggest, and it's about to get worse. The Times reports that London's traffic has returned to pre-CG levels. Even less surprisingly, well-paid bureaucrats swallow a full 47 percent of the £800m raised by the CG– to the point where London has cut bus subsidies. At the same time, "The introduction of more bus lanes and pedestrian-friendly measures, TfL [Transport for London] admits, have also contributed to congestion." And now The Evening Standard reports that the recent tweak to the system– adding low CO2 cars like the Fiat Panda and Ford Fiesta to the hybrids who get a free pass– threatens to hole its income. As you (but not London Mayor Ken Livingstone) might imagine, the city cars' exemption from the £8 daily fee has sparked a boom in small car sales. I'm sorry, did I say £8? As part of the tweak, "gas guzzlers" will have to pay £25 a day to drive in inner London. Anyway, a study commissioned by Land Rover (for obvious reasons) reckons that the Mayor's plan to give A and B-class cars a free ride could add an extra 10k cars to London's traffic and "contribute to global warming" (way to stick the boot in).

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Safe as milk Safe as milk on Dec 11, 2007

    gee, a newspaper owned by libertarian lunatic murdoch is reporting that congestion taxes suck. well, more buses and fewer cars sounds good to me. the point of a congestion tax isn't to make things easier for car commuters, it's to make a city more livable for its residents. please, please, bring a congestion tax to new york. and yes, i am a car owner.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 11, 2007

    I miss interpreted the percent of the charges as being paid by government employees instead of being paid to them. Come to think of it, that wouldn't likely be possible. Still it would be funny.

  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on Dec 11, 2007
    You seem to be of the mistaken impression that all city transport policy is supposed to benefit drivers. Very good point! When you have THOUSANDS of pedestrians crossing streets in every direction it is actually the relatively few cars (compared to the pedestrians)that are intefering with the flow of "people" traffic. I was born and raised in NYC, yet for the majority of my life I lived in an area of NYC were NO commerical traffic was allowed. Plain and simple, No Trucks, Buses, or commerical vehicles of any kind unless they were there to deliver something or do work. So as we can see there have always been traffic and vehicular restriction in New York. What is so different about restricting the types of vehicles that enter the most conjested parts of our cities?
  • Stein X Leikanger Stein X Leikanger on Dec 11, 2007

    It takes a year. When city toll rings are established around major metropolitan areas (and I pass one every day) it takes a year for peoples' habits and expectations to accommodate to it. During the course of that year, people reexamine their use of the car, consider what other kind of car to purchase when times come to trade in the one they have, and generally adapt and adopt. It's way too soon to tell as far as London is concerned -- particularly as the Brits don't really like being told what to do ... but the traffic situation in London is so abominable that any improvement will be received with gratitude.