January 17, 2003
Pay up and stop complaining

Drivers should pay up and stop complaining. You tell 'em, Natasha!

A bit of background for non-Brits, well, non-Londoners, perhaps: London's roads are grinding to a halt. There is no room for any more roads, so public transport is the only answer. (Well, that and more bikes.)

In order to drive people off the road and onto public transport, London's Mayor, Ken Livingston, is introducing a 'congestion' charge, i.e. a charge for driving a car into central London. Naturally, drivers are up in arms about this.

I might say that I've lived in London for all but a couple of years of my life, and I've always found public transport perfectly adequate. And yes, I do have children.

Posted to The Big Room by Simon Brunning at January 17, 2003 09:39 AM

I'm not 100% convinced on congestion charging, after all some of the reasons that London's traffic is currently grinding to a halt are the deliberate inefficient phasing of traffic signals and all the roadworks - both of which will vanish (as if by magic) on the day that congestion charging starts.

With such a skewed playing field it's going to be very difficult to prove (for either side) whether congestion charging has really been a success.

Posted by: Jim Hughes on January 21, 2003 05:09 PM

I'm not suggesting that Congestion charging is perfect. But doing nothing just isn't an option, and there isn't the money for anything else. And never will be - people simply won't vote for taxes.

I've not heard about this 'deliberate inefficient phasing of traffic signals' business, but I can't see roadworks disappearing, at any rate. And I don't believe for a moment that there is some conspiracy to deliberately cause congestion on London's street. It's just too X-Files.

I'd say that congestion charging will have been proved successful if it moves people from cars to public transport. Simple as that. If it raises some cash which gets used to improve public transport provision, so much the better.

Posted by: Simon on January 21, 2003 05:21 PM

I was against the 5 charge from the beginning,all it has done is remove people from London, away from small businessnes that are now starving alive. And its not just 5 is it. Most of the people going into london during the day are self-employed people exhausted from trying to stay alive in today's economy. I run a small corporate party planning company, that has been hit by the recession so badly that I have had to drop my prices to compete. The other day I was so exhausted I had fallen asleep whilst trying to get through to the congestion charging office for 35 mins. As a result I have to pay for 2 cars and a van @ 240 + 25% tax in order to earn that money in the first place takes it to 300. This is the 3rd time I have simply not be able to get through or simply forgotten and been charged. total 900 this month. So don't tell me its 5. I want a serious move to allow 7 days to pay the 5. I am not a criminal simply an incredibly busy person, who is worn out for the red tape and legislation being thrown at me from every single angle. I think I might just go on the dole get housing benefit and sit back. Where is the incentive to be self-sufficient Does Ken have to pay? Can I have the 12k allowance for mp's to have a secretary who will remember to pay for me? Congestion charge my arse its day light robbery they need more opperators answering our calls so we can get through and more 7 days to pay when we can;t.

Posted by: Sam O'Connor on May 19, 2003 01:08 PM

I went to london to buy 2000 records that were outside the congestion charge zone, but unfortunatley the road signs and street names seem to become more obscure or non existant the closer to the charge zone you get, and before you know it the road your on becomes a charge zone.
i for one am never going to go to london again

Posted by: Gordie on April 27, 2005 09:43 AM
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