Congestion Charge ripping of locals

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Monday 17 February 2003 5.09pm
I am a resident within the zone. I have applied for the resident's discount (at a cost of 10 pounds). I work most week days in the year, but occasionally want to use the car one day in a week (such as today).

I phoned to pay my 50 pence charge for the day, but am told that, due to "administrative costs", I have to buy 5 consecutive days' permits. Clearly, I will not use the other 4 days' permits. So, instead of a 90% discount which I should have, I receive only a 50% discount. This is clearly wrong.

Why the minumum payment? Why do the days have to be consecutive? Are they trying to incentivise me to use my car 5 days a week rather than one? This seems perverse.

There must be many others in this position. Surely it should be possible to pay a minimum amount and use those days over the course of the year, rather than consecutively. It seems a cynical way to be extracting more money from local residents. Is there anything we can do about this?
Tuesday 18 February 2003 2.43am
Hello Foxy

I had heard about this and as far as I know the reason for the minimum payment is as you say "administrative costs", I think that means that if you could buy a days car use for 50p it would cost more to administer than 50p but if you spend 10 then it covers the costs of registering you.

You are right, it might encourage you to use your car every day at the relatively cheap cost of 2 a day, or possibly you might reckon that it was only worth buying for one day and spending the full 5 because you think you won't use the other 6 days thereby saving you the other 5, you could also, spend the 10 and then drive up and down constantly getting maximum benefit from the 90% discount with a tannoy blaring "down with Ken" from the windows of your car, though I think that would be silly and I hope I have not incentivized you to do that.

Its a bit like that dilemma of whether to get a weekly travelcard and get the discount or just buy daily tickets as you need them.

Maybe as you suggest there could be a thing where you buy ten days and then the computer system knocks them off as you go, but it probably isnt configured to do this and might break if they stuck a bit of prgramming on that might do this.

I mean look at Capita and their administration record it isnt great is it ?

Incidentally Capita have an office on Borough High Street so if you do go for the blaring speakers option this might be a good location to try it at.

By the way isn't the housing benefit rubbish in Lambeth, they threaten to take you court if you are a bit late with your council tax but can we charge interest for late housing benefit ?

Can we muggeridge.

All the best

Wednesday 19 February 2003 10.19am
It does seem a bit unfair. I know several people who just use their car once a week to go to Tesco one only has to drive a few hundred yards inside the charge area.

Still at least you have your discount up and running. I'm paying full wack as TFL have got our car registartion wrong.
Wednesday 19 February 2003 2.07pm
I walk to Tesco's once a week as its only a few hundred yards inside the charge area, but I still live within SE1, so I figure I don't need a car for one day a week. Having a car for one day a week is uneconomical, its polluting the environment, its helping to exacerbate the asthma of our kids, and your demand for oil on which it runs is making a war against Iraq more likely.

All of you car-owning whingers should be ashamed of yourselves.

Ydoncha Walk

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