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Stop the congestion charging scheme

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Friday 19 July 2002 11.53am
You might need to take the car and keep it moving so you don't have to pay the hiked parking charges they will have to introduce to pay for the people to police the parking restrictions they will have to introduce to stop commuters parking just outside the ring.(..sorry, that's a bit long, I did metalwork not punctuation)
I don't even think it's about raising money it's worse than that, it's the classic political game about confusing activity with achievement. They need to look like they are doing something.
The only thing Ken appears to have achieved recently is attending the sort of party that gets in the paper.
Saturday 20 July 2002 8.19pm
I live in Clapham South, outside the zone, and so there could be a greater demand for parking in my area. The good news is that every street is now a controlled parking zone and so they will need to park further out.

So, will I be able to cycle in to work in clean air bringing together the nostalgically empty roads of the 50s together with the smokeless zone? Sadly not, market forces always prevent such progress, it will simply shift the economics of the situation.
Saturday 3 August 2002 1.16pm
Well, the scheme is going ahead now, so all you selfish car-obsessed whingeing poujadistes might as well stop bellyaching about it.
I agree the zone isn't big enough and the charge is too small. But those are details that can be changed over time. It's the principle that is important. Let's see how it turns out and then judge.
Saturday 3 August 2002 1.22pm
Yeah. Good idea. And whilst we are at it, why don't we implement a load of other ill-conceived and planned legislation which causes untold costs to business, residents, the environment and tax payers across the board. Anyone fancy challenging the LU PPP with no real ambition to see it through at a cost few million again? Kenny - that sounds right up your street.

All I'm saying is: why not try to get things right in the first place for a changer than all the bluster. I know its urgent, but its like all things, proper preparation and planning prevents piss poor performance. Style over substance, that's the trouble with politics these days. Mind you, I suppose that's the trouble with all things.
Monday 5 August 2002 9.49am
Well Mr Temperton, first I don't think I'm obsessed or selfish and I'm not right wing and I don't recall whingeing. It would probably help if you were a little less strident. The facts are that London's transport infrastructure can't cope with the number of people that want to travel in and out. In fact the trains can't cope so much that the regulator wants to charge more for travel during busy times, I assume you support that. Also to increase the capacity more track will have to be laid either overground or underground. That includes schemes like knocking down places like bits of Borough Market, I assume you support that. I'll pay, I will have to pay, I live in SE16 and I work in Hemel Hempstead so I drive through London to get there. If I did it on public transport it would daily involve four trains two tubes and two taxis (there is no public transport that goes all the way). I already pay to live in MY city and if I thought this scheme would make life easier for Londoners I would support it and pay even more, but it won't. It is just a politcal experiment invented by some people who will be largely unaffected and if it goes badly wrong the only people who will pay will be Londoners.
Monday 5 August 2002 10.33am
Paul, i know i am showing my ignorance, wot's a poujadiste?
Tuesday 6 August 2002 7.25am

"The facts are that London's transport infrastructure can't cope with the number of people that want to travel in and out."

That will always be true of all city centres. It's what transport economists call latent or suppressed demand. If you do nothing about regulating the "supply", the "demand" is choked off purely by the congestion - more or less the present situation in London, in which all that deters even more people from attempting to drive into the city centre is the knowledge that they are likely to spend hours sitting in a traffic jam.

You must bear in mind that the vast majority of people entering central London do so by public transport. Many of these people are motorists but they leave their cars at home. The motorists who do drive in are quite a small minority but they are the ones creating all the problems. They are using a scarce and expensive public resource (urban road capacity) but not paying any more for it than all motorists (including the vast majority who don't drive in) are paying already.

The congestion charging scheme is an, admittedly very rough-and-ready, attempt to re Balance this state of affairs by pricing the "supply" in the hope of reducing the "demand". At the same time, it slightly reduces the unfairness of a small number people helping themselves to a scarce resource which all of us are indirectly paying for.

In this light 5 pounds a day seems a rather token amount but it's better than nothing.

You ask me if I approve of knocking down bits of Borough Market. I assume you are referring to the Thameslink 2000 scheme. Yes, I am very much in favour of that. It's one of the instances where rail capacity can be very significantly increased without building new lines, merely by removing a couple of bottlenecks (the other main one on that line being Kings Cross Thameslink station).

Of course, people who work in Hemel Hempstead can always consider moving to Hemel Hempstead. One of the underlying social/cultural problems is that people have come to expect that where they live need bear no relation to where they work, and that society in general somehow has a duty to provide them with a means of bridging the gap.
Tuesday 6 August 2002 11.24am
Well, lots of words but no insults, so we may be making progress. Some of what you say is not wrong. However, you seem to be saying that the current situation is self regulating, those prepared to sit jams, drive and those not prepared to, don't. If that is true why not leave it to sort itself out?
On one of your other points, it was my understanding that road users of all varieties, cars, motorbikes, lorries etc, are net contributors to the exchequer. There is more money contributed in various taxes by most road users than is spent on the road infrastructure, no non road user contributes to the road infrastructure. There are certainly other considerations here, including resource usage, but that is a different debate.Your point about all motorists paying but not all using to the same extent is absolutely right, but that goes for all public services. I hope you are not suggesting that we all pay the real cost of all services at point of use...!
I think some of the people worried about Borough Market may have a different view about the ThamesLink scheme but let them deal with that.
I could consider moving to Hemel but in this day and age job mobility is a fact of life and I may not be working there nextr year, who knows? And anyway I like living in my city. I was born here and I wnat to stay. However, it raises an interesting point: do you suggest that all those hundreds of thousands who like to live in Kent, Sussex, Surrey Berkshire etc should find work there and not in London. Its an interesting thought, we could then stop all of us, and that does mean all of us, funding the billions going into the rail network - probably not.
Tuesday 6 August 2002 9.24pm
I think driving cars in the centre of town is a bit silly really.

Amazed to hear that the road infrastructure is paid for entirely by road users.

Wow, but would that include all the police and ambulance services that are vital to making it work too ?

Do they count as part of the infrastructure ?
Tuesday 6 August 2002 9.37pm
No. I'd imagine that comes out of the other ridiculously high taxes we have to pay vs. the rest of Europe (fuel duty, VAT @ 17.5%, booze, fags, income tax, council tax, etc). I guess that some culprits as the main free-riders on the police and ambulance service could include football clubs (10K for a few hundred coppers for an afternoon seems a bit cheap) and.... dare I say it - cyclists - no tax, no fuel duty, hardly any VAT (in absolute terms) when they buy a bike - and regrettable as it is, they get knocked down too.

I agree that driving in town is a bit daft - I tend to walk whenever possible as the tube is nasty - but we must be careful in all this knee-jerk policy-making.
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