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Congestion Charging

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Current: 16 of 21
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.29pm
Yes, you may technically have the "right", but my point is that this "I will drive my car if I want to and to hell with the traffic jams, noise and pollution" attitude really isn't going to get us anywhere.

As to the people who say "I will get out of my car when they do something about public transport" again, it's a cop out. People need to take action for themselves, not wait for someone else to do something.

I'm not saying don't have a car (though I wouldn't want one living in SE1), but if you must have one, use it responsibly. Too many people don't.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.33pm
James

Unfortunately whilst your utopian view of respectability and moral hazard is an admirable principle to live by, many people (and particularly profit-focused corporations) don't think the same way. That's why I think it is so important to structure a charging system that actually regulates against people who will take advantage. 5 a day, flat-rate, drive as much as you want - don't do that. That was my point.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.45pm
jrhartley, I don't necessarily disagree with your main point.

I just find that a lot of the opposition to the congestion charge is very muddled.

You've made a good point why the implementation may be flawed, but many who oppose congestion charging are hysterical with their talk of "kengestion" and "Red Ken=Red Lights" etc, and I think shoot themselves in the foot with the lack of any credible alternative.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.48pm
James - yes I'd agree with all of that, but I won't be made to feel that by choosing to drive my car I am some anti-social pariah. Most motorists that I know try to strike a Balance between what is right socially and ecologically, and what is practical, comfortable and safe. Since moving to SE1 I have bought a smaller and more economical car, and if my journey by train/bus is practical then that is how I travel. I'm doing my bit, it might not be enough for you, but I feel good about it.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.52pm
Absolutely! If the intention is to stop people driving to London then it will be a miserable failure. I suggest that the traffic inside the M25 will be exactly the same as it was before any charging is applied. The only thing that will happen is there will be a reduction in traffic inside the charging ring and the vehicles that make up that reduction will be driving just outside the ring. This will have the opposite effect that everyone wants, the buses will probably have more trouble getting around just outside. The problem with the mechanism as described is that no matter how much you charge it will not stop people driving from the home counties into London. They will just stop a little short and get on public transport, funded in part by the way, by GLA council tax precept payers.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.52pm
Agreed. I think some of the anger and bluster that many of us feel re: congestion charging (myself included) is largely attributable to the poor consultation process. I wrote two or three letters in - all of which received a standard response which left me thinking that it was a fait accompli (both the charging system - fine in my books; and the method - not acceptable in my opinion). I expect the questionable ethics of Ken to date (PPP stalling / 4m+ in legal fees wasted, striking his girlfriend in public) combined with this approach to consultation has annoyed a few people in London. But you're right - there's no point complaining unless you suggest an alternative. I'd rather see the congestion charging system implemented a bit more slowly but with electronic cards in car windscreens and charges per leg of your journey. This would act as a deterrent to any non-essential trips. The prices could then be altered throughout the day to choke off / stimulate demand as required - it would mean more money for the GLA (to put into transport alternatives), less admin to eat into the money raised, more reliable and easier for users. Yes it would take longer to set up, but if you're going to do something, do it right first time.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.55pm
doesn't anyone have any work to do? How do I untangle myself from this thread? These emails keep popping up interrupting my concentration.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.58pm
And another thing - how is it that the biggest lie that the government ever span seems to go unchallenged.... "if we build more roads - people buy more cars". Huh? Right - round numbers, 60m in UK, of which, say 20m can drive. So, what's going to happen if they double the width of the M4 - I'm going to get a special attachment to my 206 to allow me to drive a VW Golf simultaneously.... honestly - how that old chestnut has got through successive governments I'll never understand. Again - I'd suggest turnpikes (I think Greg Dyke wanted to do this but it was deemed too radical) - more motorway lanes, but charge tolls - like in Europe and some US states. That way you don't stiffle economic growth, but those who are making the trips need to assess if the price of the toll is worth the benefit of the trip.
Wednesday 13 November 2002 4.59pm
There's no automatic way to stop the updates, but if you want to stop them, email me at <james.hatts@banksidepress.com> and I'll change it.

James



Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Wednesday 13 November 2002 5.09pm
James,

I must be reading a different thread from you, the hysterical, insulting and downright rude outbursts on this subject are not from car drivers but from the other side of the debate.
I would say that on this thread the majority of people have not opposed the concept just the implementation and the scope. Unfortunately the mayor hasn't done himself any favours, even the new Lord Mayor has repeated the charge that they have fixed the lights in Central London in order to unfix them later to show a result.
Current: 16 of 21

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