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Congestion Charging

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Friday 15 November 2002 9.48am

This was in response to another contributor who has continually 'forgotten' the enconomics of this debate. As my mail said there are indeed consequential costs, all those things you list and more. They are estimated at about 10billion at the top end. So the Balance sheet looks like the road user contributes about 10Billion to the exchequer. One of your points is another interesting one economically. Parking control in London is now a net contributor to most councils revenue. It makes more money than it costs to provide. A major reduction in car use in London would mean that, on a like for like basis, Councils would have to raise revenue in other ways, the main one being Council Tax. In fact it probably won't have that much effect in the short term but longer term, who knows.

I think some pedestrians would take issue with you about London being safer with more bikes... I'm in my car a lot and they scare me.

But seriously, as I said something needs to done, but is this the right something. It won't work for me, public transport will not meet my needs right now so I'll pay and drive. If I change my job or it gets better I might change my habit.

Finally, I've driven in London since I was 17, I started in an original Ford Popular and no one had thought of parking meters, and I don't mind it. It is frustrating sometimes, but the trains and tubes and buses are frustrating sometimes. And, anyone biking over the past few days probably deserves a medal...
Friday 15 November 2002 10.20am
Just as an aside ...

I was sitting opposite Ken on the Tube last Saturday. He was reading a pile of official looking papers. When he got up I saw that he had been reading a leaflet called something like "Your Guide to Congestion Charging".

Was he proof reading or is he a bit unsure what it all involves himself?
Saturday 16 November 2002 9.39am
David - I received a copy of the very same 'guide' in the post yesterday. It informed me that I was eligible for a 90% discount. Interesting, I thought. I don't live inside the zone. A quick call to TfL confirmed that it had been sent in error to a large number of non-eligible homes!

Oh dear oh dear .. the cock-up has started already ...
Sunday 17 November 2002 4.33pm
James darling, it's a free country, but 'free' isn't a licence to do illegal things. I suggest you terribly nice socialists get a grip on reality.

Message edited
Sunday 17 November 2002 4.38pm
Er, surely you are 'only' an anonymous email address? or am I missing something here
Monday 18 November 2002 4.09pm
Hello Again

1 I think those posters who have noticed the roadworks and think they may be lifted when the charge comes in may be on to something.

Roadworks in London have been going on since the 1980s when Ken was last in power. I think it is time for a long hard look at how far this conspiracy goes.

2 The 90% discount is misleading, apparently if it was any lower it would cost too much to adminstrate ( at least that is what the nice man said on the radio). Later after you have stopped using your car and started going by tube you might also consider walking to places that are quite near, but pace yourself on this.

3 I think that the "drivers are selfish" stereotype is interesting. I think that the majority of households use cars and so that it must be a bit of a surprise to be slagged off for this. It reminds me of "the trajedy of the commons idea", thing is that whatever problems with schemes to stop congestion the main problem is individuals (and believe me many of my best friends are individuals) using their cars, or throwing their fireworks or whatever the issue is.

Certainly I am no better than you but if I don't have a car and you do then I am going to tend to blame you for congestion. Sorry about that.

All the best

Wednesday 20 November 2002 9.57am
I too live on a private estate just outside the zone which unlike others nearby is not gated. I have to pay for the upkeep of not just the cleaning and gardening of where I live but for roads, pathways, fences and electricity for the street lighting too, in addition to council tax. The paths are open for the general public to walk through and many do taking their children to school and as a short cut to get to the buses. The Council have 'surveyed' only a small number of the residents where I live about the proposed controlled parking permits as a means of managing commuter parking and have reported back that the majority are in favour of them. No one I have spoken to is. Very few people even knew a survey had taken place. An article in the Southwark News highlighted this recently upon which Southwark and their consultants responded with 'couldn't possibly comment'. We are fortunate that our management company which represents both freeholders and tennants are threatening legal action against the council if they try to impose parking permit controls on any of our roads.

I dont understand why people from outside London can drive in, park and make local residents pick up the tab to subsidise their travel, why was the charging zone not extended out further to the areas where the commuters are actually coming in from to deter them from actually starting a car journey in the first place.

I do have a car and do use it for a number of reasons which no doubt some will find selfish. I work for a small charity doing outreach work, most of it on a voluntary basis beyond the hours covered by my salary, I have to ferry equipment about to people in their homes and our catchment area stradles the charging zone. I cannot afford to pay this charge neither can the charity, we are therefore closing down thus depriving yet more people who need support and human contact in an increasingly changing local and to them hostile local environment where their families, shops and support networks are disappearing fast.

I also suffer from arthritis in my hands but as I am still fit enough to walk more than 150 yards do not qualify for a disabled blue badge, the fact that my hands are deformed and I cannot bend my fingers to grip anything more than a light bag or close my hands to grip the rail on a bus or tube mean shopping and travelling on public transport are a nightmare and my car has become a lifeline for me to get and the people I work with.
Wednesday 20 November 2002 11.47am
Hello Carol

You sound like a prime candidate for exemption and I expect they are not being flexible, I bet you have tried all the possibilties but I at the risk of suggesting what you have already thought of have you considered carrying on the outreach work inside the zone (2.50 a week) if your charity can find a driver who lives in the zone or outside it (0.00) if they cannot.

Though to be honest I have to say that it actually sounds like the the rules for getting a disabled badge are too fixed in your case.

All the best

Monday 25 November 2002 10.24pm
Now that all the necessary paperwork is being sent to Residents!

If you register before 24th December you can waive the first year's registration charge of 10!!

But do you know that although we can get 90% discount i.e. 50p per day-
this can only be sold on a 5+ CONSECUTIVE DAY BASIS !!

Ok this is to save administration charges- but it means you have to use these on CONSECTUTIVE DAYS.......
If you work and need your car 1 day per week - it will cost you five days payments.!!
If you book one month supply of 50p's i.e. "20 - then get the flu in the middle two weeks and cannot get to work - you loose the money.


Also if you live WITHIN the Zone and stay in the zone , and only drive within the zone without crossing the boundaries YOU STILL PAY!!!!!

WHAT !!!!!!!

B Emmerton
Monday 25 November 2002 11.27pm

Yes - these points have been raised and yes they are stupid - I've tried to argue the point about marginal cost pricing on numerous occassions and others have complained about the issues of mobility / helping out disabled people within the zone. The consultation was appalling and there was no reply to the letters I wrote highlighting my concerns regarding the way the charge would be implemented. I would suggest you write to TfL / Mayor and continue voicing your grievences - I have.

Ultimately I think that the problem is we have become embroiled to some extent in a car=bad and foot/bike=good debate - both in the forum and in the wider discussion. We all know its never as cut and dried, and I think some of the issues re: mobility / charities / voluntary work / infirm etc have highlighted why this could turn out to be a very punitive, ill-considered further tax on Londoners.
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