I have a big fat 2.5 litre BMW. I can not only afford it myself, but my company also pays me a hefty amount to keep it anyway. When it costs £2.50 to drive around Central London for a week I will charge it to work. Therefore, I just wonder if the only benefit of congestion charging will be to make it easier for me, and people like me, to do exactly that... I'd be interested to hear your views.
I think we covered this before (see my pieces re: marginal cost vs. fixed cost pricing - and James Hatt's reply about people adopting a more responsible attitude, and follow-ons, etc). But in short, yes, I think the nature of the fixed (and not variable) charge will have precisely that effect.
I drive to work in Guildford everyday after rush hour (9.30am outward bound and 7pm homeward) I will never use public transport again after nearly losing 2 contracts in the past because of late arrival at meetings due to delays and cancellations on trains. In the last few weeks the traffic has become increasingly worse.
It took 4 and a half hours to get home on a Friday night a few weeks ago due to some bright spark deciding to close Vauxhall Bridge. There was not one policeman at a junction directing traffic, or giving info to help people avoid the area. I counted 17 busses empty and stationary along St Georges Road SE1...they sat in the same position for nearly 2 hours. people were taking photos!!
This morning I sat in traffic at 9.45am, two blocks from home for half an hour due to the closure of Trinity Road SE1. A policeman was stationed there to stop motorists going through the no entry sign, as were two members of the council, as I found out after stopping to ask what the hell was going on. The council officers informed me that this was an experiment....due to the complaints from local residents, of cars using Trinity Street..... which is not a suitable throughfare as cars can't easily pass due to the narrow street.
The only reason Trinity Street is used is because the council have closed the square and all other roads around it. I mentioned this to the officers to which I got a shrug of the shoulders and two blank looks.
Can someone please tell me what is going on? By closing roads in the area they have caused chaos. Is this being done purposely to 'advertise' the need for the congestion charge?
I have just applied for my resisdents discount, as I do actually think the charge will work, but why do residents have to pay at all? It's nearly doubled my road tax....plus my resident parking permit of £75 and the rise in fuel tax.
Sorry for the rant but it seems we're being governed by idoits. Making car ownership more expensive will not stop people owning cars.
Thanks for reading.
Martin - I think you're right. I'd not be surprised if there were some significant back-handers between Murphy Construction et al and Southwark Council - the "Union Street" upgrade is going to introduce some one-way sections, some trees, etc. and Murphy's getting just over £1m for the mess they are making of that. Do we really need 50 meter wide pavements - I mean - who are we expecting is going to turn up? Everyone? And why are these contractors allowed to keep roads like Union Street blocked for so long just so they can put port-a-loos and their materials in the middle of the road? What was wrong with the flow on Union Street anyway - I never had any problems, and I didn't see too many pedestrians getting knocked down before.
I saw this in Fulham when I used to live there - experiment with junction changes at huge local tax-payer expense, contractors benefit, then 12 months later they benefit again as they dig up what they put down as it's fouled the whole flow up. I wrote to Simon Hughes about all this a year ago, but after numerous letters back and forth to the council and him, nothing happened. Familiar feeling.
Well, last night we had a taste of what the approaches to E&C will be like post-Feb 17 when everyone is using the perimeter road. It took me 3 hours to get to Searles Road from the Walworth Road, via OKR and NKR!!!!
I read on internet that the coaches were picking up revolting students, sorry students whos were protesting about fees....so the coaches were the cause of the delay?.....plus the 'essential' roadworks that should have been carried out at the week-end......far sooner than december 2002....
If congestion charging raises money for public transport, disuades a few people from drving in the zone and creates havoc for those trying to skirt round it then job done! It might just prompt people to consider an alternative mode of transport. As for going to Guildord and other places outside the city - why dont people go by train? It's quicker, they could sell their cars and cause less pollution. You can work or read or whatever whilst you're on it rather than getting stressed and filling the air with noxious gases.