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Congestion Charging

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Friday 6 December 2002 10.33am
David Whitaker Wrote...
"As for going to Guildord and other places outside the city - why dont people go by train? It's quicker"

i'm a student in portsmouth, my home is in Letchworth (hertfordshire) Letchworth was built as a commuter town in 1904 at that time by horse and carrage it took 40 min's to get to london, today as i travel down to uni it still takes 40mins and longer to get to london, it is not quicker, if i drive it takes me 2hours (in a fiat panda) to get to portsmouth, if i go by train half my journy time is taken getting to waterloo, from which it usually takes 2 hours to get to portsmouth.
Today trains can go fast (france TGV) our trains could go fast but the infrastructure cant cope with it, the tracks are not stable or straight enough. thats why people dont take trains.

as for the congestion charging, i just dont think it will work.
city job = good money = big car+nice house in suburbia+disposible income
the charge would be a nothing fee to the lether clad airconditioned comfort

its just a thought i might be wrong?
Friday 6 December 2002 10.56am
My thoughts on the rail issue... I used to commute to London from Haslemere - about 30 miles south of Guildford on the same line in 1994/5. At that stage I was earning not very much, but the ticket cost me 75 a week (5 days), and I still had to drive to Haslemere station as provinical bus services don't work and not everyone lives next to a railway station (there aren't that many of them in the sticks thanks to Dr. Beeching).

Then, despite getting on a train at Haslemere before 7am, I had to stand in the corridor for the full 53 minute journey pretty much every day. Staff were typically rude and unsympathetic when you mentioned the poor conditions (understandably - why do they care?). I got the train back to Haslemere the other evening, and again, short train, no seats. I'm not saying its always like this, but during the hours that people are commuting, maybe as its unpleasant is the reason people don't use the train. That, and the unrelaibilty element (see above about the self-employed guy who lost two contracts due to delays on the train).
Friday 6 December 2002 11.29am
Untill the trains are cheaper and are run in a more professional manner, I will be using my car...I won't be holding my breath either.

Do people really expect us to pay insurance and road tax to leave the car parked 5 days a week? I cannot afford to be late for work, and I won't be left standing on a freezing platform for hours every week while some BR 'employee' gives me some lame excuse.....again. I use the trains and tubes occationally on my days off....it shocks me everytime I buy a ticket how expensive it is....we're being ripped off.

I travel an hour after rush hour during the week....although in the last few weeks rush hour seems to be all day...and all night. There are road works everywhere in SE1 blocking lanes...mostly without a workman in sight. I think the idea of charging the companies who do the work a fee for everyday the road is blocked, is a very good idea. Money has to be raised to improve London's transport system.

They should be advertising train and tube fare cuts at the same time as the congestion charge. Go on Ken stick your neck out further, you know you want to :o)
Friday 6 December 2002 2.13pm
Have to get involved now! - I too do the Guildford reverse commute; from Clapham for the best part of 18 months and now from Waterloo for the last year.

I started from Clapham by car and couldn't make 9 o-clock starts with regularity and so negotiated a 10pm start. Most of the time this was ok but I would still get hit once or twice per month (too many) by jams that put me back by between half-an-hour and hour (sometimes more). So I looked at public transport, the problem I found from Clapham was with getting to the Junction, I could walk there in 35 mins or get the bus, but the bus (G1) was just too unreliable and the walk's ok but is a drag to do every day, especially if the weather is poor.

Once at the Junction, the trains weren't too bad to be honest, not especially clean or on time but as long as I didn't aim for the 'last' train it was ok.

But overall the whole thing was a drag so I've moved to Southwark/Waterloo area - now I can walk to Waterloo in under 15 minutes and catch a fast train to Guildford, whole journey time should be about an hour door to door.

Not infrequently, trains are delayed etc. but again as long as I'm not aiming to get the last possible train, that if on time will get me to work 30secs before I start, it's ok as the trains are scheduled to run frequently.

Some of the trains are still grotty, but gradually we're seeing more and more nice new ones. I'm going against the general flow of people so I always have plenty of room. I can read stuff and that means I don't feel like I'm wasting 2-3 hrs a day commuting anymore.

It's not all smelly roses of course, the train is not cheap (15 per day return) and the return journey can be bad after about 6.20pm when the trains seem to disappear and slow to 20mph - but overall I think it's worth it, but then I can manage to do this and still keep my car....

Why I keep the car I can come back to when someone has a pop, but the main point I wanted to make is still to come:

As I commute out of London, at Waterloo and Clapham I see the inbound trains.....and they can only be described as cattle trucks. I've been to India and laughed over the way the Indians manage to fit so many people into a train carriage - well my friends, the South West Trains commuters would be able to teach them a few new tricks! At Waterloo people fairly 'pop' out of the carriages, they've been so crammed in - I'm sure cattle would not actually be allowed to be transported in such conditions!

So to my point.

If congestion charging is to reduce cars in London, then people from Guildford etc are presumably to get trains instead. There is not enough room on the trains into London now, so what are they going to do?

I'm ok (Jack) I can manage with the trains and bearing in mind my route I'll give it the thumbs-up over the car, which more and more I can't abide to use in rush-hour London (that's most of the day now).

But for things to get better: Congestion charges, reduced fairs?, increased train capacity are all good things to help alleviate the problem but why not distribute the workplace - why's everyone got to work in London anyway?
Friday 6 December 2002 5.02pm
because that's where more / better jobs / careers and money is. The majority wouldn't get the same well paid job in Guildford town centre now would they ? You must be the lucky one.
Tuesday 10 December 2002 11.15am
Stiofan wrote:

"If congestion charging is to reduce cars in London, then people from Guildford etc are presumably to get trains instead. There is not enough room on the trains into London now, so what are they going to do?"

They've already said what they will do. The Regulator has already said that the only way to manage the pressure on rail capacity will be to premium price it when demand is high - the fares will go up for commuters.
Tuesday 10 December 2002 1.14pm
So we need to change policies to distribute jobs more evenly throughout the country!

Maybe that's what they're starting to do - make it harder for people to get to London central to work by pricing them out etc., so forcing employers to create jobs in other areas!!

Easy!
Sunday 15 December 2002 5.11pm
Scarey. I just read (Cross River Partnership website) that Phase 1 ends in January 2003 and then PHASE 2 starts. Doesn't finish till autumn 2003. Plus Phase 1 was only initially supposed to take 6 months.

I too commute outwards. Try and find flexible working hours in this area. Arranged it so my kids school was on the way to work and on a bus route. And when my four year old is a bit bigger they can walk or cycle. Trouble is it involves going through Vauxhall. After three years of happily (maybe) using the bus I have given up. All available buses are in a traffic jam and so a ten minute journey can involve up to an hours wait and then a further hour sitting on the bus. So another car on the road and my kids amuse themselves by waving at white vans and Post Office vehicles. What are the schools like in Penrith?
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