If someone said 'it was compulsory' to buy your teeny tiny electric car and plug it in every night if you wanted to travel to central London regularly...
I'd do it like a shot...
I would be happy to convert my engine?
But don't charge me £25 a week...that makes my blood boil.
Never going to use public transport from as far South as I come every day as it would take at least 2 hours and
a) I would catch a permanent cold (thousands of commuter bugs)
b) I would be endangering my life (muggings/and bus/train/pedestrian rage) (not to mention the South London crazies and criminals)..Husband has at least one experience of these difficulties every week.
c) It's cold, dark, rainy...
d) I like my car so there and I think others like theirs too.
e) I would cycle but you are also risking your life with that one..(I have a friend who's daughter was killed this way and another who's daughter was severly injured an air helicoptered out of the SE1 area!)...
So the issue is...if people like to drive...give them a greener option...stop telling them that 'driving itself' is a sin! Because its not...
Have you ever driven through sunrise on Waterloo bridge, with the Thames flowing below and the millenium wheel on your left and St Pauls in the distance on your right... with your music blaring...and the wind in your hair...?
You\'re so right, if cars (not to mention lorries and buses) were greener, then most of the problem would be solved! I can totally understand rejecting public transport in it\'s present state, Ken\'ll be so so wrong to put in the charge without radically improving public transport first.
But, don\'t forget if you convert you\'re car to LPG (not to be confused with electric) you will be exempt from Congestion charge, will save money (at half the price of unleaded, the cost of conversion will pay for itself in a few months) and will not notice much difference in performance (or do you drive a Lotus?), esp, since apparently the average speed is now under 10mph!), and we can all breathe that little bit easier (sigh!)
There are quite a few LPG gas stations in south london, so it really is the ideal solution, - shame the gov\'t don\'t publicise this a bit more (something to do with back-handers from enron, possibly! ahem)
Isn't it possible that it would cost you more to buy an electric car and charge it up than to pay daily fees/annual congestion charge? Congestion charging seems reasonable compared to your suggestion, which would only be possible for those with enough spare cash!
I noticed the old chestnut about polluting buses, trams and taxis came out in the debate on ken's poster, but I think you cannot reasonably compare one car to one bus/tram/taxi. I think you have to divide the polution caused by the number of people carried. I tend to think buses/trans/taxis would then do rather better than cars.
Being able to drive around is a great freedom, but like all freedoms if everyone does it in a small space then the pleasure is lost. The discussion traffic jams in the morning would suggest something does have to be done. In central London, wider roads and more car parks are not really an option if you're going to have space for workplaces, shops, old buildings etc. (Happy to see Buck Palace rased and turned into a car park though). Doing things about delivery times and roadworks are only ever going to ameliorate the problem; not solve it.
There have been moans about the poor old motorist being bashed, but as you have said yourself public transport is not currently up to scratch, In other words it is public transport users who always get bashed, not motorists. One positive thing about congestion charging is that the money will go to improving public transport. One day you might even be happy to use it!
In the meantime there has to be some sort of system to get a better match between the number of vehicles and limited roadspace. I don't think it is acceptable to restrict emergency vehicles, buses, taxis or delivery vans. That leaves private cars. I know you don't want to hear this but a private car (as long as there is an alternative, no matter how crap) will always be a luxury.
The only alternative I can see is requiring people, like you, who drive to work to have a licence to come to central London, which gave you a reduced fee if you worked in central london, lived a certain distance away (making a car the best way to get in), had a catalytic converter, carried a friend in with you etc. This would be bureaucratic though, which is I guess why the simple charge system is being thought about.
As you've probably guessed I don't drive. So I'm off for lots of G and Ts.
Just got back all red cheeked and happy from a cracking good game of badminton to two lovely messages on this Board. So firstly thank you very very much for taking my concerns/questions/intrigues seriously and responding to them so thoroughly. You are smashing!
All your points are very digestible (but I'll digest them better after my sandwiches) and given time to give your ideas the attention they deserve.
You are right of course, if the money was fed into the system in the right ways even I could get to enjoy public transport (at least I would get to look at the chaps in suits on the train in the morning)...! Dooh...sorry sometimes that happens...
Only one immediate response David is that yes, buying an electric car would cost just as much as the charge but its the principle of the thing isn't it...it just hits a nerve..and makes me go purple..and stamp alot.
(But also I would like a futuristic pod type of machine that magicked me across town..)..
Also it must be said that I already have a catalytic converter and I carry my friend with me to work every day (ie. husband) and I've been known to car pool...but keep it to yourself as I'm not really a morning person!. Grrrr....
Not sure about luxuries in a small space being lost (as most mornings I eat my croissant in the lift before I get in and its VERY pleasurable). Finar Finar..
Gosh, so you want to see the Palace raised to the ground (or however you spell it)....Now that reminds me of another topic!
Thanks very much...
Lots to think on..
By the way, G and T's are only allowed to be drunk if you are in possession of a flourishing and colourful wig.
I think this LPG thing rings a faint and distant bell....so I MUST investigate this further.
This sounds like a FABULOUS idea! Excellent. Can't even believe its a real option really....
I thought it was £25 a week or be damned...
I'm all for contributing to 'green' concepts but I just love my car to abandon it completely...so am very happy to convert my engine.
Glad this came up on this topic as others will learn from it, as I have done.
Thank you very much indeed for this.
I appreciate the information very much...and now I'm all happy and bright eyed and bushey tailed.
Over and out.
New green motorist.