The Congestion charge could only ever work in a few cities

With Manchester being given the all clear to proceed with plans for a congestion charge, it brings in to the open that only one other city has expressed a clear and definite interest in joining London in having a congestion charge.

There is, the aspect of political self interest. Any council, and party, likely to introduce a congestion charge will see the fate that befell Ken Livingstone and will no doubt take heed. This is going to be the biggest disincentive of all. But there are more important issues.

Manchester has more than one public transport network, with the city being bless with the Metrolink light railway "tram" system, in addition to buses. This means Manchester commuters have more choices and Manchester itself has more avenues through which to channel the cash they will receive from motorists. But what of other cities ?

Cambridge has applied to the government to introduce a charge. However apart from buses and their park and ride system, there are few alternatives. The same could be said of virtually every other town and city in the UK except for a handful.

So in truth, even if you are a fan of congestion charging, in reality it is a non starter for most of the country and always will be.


Letters From A Tory said...

The congestion charge is a clumsy, punitive tool that doesn't actually raise any money thanks to the stupid financial arrangement that chew up the revenue through ridiculous operating costs and the private sector talking half the cash up front.

Bill Quango MP said...

"If Ken had asked people to throw 20p into a bucket every time they drove in central London, he would have made more money - and that includes the cost of collecting the buckets."

I don't know if that's true, but it is a good comment.

And as someone who traveled across Kew Bridge every day for 8 years I timed the lights pre congestion. They were red for around 45 seconds and green for 15 seconds.
Post congestion 30 seconds red, 30 seconds green.

Its amazing what you will do when you're waiting 15 minutes at a junction