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  1. #1
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    London to charge toll on private motorcars !!!

    I just saw this on the news...

    Traffic has gotten so bad in London that the city has decided to impose a toll charge on driving. The city will use cameras to take photographs of the liscense plate and then mail a bill for $8 to the owner.

    Other cities, including NewYork, are watching to see if the plan is sucessful.
    Last edited by cycletourist; 02-16-03 at 10:01 PM.

  2. #2
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    There have been quite a few posts on this in the past. Many from me. The congestion charging will be an interesting concept. There are people who are going to activly try and fight it. I thank Ken Livingston (who I think is carless) for having the balls to step up with this. There are always people who claim that they need a car. But really the public transportation is really good and can be used instead. Some people are just too attached to their cars where they are not needed, like inside a large city.

    It takes effect tomorrow. So watch for reports Monday night or tuesday morning.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    We receive a French channel on our satellite. We saw this story tonight.. Think the charge was like 8 pounds for entering a certain zone... I remarked about this last fall after returing from Singapore. To enter the Central Zone, you have to pay like $5 just to drive within the zone.. There it is monitored by a transponder... Automatically goes on a charge card. In effect during prime traffic times.
    I predict this will be the wave of the future everywhere.. Several Londoners were interviewed stating there is bike commuting in their futures..
    I like the way the Mayor Of Paris, France handled it. He just eliminated traffic lanes for automobiles and only allowed bicycles within those lanes that had formerly been earmarked for cars..

  4. #4
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    OK, Here's the lowdown, along with some of my mumblings...

    Actually the scheme is slightly more complex. The cameras are there to check number (licence) plates for driver that have not paid. You must pay the £5 in advance each day or in multiples. If you're caught without paying you are liable to a fine of £80!

    What's more, someone at the control centre pressed "the button" too early and several fines were posted out before the scheme started. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but I'm glad I don't need to drive anywhere nere London....

    Of course the authorities chose the first day of our school half term holiday to launch the scheme, so it makes the rush hour traffic problem look much better than normal - and so we're all supposed to think that charging works!

    Of course real statistics for the effectiveness of this plan will be much swathed in political spin. Not least because on the TV and radio this morning it was stated that other UK cities are looking at making similar charges for car access. Of course, if it really worked to reduce traffic, as opposed to being a cash cow I would be right behind such a scheme. However, I suspect it has been carefully priced to ensure a healthy number of car drivers do not change their habbits. We'll see.
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

  5. #5
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    Ok, I agree- there has to be a way to control traffic. But to spy on people and impose on their privacy by using videocameras seems a bit creepy....

    I saw a news report earlier this year about an ex-cop who developed a clear spray that you could spray on your license plates. It would cause create a glaze that would cause a glare if the cameras took pictures of your license plates. It was pure genius...

    I'll be bringing my bike, but if I decide to rent a car in London, I'm bringing the spray!

    Koffee

  6. #6
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    I had to rent a car to move some stuff out of town. The only rental place I could find that day was right in the centre; collecting and returning the car was a nightmare. The idea of driving in London is sheer madness.
    80% of commuters, rich and poor, use public transport. Of the other 20%, some are disabled, some need to carry stuff, but most simply cannot concieve of any other mode of transort. Ken is forcing them to think outside the box.

    The media response is surprising. Some of the right-wing press is in favour of charging (capitalist market pricing instead of communist rationing and queing). The mid-market press is rabidly anti-charging, and looking for failure any way they can.

  7. #7
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    This sounds to be a broader attempt at what we already have in CA. A section of toll lanes between Octy/LActy and Riverside Cty, had been constructed by a pvt concern with state support some years ago. The idea was, if a driver elected to pay for a faster commute he could choose the toll lanes with rates as high as $4 one way.

    What the bright ones didn't evaluate was those living in Riverside Cty, do so because they can't afford housing in Octy or Lacty. Consequently, they can't afford a commute cost of $8rt during rush hour and as low as 1.50rt during non-rush hour.

    Cal Trans just purchased the state sponsored toll road from the pvt concern, because it wasn't profitable. Now, the state which is in the hole to the tune of 35B is trying to figure out what they can do with it.

    We also have a few toll road where one can pay before entering through a toll booth. Or, as I did, buy a transponder and a camera takes a picture of my vehicle as I entering the lanes. Each time I enter the toll roads, my toll bank of $60 is debited a charge and automatically replenishes itself by charging my CC
    I'll be interested to learn how it works.
    Last edited by Guest; 02-17-03 at 10:06 AM.

  8. #8
    member Yo MikeOK's Avatar
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    I can't imagine anywhere having more toll roads than OK. It works pretty well actually, we can buy a "pikepass" which is a tiny little radio transmitter that you carry in your car. You keep a balance in your account, and every time you drive a toll road it duns your account for the fee, which is usually less than the cash price if you go through the gates. We end up with better roads, a 75 MPH speed limit, and the construction is MUCH faster than on a normal highway. There are always alternate routes that are free, but way more traffic and less maintenance. It's choice- the American way...

  9. #9
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    Londons congestion charging.

    Seems to have got off to an exellent start, first day in.
    Listening to interviewers on the radio stopping people in the steets and asking there opinion and reaction to the event .
    Most seemed delighted with comments such as "is`nt it great to breath in the air and walk along without cars everwhere".
    Up till now statistics point towards a 30% reduction in vehicles entering the zone.
    Way to go! now lets up a simarlar system everywhere.

  10. #10
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    I live in London, and work in the City.

    The total lack of traffic in the center of London had to be seen to be believed today. Not being a regular car commuter (maybe 2-3 times a year) I'm mostly in favour of the congestion charging.

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out, as an earlier post said other cities are watching the London toll to see how it works.

    To give the Americans an idea, it would mean sealing off the whole of Manhattan island and then charging every car and delivery van US$ 8.50 to enter.

    On top of this you will need to pay $5.00 for a gallon of fuel,
    $18-30 to park for the day, road tax is $200 a year and insurance well over $1,000 a year even for a basic model, it becomes very expensive to drive a car in a European city

    Te good news is all the money raised by the toll will be put back into public transport and improving things like cycle lanes across london

  11. #11
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    I applaud Mayor Livingston's brains and chutzpah in trying this, and hope it spreads to the US. If people want privacy, let 'em walk, ride bikes, or take the bus.

  12. #12
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ed Holland
    Of course the authorities chose the first day of our school half term holiday to launch the scheme, so it makes the rush hour traffic problem look much better than normal - and so we're all supposed to think that charging works!
    Ken Livingston actually pointed this out on LDN BBC One news and said that it would be at least mid-March before any real numbers could be compiled to see if the scheme was a success or not. There was no attempt at decption for using the first day of the school holiday.
    http://www.cyclistsroadmap.com/eng/ - Cyclists' road map. Checkout which roads are good for cycling and rate roads in your area.

  13. #13
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Like's been mentioned already, the cost of 5 GBP is not so steep that it will act as a complete deterrent as people will find it an acceptable amount and over time, they'll grudgingly, but will resign themselves to paying it. The big penalties involved should stimulate a regular income and I hope KL and Bob Kylie will stand good to their word and use it to benefit public transport.

    London is an awful place to drive in. Even going by train and tube I find it unpleasant if you get the time wrong, but compared to the car, public transport despite its warts and all, does work quite well most of the time.

    Other cities/towns are looking at it with interest but I'm not convinced that it's motivated because of congestion but somewhere in the mind of a council/municipal accountant is a cash cow waiting to be milked.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  14. #14
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    Other cities/towns are looking at it with interest but I'm not convinced that it's motivated because of congestion but somewhere in the mind of a council/municipal accountant is a cash cow waiting to be milked.
    well, yes and no... cities do spend outrageous amounts of money for auto services: roads, traffic cops, emergency services, street cleaning, etc... and while a lot of the money may come from state or federal funds (i don't know much about London's finanacing) but if it is at all like the US, then city funds that are paid by local residents also pay a large share of services that suburban commuters get basically for free when they drive from their community into the city. up until now the only way for cities to recover some of these costs were through tolls and parking, but then only some roads are toll so the distribution is uneven and parking... well, again, some people find a way around it and it encourages illegal parking (plus ticketing enforcement is a major effort)

    i think the congestion charging is a great idea b/c
    1) it makes a more direct link between those using and those paying for the costs
    2) it makes these expenditures more visibile to the taxpayers
    3) as long as there is an effort to improve other services and provide opportunities for those who cannot afford the high costs (i.e. improving public transit or disabled-transit services), it should lead to an overall improvement in the quality of life by reducing pollution and congestion and encouraging walking and cycling and creating a safer, quieter, more pleasant city (rather than a traffic-ridden crawling parking lot of honking cars)

    i do think sme type of transponder system tied to a pre-paid account would be much more efficient... but mabye they'll offer that in the future.

    i do think that congestion pricing is something that we will see more of in the future... people want to drive and do more and more, there are ever-increasing associated costs to be paid, and traffic is an ever-increasing problem... there has to be some way to limit the number of cars and congestion pricing is in general better than some kind of quota or permit system. that it adversely affects the less wealthy is a side-effect that must be handled.
    why drive when you can ride?
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  15. #15
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    It will be interesting to follow how buses and the Tube in London can handle the increased number of people. I've visited London a couple of times a year for the last 7 years or so and to me it seems public transportation has been going downhill all that time (no pun intended).

    As a tourist I don't mind so much if my estimated travel time varies hugely. But I really don't know how the locals cope with all the delays. Hopefully the new system reduces traffic enough to enable the above-ground public transportation to run again. You can always hop off the bus if the traffic is bad, but I do hate being stuck in the Tube.

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  16. #16
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Brains
    Te good news is all the money raised by the toll will be put back into public transport and improving things like cycle lanes across london
    Heard that sort of thing before. That'll work as long as they use it in addition to, rather than instead of, the existing funding. (A US analogy is lottery money for education.)

    I think it's a good idea, but I wonder it it'll really reduce traffic that much, once people get over the initial shock. What about people who live in the core area? Do they get any special consideration?

  17. #17
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Originally posted by roadbuzz
    What about people who live in the core area? Do they get any special consideration?
    I seem to remember they get a 90% discount. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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  18. #18
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    yes 90% reduction is correct. there is also some provision for the disabled, i think.

    Hopefully the new system reduces traffic enough to enable the above-ground public transportation to run again. You can always hop off the bus if the traffic is bad, but I do hate being stuck in the Tube.
    i read that 200 police have been stationed for the sole task of ensuring that busses run freely (stalled/parked cars, etc)
    why drive when you can ride?
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  19. #19
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    It will be very interesting to learn how all the business' fair from this. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a slow down in downtown business and resulting lay offs.

  20. #20
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    Those interested..... The system cost 205 £million to setup.
    Will cost £65 million to finance yearly.
    Expected revenew estimated at £139 million per year.
    All the subsequent profits have been passed by law, to be ploughed back into financing future upgrading and planning public transport.
    After approx 6 months the system will be assesed for viability.
    If it has proved worthwhile, other cities in the U.K. May propose similar congestion charges.

  21. #21
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Garbear
    It will be very interesting to learn how all the business' fair from this. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a slow down in downtown business and resulting lay offs.
    Already businesses have responded. One kitchenware company is now offering to pay the congestion charge if you spend at least £50 in the shop.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  22. #22
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    Originally posted by Bokkie
    Already businesses have responded. One kitchenware company is now offering to pay the congestion charge if you spend at least £50 in the shop.
    Bokkie... that's what I expect and I predict more fallout of business' within the 8mi zone, even business' moving. Walk-in shops will dig deep to offer incentives attempting to get people from outside of the 8mi radius to shop. It's going to destroy the patronage of the casual shopper. My guess is those living outside the 8mi zone will seek alternative shops outside the 8mi zone or cut back their shopping trips. I suspect this will only hurt the low to middle income folks.

    I've also been doing some reading about this radical mayor... His reputation precedes him. I suspect he's hoping this expensive venture revitalizes his career. Otherwise, he's history in the near future.

  23. #23
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Garbear
    It will be very interesting to learn how all the business' fair from this. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a slow down in downtown business and resulting lay offs.
    Why would there be a slow down? Why would there be layoffs. Already the vast vast majority of people who come into the city center of london take transport. Even with the charge, most people who wont come will just take the tube. Yet another doomsayer about lowering our reliance on the car. Some people just want drive-thru everything.
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  24. #24
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Garbear
    It will be very interesting to learn how all the business' fair from this. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a slow down in downtown business and resulting lay offs.
    yes, i also don't see this: for the reasons that Spire gave - i think less than 5% of the people going into downtown currently do so by auto... and because this will likely free up more space for more PEOPLE...

    Munich for instance changed their downtown some time back in the late 70s (that' a rough guess) so that cars were serverly restricted and the center is pedestrian (and bike) only and businesses complained that they would loose business... in actuality business in downtown INCREASED greatly as there was a higher concentration of people - now of course property rates went up too so maybe some businesses got hurt by that, but overall sales and customers went UP. central Munich is now a very strong shopping area visited by hundreds of thousands of people daily.

    i actually read an article yesterday about the London system and this very issue was addressed - their assessment was also that a net INCREASE in business was likely as moe people will be out walking b/c less space will be tied up in traffic.

    now obviously certain businesses will be adversely affected as with any change - say drive-thru businesses (if there even are any in central London) or auto-oriented places like car washes or oil change or mechanics... but with any change there will be winners and losers...

    anyway, i would be very surprized if the overall business opportunities, sales, customer visits and property values did not increase from the congestion pricing.
    why drive when you can ride?
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  25. #25
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    Originally posted by Spire
    Why would there be a slow down? Why would there be layoffs. Already the vast vast majority of people who come into the city center of london take transport. Even with the charge, most people who wont come will just take the tube. Yet another doomsayer about lowering our reliance on the car. Some people just want drive-thru everything.
    Come on spire........ This plan wasn't implemented because of petroleum consumption, nor autos. It was implemented because of "congestion" in the inner city. All you blabber on about is oil, autos and a field of idealist dreams. There are much bigger issues at stake. No doubt many hope a project of this nature is successful at some level, including me.

    Over the near term, people will slowly realize the added weekly costs of pvt driving habits into certain zones. What they do then will be the deciding factor, success or failure. My feeling is they will quit driving to certain zones. As for Public transport, in some areas it has slowed to a crawl. I read where one segment is all but shut down due to terrorist related issues and isn't expected to reopen, causing further transportation strain. Storefronts will simultaneously realize fewer customers of sorts visiting the inner zone, later the corporate sector will evaluate the change in their foot-traffic, location and employee affects. Who's going to feel it the most and quickest...low to middle income families and they won't opt for public transport if their not really close.

    Public transportation portion of infrastructure is key for all cities and communities and it needs constant review. I've read many articles and attended seminars on this and related issues over the years. I've been involved in my surrounding community's leadership and understand our City Counsels dilemma regarding traffic flow and how that impacts business and development.

    Based on what I've read, the vast majority of people visiting the inner 8mi zone are not on public transportation, but pvt transportation, which caused congestion and that's why such a costly investment gamble has been attempted. They've already experienced a few serious tremors and expect many more. They just don't know how big the obstacles will be.

    Re-think your statement and it's practicality.

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