Boris may scrap congestion charge

The possibility of any future national road-user charging scheme was dealt a blow yesterday when London mayor, Boris Johnson said he would consider scrapping the city’s entire congestion zone.

The news follows the recent decision to dismantle the western extension of the London scheme and the rejection in Manchester of plans that included congestion charging.

When asked about the issue this week, Boris Johnson said he would “brood” on the matter of whether to scrap the entire London congestion zone, but that he wanted to be convinced it would not have an adverse effect on congestion.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) said: “Everyone agrees that Britain needs a safe, reliable and high quality transport system. Where we differ is how that vision can be achieved. Whether we give greater emphases to cycling or more roads or extra public transport one thing is certain: we cannot do it without road-user charging of some kind.”

“Evidence from around the world shows that it does not matter how many billions is invested in buses, trains or trams, as in Paris, Munich or Tokyo, without a road-user charge of some kind, the policy is doomed to failure.”

Why is a transport policy without road-user charging doomed to fail?

Essentially because roads are free – and when anything is free we tend to over use them. In the case of roads this leads to congestion. Studies have shown that even if the alternative public transport were free, motorists would still choose to drive – and in towns and cities this causes congestion.

Related congestion charging articles:
Road-user charging is always 10 years away
What is road-user charging and why is it important?
London congestion levels up
Should lorries pay nothing?
National road toll trials start in 2009

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