From BBC - Traffic Congestion http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content...k_feature.shtml
Why the congestion zone has been extended (in London)
Malcolm Murray-Clark, director of Congestion Charging, outlines why congestion charging has been extended to the west
"In 2003, Transport for London introduced congestion charging to the central, most clogged-up, part of the city.
Some said the public transport system would not cope, the economy would suffer or traffic would divert into unsuitable areas. Four years on it's clear they were wrong.
The scheme has been a huge success and it's been extended West to cover parts of Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham - some of the most congested areas in the UK.
Traffic in the existing zone has been reduced by some 20 per cent since charging began - preventing the gridlock that would most likely have been a regular feature for the capital.
This has brought many benefits to the capital, including more reliable journeys, a significant cut in CO2, and a reduction of up to 15 per cent in the most harmful vehicle emissions within the zone.
Independent research demonstrates that road safety has also improved, with up to 70 fewer personal road injuries per year as a direct result of congestion charging.
And more people than ever before are feeling safe enough to cycle on London's roads. There has been a 72 per cent increase in the number of cyclists on the capital's major roads since 2000, with around 450,000 cycle journeys a day.
But London still has significant congestion problems. Surveys indicate that of all areas adjacent to the zone, congestion is most intense in the west where there are severe delays throughout the working day.
We estimate that traffic levels in the western area will be reduced by 10-15 per cent when the zone goes live, reducing congestion in the zone by at least 15 per cent.
Additional buses and other planned public transport improvements have been implemented to meet the new demand from those switching from their cars.
New bus services have created an additional 4,800 passenger spaces, encouraging Londoners to make full use of public transport.
With businesses in the extension area employing around 170,000 people, it's clearly important that the scheme works effectively. That's why we've focused on making it more convenient to use.
For example, in summer 2006 TfL introduced a "pay-next-day" facility, enabling people to pay the charge the day after they travel. Companies with ten or more vehicles can register for fleet accounts which streamline administration and reduces the daily charge to 7 Pounds.
We are also cutting charging hours so that they now finish at 6.00pm to benefit the evening economy.
Congestion charging keeps our city moving. It has contributed hugely to London's position as the only major city in the world to have achieved a shift from private car use to public transport."
So when do we get a rebate to our road tax???????
Alice Pomfret and Louisa Palmer and Lynda Allen a
We all think that 8 Pounds is far to expensive to go on a road , we think that it should be less than that , because what if you dont have any money on you , it means you can not get to work thank you and good bye xxx
Why is it a criminal Offence for the british people to have money in there OWN POCKET ?!!.
i agree totally
When will the cogestion zone stop getting bigger? When there is no more room to expand into? I think that if the made public transport free for everyone of all ages then it will stop the problems with the traffic and benefit the environment!
I think that Congestion Zones/Charges are a good idea,because if people get fed up of being in traffic and paying the charge,then they might decide to use other ways of transport. Such as taxis and buses to hepl not let out as much of these chemicals; Nitrogen oxides, Sulfur dioxides or Benzene. Furthermore i strongly agree to the Congestion Zones/Charges 100 percent and hope they do not cease to see another decade.
i think you should get read of the congestion charge because why should we have to pay to go into london a part of our country its ridiculous and especially unfair to less capable famalies to want to get away to another part of the country because cannot afford to go abroad to have to pay more money to be able to drive on the roads!!
What are these surveys? Why are they not referenced?
My opinion to congestion charging is that they shuldnt be made because it makes it more difficult to drive because people are using other ways which are having no congestion zones and it is really not necassary. Also the tubes are horrible and the buses as well.
Congestion charge blatently is about money. improve public transport, make it cheaper instead of putting it up all the time and it wouldn't be so bad... we just get fleeced for money in this country.
cab drivers dont pay the charge but the majority of times I see a cab it only has one passenger. surely thats not good for the enviroment.
steady on there gareth c thomas. I am doing a report on whether congestion zones are a good idea. if anyone has anything to say please post their comment to this page. thanks
For part of my GCSE coursework i have to do a 800 word essay for science on, 'Are congestion zones a good idea?' I haven't made my mind up as they are good for the city but not for the people paying who have to pay 8 Pounds a day!!Most people can't afford that but they need to use the roads, this is just massing to the amount of poverty in London.... BRAP
Mr Robert J Page, Battersea
It has been estimated that due to the West London extension in February 2007, 6000 people will eventually lose their jobs. My father is one of them, my neighbour is another. While I have had to drop out of university in my last year as a result. I would like to suggest that instead of claiming .we have reduced congestion in the zone by 15-20 percent . you should boast about the correct fact. .we have successfully removed the 15 to 20 poorest percent of people from the roads. and .we persue a policy of non-communication and enforce this rule with absolute vigour. .while our employees are allowed to sleep in their tow trucks in lay-by.s designed for other road users (I have a picture to send to press) we will show no indication of even listening to residents never mind acting for them..A substantial majority of respondents did not want the extension in the first place up to with up to 70 percent against, but Livingstone said that the consultation "was not representative" and that the extension would go ahead anyway, then I ask, why was it carried out in the first place?. Critics of Livingstone said that this was proof that the consultation had been a "useless rubber-stamping exercise" that Livingstone had to go through merely to avoid possible legal challenges to the scheme in the future, and I agree. In addition I see that this forms part of Livingstones .empire building. as he seeks to gain more and more power and with it a greater and greater budget to play with.The Mayor admitted that this extension would increase traffic within the existing zone, because 230,000 more people be living in the zone, and therefore with a discounted charge. Opposition was overwhelming to the expansion, with a significant majority of those responding to two public consultations, opposing the ban. The mayor said "I can't conceive of any circumstances in the foreseeable future where we would want to change the charge, although perhaps ten years down the line it may be necessary" Livingstone then directly contradicted this earlier stance and said in an interview with BBC London, "I have always said that during this term (his second term in office) it will go up to at least 6 Pounds ... Well it went up to 8 Pounds, and we were exitedly told, given the right to pay the next day. Well how kind, they.re attempting to gain credit for a minimum satandard that should have been in place instantly!!.I have been studying the effect of global warming as part of a B(sc) and can see that .Good Ole Ken. hasn.t got a clue! All of a sudden in the last few years the political elite has realised that something must be done.. but instead of tackling out wholesale national domestic supply of energy, they use it as a .tax grab. and achieve nothing! I make every effort affordable to persue a green agenda, but the government actually force me into the reverse. I now have to work more, and travel more, in order to maintain the disgusting cost of punative tax grabbing measures!
I have been doing a report on this and have found congestion zones to be a good idea. The vast decrease in traffice and CO2 levels is highly suprising and lets face it we pay tax for other seless means i think this is one of the most valid.
I don't know why you had to stop people driving through Ranelagh Bridge to go to the Westway A40 motorway? On that little strip of road there is nothing that will damage congestion and it's a useful passage to go to the motorway. I don't see any reason why you couldn't leave just that area a free zone for people from Little Venice and similar areas(coming from Warwick Avenue towards Harrow Road Bridge)to use it to go towards the Airport, Hammersmith, Olympia etc..? How are we supposed to cross to the West and South areas in London? I have made so many mistakes thinking this area is free to go through. Just before the beginning of Ranelagh Bridge there is a sign that says end of c charge, that also confused me. I never went to Notting Hill or any other CC zones, I just wanted to go to the westway. Could you please do something about this area so we can all drive freely? Thank you for your attention.
The worst congestion is actually outside the western zone. For instance, the New Kings Road is a total nightmare. Nothing has been done to solve this.
The congestion charge only serves to help free up the roads for the rich and well off who can afford to pay 8 Pounds daily. Those of us on typical low and middle incomes who work in london, or travel through it to work will be hit hardest. Yes, it may be having the desired effect, and force us onto the overcrowded, unreliable, potentially unsafe public transport system but the charge is making life hard for the typical worker in London, while those who can afford to buy a BMW X5 or Range rover can afford to pay the charges whthout being out of pocket.
The Congestion Charge doesnt take into account the true mechanics and dynamics of the population affected. It would have been better to charge people depending on the vehicle they drive based on CO2 emmissions and size, and/or the time spent in the charging zone rather than just slapping a flat 8 Pound fee on all those entering it. (eg. I should be charged less if I drove a 1.0L fiat punto 2 miles in the zone than say a 4.0L 'Chealsea tractor' 9 miles through the zone.
is it any wonder that ken has to ride roughshed over some peoples opinions when they are so clearly morons. just for the record a democracy means you vote for a person, any person that stands and then they get on with what they think is best. if you dont like him dont vote for him. i for one am more than happy with this charge even though my girlfriend is badly affected by it.
if the congestion zone keeps enlarging, people will travel around it, unil the whole arena is a congestion zone. So in the end wherever people drive, they will have to pay. THis is basically raising the road tax, and people will drive wherever because they'll have to pay anway. So in the end it'll be the same as it was at the start, but a higher tax.
The congestion charge is extended to create more financial profit, also, let the rich drive while you drive the poor off the road. We all know that, lets speak up, action is louder than words.
why dont sameday couriers get a discount
Funny how in this report it has reduced traffic levels by 20 percent inside the old zone but even the mayors most optimistic reports only put it at 15 percent
If they are unable to produce consistent figures is it any wonder eveyone believes this is just another money raiser and has nothing to do with congestion, emissions or travel.
are these independent unbiased surveys??
has it not occurred to you that people sitting in traffic would rather be elsewhere but have no choice?
extending the zone is only going to impinge on peoples freedom to go around daily activities.
and fining people who have not paid in advanced is ridiculous. why is it our responsibility to pay? it should be the systems responsibility to send us an invoice. the cameras supposedly read all our license plates, and then check to see if we have paid.. If we have not paid, you take our address and details from a database and fine us! why not just use the same system you use for fining people to charge them, instead of getting all these newsagents and text messaging services involved? If i request the services of a plumber, lawyer a private doctor or anyone from any profession it is that persons/companies duty to ensure they recieve payment.
an even easier way to fairly tax all the roads in london is to scrap all these complex systems and increase the tax on petrol. people will be paying for precisely the amount they use and the size of the engine will also be taken into consideration (which as i understand it is the goal of livingstone anyway).
This, quite clearly, is not a 'Congestion Charge.' The evidence is that the smallest cars will be charged the same 8.00 Pound fee as a stretch limo., the latter obviously occupying far mor road space and so causing much more congestion.
Rather than giving such prominence to one of the Congestion Charge's most ardent promoters, I suggest that, in the tradition of the BBC, it is important to give an equal voice to that significant majority of West Londoners and others who oppose the Extension of the Congestion Charge zone and whose opportunity to express this opposition through a democratic process has been cynically avoided.
It would be interesting to see any proper evidence that the area covered by the Congestion Charge Extension has ever been more congested than any other part of East, South or North London.
Intriguingly, perhaps the crucial difference between these areas and Kensington, Westminster and Fulham is not in the amount of traffic clogging the streets, it is that these areas are inhabited by those more likely to vote for Mayor Livingstone and his expensive taste for flamboyant projects.
Let's talk about the West London Tram: another high-profile scheme decisively rejected by its intended users on grounds of both cost and the disruption to the communities affected.
But not now! Some other time perhaps.
The decision to extend the zone was blatently undemocratic with the Mayor's personal agenda once again overiding the common interests of Londoners and the clear response from surveys. This is in spite of the surveys being made up of loaded questions. The 140million Pounds he has spent on the new infrastructure is taxpayers money upon which they will see not return.(I commute by scooter or tube so these comments are not motivated by self interest but by the common interest of Londoners).
Ronald W. Bromley (USA)
I love London and always visit as a tourist rather than a person that may need to drive in the downtown area on a regular basis. Just whom does Mr. Malcolm Murry-Clark think he is kidding? Rationalize it anyway you like and even sugar coat it so people will think its a "Sweet Deal". Anyway you look at it, it's still a money making enterprise that he is head of. I still find it hard to believe that the British people put up with those in charge dreaming up yet another way to tax them. At the rate things are going you'll just go ahead and turn over all your income and they will send you a voucher for a certain amount of money to live on. They'll probably even tax that too!
If the whole of west london opposed this charge why is it being introduced?We live in a democracy don't we we democratically said we don't want the extension to the zone, so why is it happening? because livingstone doesn't care its not a charge its a tax!!
This is complete nonsense. Congestion in the charging zone is worse than it was before the charge was introduced.
Indeed, it is only the congestion that dissuades me from driving in when I need to be in the city - were the charge to reduce congestion significantly I would certainly drive into London more often.
What a load of bunkum. Firstly yes there are more cyclists together with more cyclists dead. His economy may not have suffered but hundreds of others have lost income mostly small shops and businesses. Before the congestion charge traffic levels were down (TFL's own report) now they are up and next week again the West End traffic will increase due to Kensington and the West residence travelling in with the reduced payments. Sure there are more buses but now they clog up the streets look at Oxford St. you can't blame the car there (oh sorry I forgot who I was talking about he'll blame everything on the car driver. I could go on with traffic light fazing bus lanes etc. etc. When you and Ken have retired your desintegration of London will only then show through but by then it will be to late.
I live in the west london area of Ladbroke Grove, within the new congestion area. Throughout 90 percent of the working day the roads in the area are almost deserted. I often walk in the Kensington - Hammersmith area and again there is no congestion during most of the day. While waiting to cross the road, pedestrians frequently converse about this and quetion the liogic of the new congestion charge. On the subject of crossing roads, the traffic lights at a nearby Ladbroke Grove junction have suddenly started displaying a green "pedestrian cross" light when there have been no pedestrians to press the activating button.Traffic patiently sits waiting adding to any pollution. The congestion cameras were installed over Ladbroke Grove while surveys were still being carried out. The congested and most polluting routes in this area are Wood lane, the A40, and the north/south cross routes but strangely these routes are exempt. The truly congested area and the mst polluted area in west London is between Shepherds Bush, Acton, and Ealing. If Ken is seriously interested in cutting pollution, his actions clearly don't show it. Traders I support at my local Portobello market are talking of pulling out because of the extra expense. Needless to say, these working people have very unfavourable opinions of our Mayor
Gareth C Thomas
What rubbish! The arguments put forward by Murray-Clark are biased and almost laughable, especially the parts where he boasts about how well the congestion charge has improved things, i.e. the reduction in congestion (a pathetic 10-15 percent - hardly worth it). How can you possibly measure the success of introducing the congestion charge when there are no reliable figures to compare against, i.e. before the charge was introduced?
Tell you what Ken et al... let's not stop there. Why not start charging mopeds and scooters to park up for the day (oops, Westminster are considering doing this already...), tax foot passengers walking into the zone etc. How? Microchip every human being at birth, and every time we walk around and our chip gets read by the machines on the lamp posts, you can tax us for passing in and out of those zones. Say, let's not stop there... create a microchip that can register when we breathe in and start charging us for the oxygen we breathe! But wait, there's more... why not tax us for exhaling too! After all, we are creating more CO2 and thus adding to the global warming problem!
FACT! The public transport system is overpriced and crap.
FACT! Allowing motorcycles and scooters in the bus lanes AT ALL TIMES will not impede buses or taxis and will cut accidents caused by riders weaving in and out of stationary vehicles.
FACT! The bus lane timings are different in every borough and are a mess. Maintaining consistent timings for use by buses, taxis, motorcycles, scooters and cyclists only will help road users know when they can and can't use the lane.
FACT! Traffic wardens, fines and congestion charges are simply ways to get at our hard-earned cash.
SUGGESTION! Remove all parking charges in all but main roads.
SUGGESTION! Sack traffic wardens.
SUGGESTION! Create more FREE parking bays for solo motorcycles/scooters.
SUGGESTION! Sack Ken Livingstone and remove another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. Londoner's are already swamped by it and it's suffocating.
The cycle figures quoted are since 2000 yet congestion charging did not come in until 2003 so he can hardly claim fame to the increase in two wheels