New Mayor Could Weaken London Congestion Charge

borisjohnson460.jpgLondon Mayor Boris Johnson may scale back the congestion pricing plan put in place by Ken Livingstone, whom Johnson defeated in May. The Times is reporting that the current 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. flat rate charge could be altered in a number of ways, including a reduction in the hours during which the fee is applied and reversing an extension of the zone, which was implemented last year.

Johnson’s director of transport, Kulveer Ranger, told the Times that Johnson is looking to the proposed Manchester pricing model, which charges for fewer hours per day.

Mr Ranger said: "Flexibility around hours of operation, flexibility around how it is charged; all of those things are options we’re looking to consider.

"The mayor has been absolutely clear that he wants to make it fairer for people, not so much as a blunt tool, but something that’s a bit more well managed and gives people a bit more flexibility in terms of how it’s operated."

The Times, which opposes pricing, relies exclusively on sources from "motoring groups" — who also speak of "making the system fairer," etc. — to fill out the story. But in the comments, reader "Barry" recalls how candidate Johnson professed an interest in improving conditions for those who don’t or can’t drive.

We certainly need more sophisticated road charging, where payment is related to time of day and distance travelled. But to rule out extending the scheme shows that Boris’s pre-election claim to support cyclists, pedestrians and bus users over the selfish minority of self-drivers was a sham.

Photo:
Guardian Unlimited

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

London Mayoral Candidate: Use Congestion Charge to Lower Bus Fares

|
With Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith hinting cryptically at future plans for congestion pricing in New York, and with public discussion of congestion pricing percolating in San Francisco, it may be timely to check back in with London’s congestion pricing system. Congestion charging has already greatly improved bus service. Will Londoners vote to use congestion fees […]
In his "State of the City" speech on Monday, Mayor de Blasio said he'd soon release a plan to address growing congestion in the city. Photo: NYC Mayor's Office

4 Ways the Mayor Can Reduce Congestion Without Congestion Pricing

|
Mayor de Blasio's forthcoming congestion plan won't call for traffic pricing, but the mayor has plenty of other options to reduce traffic congestion. Here are four policies that would provide much-needed congestion relief on NYC streets -- it's difficult to imagine any City Hall traffic reduction initiative that doesn't include some of these ideas.
Photo: Crain's New York

Bucking de Blasio, Speaker Candidates Support Congestion Pricing

|
Mayor de Blasio is pulling out all the stops to frame congestion pricing as a "regressive tax," even though low-income New Yorkers stand to gain enormously. Not a single contender for council speaker is on the same page as the mayor. In a debate hosted by Crain's this morning, they all signaled support for congestion pricing, with a few caveats.

Congestion Costs Chicago $7.3 Billion Per Year

|
You know a city is getting serious about tackling traffic when a new report comes out measuring how much gridlock costs the region. In New York, it was the 2006 release of Growth or Gridlock, which pegged the annual price of traffic at $13 billion, that set off a public debate about congestion pricing that […]

Glick’s Excuse: Everything But the Kitchen Sink

|
Welcome to Glickville As Deborah Glick herself would tell you, no state legislator had more reason to support congestion pricing than she did. In a district where 95.4 percent of working residents would not have paid the charge, where households with a car are outnumbered by households sans vehicle three to one, and which nonetheless […]