Thursday, February 01, 2007

Congestion Charging Extension Countdown

Despite widespread disquiet with the extension of the Congestion Charging Scheme in central London Ken Livingstone forced the idea through and this month sees the scheme starting in a sizeable swathe of west London. For a couple of weeks red C signs have been springing up on newly included areas. I must confess its kind of weird to see those dreaded C signs on streets which they never were before. There are even talks of confused tourists paying the toll to drive on these roads even though the extension does not start until the 19th of this month.

I do not believe the extension to the scheme has anything to do with traffic calming or congestion. Just a cynical way of taxing the public. The Mayor saw the immediate revenue potential in widening the scheme and thought wise to take advantage and raise funds. With the emphasis on `immediate potential` because respected studies have shown that it is not financially beneficial in the long run to extend the scheme.

One wonders then why, if there is no considerable concrete benefit to traffic flow in these areas and the cost involved in the long run Livingstone still decided to go ahead with it.

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