back to article Pay-as-you-drive roads coming to the UK

Controversial plans by the UK government to introduce road pricing are to go ahead, despite fierce opposition The government has published a draft Bill laying the ground for local authorities to develop local pay-as-you-drive road charging across England and Wales. Pilot road charging projects are already under way in 10 local …

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Anonymous Coward

Typical of this Government

Time and time again, this government isn't listening to the electorate. I would have thought 1.8 million drivers objecting to this (what is really a massive stealth tax) would have made the penny drop with these deaf socialists that WE OBJECT TO THIS!!

Like all other IT projects these idiots have managed, it will be a complete, utter and hugely expensive disaster. Not to mention the detrimental effect on all aspects of business.

Are these fools deliberately trying to destroy this country's economy??

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Kev

Viable Alternative

Why is it that this government just doesn't want to listen to alternatives.

Here's a much better solution to the so called 'pay-as-you-drive' pricing scheme. it will cose £0 to implement as the infrastructure is already in place, it will cost people for the distance driven and will also penalise people driving heavier/bigger engined/less fuel efficient vehicles. it's called FUEL TAX.

They all should know what it is, the main reason that we pay twice as much for fuel than them americans that whinge about their <50p a litre prices.

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Typical, all right ...

Does anyone else think that there'd be a revolution of Poll Tax proportions if this hare-brained scheme ever went through and resulted in nationwide road charging? I'd be amazed if I were the only one.

I don't have a problem with road charging per se[*], providing that it *replaces* vehicle excise duty/road tax/whatever and a corresponding reduction in fuel duty, but can anyone see that happening? Didn't think so - not even Gordon is dumb enough to slaughter his cash cow.

However, like the anon poster above, I have no faith at all in the gummint's ability to manage IT projects, no matter how big or small they are - yes, it'll be a hugely expensive disaster, but who'll pick up the tab? Have three guesses ...

[*] - It's a pity that the City of York council didn't put for TIF funding (Transport Innovation Fund - love it. Innovation? From this bunch of losers? Hah!) since if anywhere needs draconian congestion control it's York ...

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About London's Congestion Charge scheme...

What isn,t mentioned here is that the London Congestion charge scheme was such a success mainly because of the public transport infrastructure (Tube, regular buses, etc) which is already in place there.

Try something similar in Stoke on Trent, where the public transport system is apalling, expensive and with a notoriously badly maintained fleet (run by FirstGroup). You'll probably see something considerably short of a success story.

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Tom

It's just another tax..

As some-one who drives in London every day (on two wheels, so the congestion charge does not directly effect me), I am absolutely certain that the majority of problems are caused by bad traffic management, not by volume of traffic.

An awful lot of delays are caused by badly phased traffic signals, mostly unnecessary red and pedestrian phases. I know of some places where traffic signals exist on straight roads, with no junctions or crossings. Their purpose is purely to act as a deterrent to private vehicles.

Purely by coincidence (ahem), traffic signals in London are operated by TfL, part of Red Ken's evil empire. During the "consultation" on extending the congestion zone it is a well known fact that they used traffic signal phasing to cause congestion, which disappeared (with a little tweaking of the phasing) once the zone was in force.

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1.8 million object ... therefore 58.2+ million consent

There won't be any discouragement to the government unless something like 50% of the population disagree. 1.8 million people signed a petition - but so what? To the UK government, with their spin-meistered figures and statistics, it means that the rest of the population are obviously perfectly okay with the idea. At least, they can keep telling themselves this - which is why they are going ahead with the plans.

The thing that amused me the most is the claim that road congestion will cost millions of jobs, but has anyone thought about the pay raises necessary to fund these new congestion charges? Or is everyone expected to either work from home (unworkable in the majority of job positions I know of) or commute by public transport (even more cost in lost time, let alone stupidly expensive fares). The repeated failure to analyse the root causes (namely poor public transport, starting with Beeching's Axe - and exacerbated ever since) is what's making British commuters so miserable. Despite being a so-called "first world" country, the UK still can't find a Transport Minister with two brain cells to rub together.

For me, this is just another reason why I choose not to work and pay taxes in Britain, despite having spent 22 years of my life there. UK companies will soon take notice that the best people are leaving the country, and the only way to get skilled workers will be to base operations in mainland Europe or Ireland (many have offshored already for other reasons - chiefly tax - but you can bet that if skilled employees are hard to find in the UK, more companies will up sticks and leave). Has the UK government thought about that? Not likely.

Oliver.

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Cause and effect...

Lack of sensible planning laws causes shortage of desirable housing.

Easy credit allows buyers to ramp house prices up to ridiculous levels.

People are forced to live further from work and away from public transport links in order to afford their mortgage/rental costs.

More cars on road for longer - congestion!

Simple solution: invest in broadband and incentivise companies to offer telecommuting schemes to reduce the number of long and medium distance commutes to office-based jobs.

Odds of government using a simple solution? Ha ha ha.

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How exactly does this make sence.

The whole problem with the roads is that they are over crowded that's true.

But how can this be called a solution. The government is there to do the bidding of the public. We expect them to keep our roads going not stop us going on the roads. This is a culling of cars. People who use the roads wouldn't do it unless they had to.

As for these 1.8 million people it's nice to see that some of Britain is still have faith in democracy, all be it misguided faith. Millions more tried to stop the war in Iraq to no effect.

I think it's time to face the fact that Britain has no control over what it does or doesn't do the government does.

When the pay as you drive scheme is finally in place I bet the money generated from it will be spent on anything but the roads.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Typical of this Government

If the government listened to and did absolutely everything the electorate wanted then nobody would be paying income tax, council tax, VAT etc.

The fact remains that the UK is hugely overrun with motor vehicles. France, for example, has a similar population to the UK, and a similar number of cars, but there are far more roads in that country and they're in better condition, too.

This said, UK motorists are already hugely taxed. They pay the most for their fuel in the EU AFAIK, then there's the yearly tax disc etc. Not to mention that the cars themselves cost more.

Something has to be done to force people to think more economically. Think "school runs" for example. It makes my blood boil when I see streams of mums turning up in people carriers and SUVs, depositing one sprog at the school gates. Surely there must be other kids in the same road or nearby that attend the same school, no? Why not put that people carrier to good use, take 4 or 5 kids to the school and thus get 3 or 4 cars off the road?

If hitting people in the pocket is the only way of getting them to see common sense, then, much as I dislike the idea, that's how it has to be. Does anyone have a better idea?

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Current Road Tax

So with this new 'Pay-as-you-drive, road usage tax' will we still need to pay our current Road Tax?

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Anonymous Coward

No, no, no, no!

How many times do we have to tell this government that we the electorate dont want additional tax! From my own incensed perspective, I'm of the opinion that we already pay per mile on our country's road's anyway. What with the inordinate amount of tax that is levied in Petrol that we then use as we drive. The more we drive, the more petrol we have to buy, the more tax the government gets. Thats in addition to the 'Road Tax' we pay too. Scandalous!!

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Ash

Where are the details?

I'm looking for information reagrding this scheme; specifically how your vehicle usage will be tracked [sarcasm] without invading privacy [/sarcasm], whether this will affect motorbikes (as they simply do not contribute to congestion), what the proposed tarriff will be...?

Plus, if they are going to monitor your mileage, while not monitor your speed too and remove those speed cameras?

They'll definately need to, as if it's too high i'll be claiming my tax money back by burning a few.

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Governments always ignore the electorate

1.8 million drivers said no. The government ignored them. That's UK democracy in action, folks! Enjoy!

It's a shame that more people vote on TV shows than they do for the people who run the country.

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YEY another government cash cow IT project

Yet more chances to pay EDS large sums of money for a software system that cannot do division, Pay Tech companies billions for other systems that cannot do as designed and all because the government wants to trace our every move.

If they really wanted pay as you drive they would just replace road tax with an extra 1p on fuel. But of course that would raise the funds without all the backhanders to mates that run tech companies.

And make no mistake we all know its about raising more money rather than doing anything about congestion.

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See what they come up with

1.8 million people may sound a lot but the UK population is an estimated 60 million, assuming half of these can drive that means only 6% of motorists objected to the scheme (and therefore 94% did not object but aren't kicking up a huge stink about it).

I'll be the first to admit I'm a sit on the fence kind of person and I'm happy to wait and see what they come up with before objecting. I can't imagine the different parties will all come up with the same solution and so a general election will soon sort it if they get it wrong (anybody remember the poll tax?).

I probably do 3000 miles a year which makes my road tax extremely expensive per mile compared to somebody who pays the same but does 10x that amount. Assuming they propose to take the same overall revenue that they would take from road tax then I'll be all up for it, it means the people that drive a lot will pay more than those that drive very few miles, that sounds completely fair to me. Compared to the tax on fuel it's not really a significant amount to those that do a lot of miles anyway.

It will take more than a single scaremongering email with no proof of factual information to make me sign a petition...

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Controversial view?

Has the London congestion scheme proved successful? I can't comment,as I don't live there. If it has, then why not roll it out to the rest of the UK? Congestion IS a problem. The current method (tax on fuel) doesn't seem to work (and look at what happened a few years' ago), and extra road building is NOT the answer (within a short period the extra space fills up).

I'm a motorist myself, and drive roughly 12k miles a year. I can't think of an alternative. In principle I would be for this idea of Pay as You Go.

What I would be more interested in, is the method used for charging. Let's forget about a GPS-based system, and look to alternatives. What's the method used in London? Number plate recognition (reasonably well-proven)? Or something else. It's new technologies on a national scale that the Government aren't good at producing.

Lee, Manchester

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Mass protests...

2 Million against the invasion of Iraq, and more converts since. The same number protesting against road pricing and ID cards each. If The Government doesn't recognise that this will translate to losses at the polls, then they deserve to be ousted.

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Anonymous Coward

We already have a perfect pay as you drive system

The current pay as you drive system (tax on fuel) neatly covers distance, efficiency and works for most types of vehicles and visitors from overseas. Why replace this with a cumbersome IT infrastructure?

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This government bloody STINKS.

As usual, the government has completely ignored the public's voice and have even passed the ugly initial protests and objections to local government so that we have no choice but to get use to it. Where I have no doubt, it will then be put in place nation wide.

What this article should have said is...

"One of the world's largest road pricing projects is the central London's congestion charge. The scheme has cut congestion and pollution in the capital and moved it to the outskirts instead. Those who have little choice but go into the centre have their wallets leached to death on a daily basis by the congestion charge plus the penalty charges caused by administrative cock-up's in the office running the scheme.

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Anonymous Coward

"Typical of this Government"

Sorry... are you under the illusion that we live in a democracy?

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Panorama Mk2

"London's congestion charge . . . The scheme has cut congestion and pollution across the capital"

erm, actually it hasn't cut congestion . . . . well done Kablenet - worthy of a BBC "investigation" !

at least Uncle Ken has bought lots of nice buses that run empty except at rush hour, really good for pollution . . .

. . . . well at least the tube system is vastly improved . . . isn't it?

60% of the time I work from home in the Yorkshire countryside & if I travel my employer pays - won't change a single journey for me - just another tax as we all know

the train is such a good alternative for me going into London, only £195 return <really!>

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this is crazy

this is nuts, this governemnt is not listening, governments should be affraid of the people not vice versa.

I for one will not pay it, they can arrest me do wha tthey like im not paying to use roads ive paid for

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Hmm

I agree that the government isnt listening to its electorate, it never does; this is the single most important issue in our political debate right now. People are getting fed up with it....I wish we could have a revolution as that is whats needed; I know how to do it, I just dont have the cash!!

Anyway, on to road charging. Personally I dont have a problem with it, but only on the motorways. Other countries do it, such as Italy to good effect, and I dont see why this couldnt work provided all the money was re invested in the transport infrastructure for which we now pay. But as we all know this is where the deal falls over; a project such as this will have funds "disappearing" I have no doubt.

People need to realise that this needs to be dealt with, and we all have a responsibility to the environment; saying "well I dont make a difference" is just not right; and as a footnote, the M6 toll is a dream to drive through, and I dont mind paying the 4 quid or so one bit.

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It's nothing more than highway robbery.

Just great. Thank you Kennith "Your money or your life" Livingstone. Gordon "Stand and Deliver" Brown has a plan. I can just see him rubbing his hands together now in anticipation.

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So they're removing the tax on fuel then?

Because that's an effective tax on road usage and even weighted towards large, inefficient vehicles.

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The listening government ...

"It's now clear that Gordon Brown is as committed to the government's road pricing plans as Tony Blair has been, despite the petition signed by 1.8m people..."

Despite? Anyone who seriously thinks Her Majesty's Government takes seriously any views expressed in e-petitions lives in dreamland. The sole purposes of governmental e-petitions are to give the punters somewhere to gob off (it keeps them off the streets) and to give junior civil servants a chuckle now and then.

Of road pricing, the comment above says: "Like all other IT projects these idiots have managed, it will be a complete, utter and hugely expensive disaster." What bollocks.

The writer seems to equate the limited and specific IT requirements of road pricing with the far larger and more complex public sector IT fuck-ups which have hit the headlines. Yes, the Dept of Health consistently makes a pig's ear of IT; yes, projects for the MoD, DoH, DWP (formerly DSS) have gone spectacularly tits-up; but road pricing is another story.

I drive roughly 20,000 miles a year, I live in a village where a car is essential, and I'm all for road pricing. Given the choice (as I am weekly) between using the 'old' M6 and paying four quid to use the M6 Toll, I always chose the latter; it's money well spent IMO. And although there may be trouble ahead now that the London congestion charge zone extends halfway to Cornwall (well, OK, as far as Kensington), the scheme and its IT has hardly proved "...a complete, utter and hugely expensive disaster..." Quite the reverse in fact - I travel into central London frequently and from my point of view congestion charging has succeeded.

Don't get me wrong. I still wouldn't entirely trust central government or local authorities to implement any IT project more complex than wiring a 13A plug. Nor would I expect them to take any notice if 15 million people signed a petition saying the yellow/green wire goes to the earth pin.

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Road pricing misses a huge point

Road congestion will soon be a thing of the past. Have you noticed the

petrol price creeping back up towards £1 /litre again? You ain't seen nothing

yet. The current run up is due to the UK exporting petrol to the US to

cover their shortages - in spite of us being a net importer of oil. North Sea

oil production is crashing 15% a year. Saudi Arabian production is down

3/4M barrels a day, they say because there is no demand. However, demand

is exploding, but SA 'will not' pump more. Because it cannot. The world has

hit peak oil.From now on there will be less oil , petrol and diesel to go around,

worldwide, year on year, for ever. Already the world is drawing down on its

commercial reserves at a million barrels a day. Already large parts of the

third world have been priced out of the oil market - for ever. In ten years,

there will be no congestion. We just have to wait. www.theoildrum.com

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Relentlessly Rising Congestion?

Where? Look at it this way - there are 60million people in the UK, can't be many more than 40million of them driving, and there are 32million vehicles. Surely all we need to do is to build the infrastructure up a little bit more so it can accommodate 40million vehicles and that should be enough for the medium to long term, right? The problem with road travel in the UK (and, especially, London) is that there has been a series of ambitious road schemes over the last 60 years which HAVEN'T ACTUALLY BEEN BUILT. Inner ring road - not finished. Outer ring road - never built. M23 - abandoned. Western Avenue - never finished etc etc etc It seems strange to say so, but thank God for Thatcher or the M25 would never even have happened. Rail advocates feel much the same way about Crossrail, I'm sure.

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Anonymous Coward

Unsure why so many folk assume oppression of the people is a left wing thing. It's a power thing approved of by extremists of both wings.

What I do not understand is why the UK population puts up with so much with just a winge, when other countries, like say France, would have folk out on the streets making clear that they aren't going to be pushed around.

Sad really.

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I don't object in priniple, but...

I don't object in principle to road pricing - it could do much of what it says on the tin, but...

There are a number of issues that would need to be sorted, and some may not be fixable!

A few items are:

* Assuming that this will be sat-nav based, how do you stop someone simply blocking or jamming the receiver to get free miles?

* If this device is going to work to stop congestion it is no good just charging drivers more to use certain roads at certain times - the drivers need to be informed of the costs and given the choice (otherwise everyone will drive the same way and pay more!). I imagine a scenario where you program your destination into the box and are offered several routes with estimated durations and costs. But what if you just want to nip down to the shops, or out for a drive? Does the box warn you at junctions that "The road to the left is high cost"? If not, how do you avoid using the routes that this system is designed to relieve?

* If there are two roads very close, say in a built up area with poor sat coverage, how can I be sure that when I take a cheap road the box will not charge me for the nearby expensive one?

* I assume that there will be a record of the routes I am being charged for, so I can challenge a huge bill, but how will privacy be maintained? If I tell my wife I have to work on Saturday, but am actually at the match will she be able to find out? What if the wife of a violent husband drives to an advice centre to find out how to safely leave him - will he find out? What if I happen to park near a terrorist's house several times in the run up to an atrocity like 7/7 - am I going to be shipped to Guantanamo "just in case"?

* What about foreign cars? Surely they can't have to have a box fitted just to drive over here. If they don't need them I can see myself popping over to France to buy a French registered car...

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Creating congestion to create congestion charging

The thing that makes me REALLY mad about this is that the local authorities are ALWAYS trying to INCREASE congestion.

There is a 12 mile long dual carriageway, which basically goes door to door from my house to my place of work.

A few years ago the entire road had a 70 mile per hour speed limit, and in rush hour the 12 mile journey could be made in 15minutes any day of the week.. I’ve driven this route several hundred times and there was never a problem.

First they dropped the speed limit to 60mph on the main stretch with a 2 mile section being dropped to 50mph and a 1 mile section being dropped to 40mph. Now the journey was taking 20-25minutes.

Not happy with this they dropped the maximum speed limit to 50mph and slightly increased the length of the 40mph section. By this point the journey was taking a minimum of 30mins.

STILL not happy with how much they had slowed down traffic, they decided to change around a 7 mile stretch of the road from 2 lanes to 1 lane. This stretch of road happens to be in an agricultural area where slow heavy farm machinery is common, so now EVERYDAY I get stuck behind a tractor without fail, where previously I could just overtake.

The most recent congestion generating measure has been to pick the busiest junction on the road, and make is so that you can only turn left in the left lane, and only go straight on in the right lane. I have never ever seen a queue at this junction in all the years I have used the road, but now every day there is a queue around a mile long of stationary traffic queuing in the right hand lane, with the left only lane (that about 1 in every 20 cars uses, being completely empty.

So now my journey only the newly congested road takes around 1 hour, uses twice as much fuel to make, and gets me off to work in a bad mood. A road that has been engineered to be congested, will probably end up being one where I have to pay a congestion charge. Fantastic!

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Move the businesses

Most people moved to the cities for work

Rail transport allowed people to move out of the cities in suburbia and commute to work

Rail transport became unreliable and couldn't cope after a while

Car ownership rose

Mines/Factories based in/around suburbia closed

Car ownership rose

Public transport across most of the UK is an unreliable joke, I don't know of anyone that wants to drive (sit?!) in rush hour traffic, but they have no option as local job opportunities are virtually non-existent.

The government should offer incentives to businesses to relocate out of the cities nearer to their workforce and offer flexible/home working. Instead, they look at taxing people who have no choice but to drive at peak times to overcrowded cities.

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Fuel duty is the answer

I agree with Kev, the only fair solution is to remove all revenue from roads and put an additional tax on fuel. The more fuel you use, the more tax you pay. As simple as that! If you don't use the roads, you don't pay.

This will encourage use of more economical cars, etc. so will help the environment as well as the congestion problems.

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buisness or disabled ?

Seeing as this is almost certainly going to come into effect, simply because the govt doesn't listen or care what it seems the majority of people actually want, will we yet again see no concession what so ever for business, and for those who are disabled and have no choice but to use a private car.

By the looks of it, this will affect people who can ill afford it, and those more affluent being left not caring either way. I am speaking as someone with a disabled wife, who lives in constant pain, public transport is impossible for her even if it was actually available out in the wilds of Devon (we see one bus a week on a Wednesday morning; half a mile down the road, and it doesn't even do a return trip if no-one got on in the morning!)

We pay a tax on fuel, we pay tax on buying a car, we pay road tax, we have a speed tax (about to get 100x worse with that other new law) and now they feel we need another tax. There should be a huge backlash similar to the one a few years ago, where the farmers and truckers stood ground and actually got noticed.

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What alternatives...?

OK, so our kind hearted government wants to reduce pollution, congestion, stress, etc by taxing us off the roads. Fine. So what are the options?

Until last week, I commuted 20 miles to and from work by bus. There is only the one service that runs this route - and First Group operate it. Its usually run by drivers with personality disorders (aggressive, ignorant, generally unfriendly), the buses are dirty (yes FirstGroup - they ARE!), the drivers do nothing about anti-social behaviour - drunks abusing passengers, kids playing loud music on their mobile phones, etc - and this 20 mile journey takes between 1.5 - 2.0 hours! I can drive it in about 40 minutes. What makes it worse, is that the buses manage to run late, and sometimes don't appear at all. As I said, there is no competition.

To take the train, I'd need to take a bus into town - there is little parking available around the railway station, and what there is is discouragingly expensive.

My only option is to take the car to the outskirts of Sheffield and use the park and ride tram - a fantastic transport system - clean, punctual, plenty of staff to enforce good behaviour, and reasonable fares.

I've used the buses for 3 years, but the service is now so very poor, culminating in a recent assault and lack of action (or even the courtesy of a reply) from FirstGroup, that I have now returned to the car.

If pay as you go road pricing is to be introduced (as seems inevitable now) then realistic alternatives MUST be in place FIRST - which requires huge government investment in public transport and a complete rethink on the bus system - deregulation has been a disaster!

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Anonymous Coward

Commonality

One thing that is rarely/never mentioned is the current push to standardise an EU wide method for road charging. This is to try to avoid problems when the multiple schemes currently proposed are integrated. (Possibly/Eventually/Inevitably)

All seems pointless though. Fuel tax covers all the issues with no implementation cost, and it's always possible to add a requirement for road tax to be paid to any foreign car coming into the country to make sure everyone is paying that bit, with the side benefit that someone actually records the cars coming into the country.

As for that last paragraph of the acticle, obviously pulled from a press release as surely no-one is that naive. I suspect the only things the London scheme is good for are showing how wrong the enforcement side can go, how the costs don't add up, how politicians abuse things for their own ends and how easy it is to get around the monitoring & tracking by copying someone else's reg no. Or transponder ID, or whatever.

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Anonymous Coward

Conditions on roads....

I thoroughly disagree with the governments proposals. I can understand why so many people drive the Chelsea Tractor as the state of the roads in the UK are poor to say the least.

Roads that are freshly tarmac'd cause untold damage to the paintwork on our vehicles and then the other side of the coin are the roads that have massive potholes that cause damage to the suspension and wheels / tyres of vehicles.

If the government plan to do this then there needs to be a major overhaul of the surfaces on our roads.

Gawd help'us when Brown gets in.

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Infinite money pot.

The government in this country seems to view the car owners in this way. The reason that so many cars are on the road is that public transport is, in many cases, not a viable alternative.

A lot of the congestion comes from the poor quality of the roads, the fact that they are being dug up by one company after another and poorly repaired afterwards. It's a wonder you don't see workmen waiting for the hole to be filled so they can dig it up again.

This is used as a way of ensuring a budget by some companies. If you had £3m to spend on maintaining your phone network this year, but only used half of it, then you may only get £1.5m next year. So why not pay for a huge hole to be dug in the middle of a busy road, leave it for a few weeks, then fill it in again. As most companies can state how long they will disrupt the traffic, and there is no governing body with the power to say "This is how long it will take, finish by this time or don't start", they can take as long as they like.

Stop digging up the roads and leaving the works unattended, and this may improve the congestion. Get the traffic moving and maybe public transport will become more viable (I know this is not the only problem, and a lot more investment is needed, but hey, it's a start!).

If the money raised by taxing car users was only allowed to be spent on the roads, there would be no point in introducing all the new taxes (once we have nice shiny gold plated roads, with a seperate lane for each car!).

So far we have:

Fuel tax

Car tax (to use the roads)

Impending Pay as you go tax

VAT on the purchace of the car

And now the added joy of not being able to find a parking space that you don't have to pay even more for (one tax for when the car is moving, another for when it is stationary!). This, in turn, brings in more revenue for local councils in parking fines. In my area, to park within a three mile radius of my home costs £1.50 per hour, plus £60 a time if you are late getting back to your car.

Why do I own a car you may ask?

Have you tried getting around by bus? is my reply.

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Oh my god!!!!

Fantastic!!!! Yet another tax on the hard-working general public.

Why do we put up with this?!?!?

Let's just hope this isn't as badly organised as the London congestion charge that Uncle Ken is clearly making a mint out of.

My point in question is this. When calling only last week to find out whether they were able to tell me whether I'd accidentally strayed into the "zone", a rather inpolite woman told me they weren't able to tell you this until they received the feeds from the cameras two days later. Naturally, by that point, if you haven't paid up, you're facing a fine. For the majority of motorists, the thought alone of yet another penalty is enough to encourage them to cough up their hard-earned cash based on fear and paranoia of being shafted again by Uncle Ken....and then when you do receive a fine, it's at a "discounted" rate of £50.....yeah, thanks for that. I really feel special.

Let's hope this is not a sign of things to come for the rest of the country, God help us all!!!!

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And another thing . .

our local council (a bunch of complete no hopers called Kirklees) recently massively hiked parking charges near the railway and bus stations for the off street car parks

Why?

"to discourage commuters from using the car parks" (yes, really - honestly they did)

Alternative?

M62 to Leeds or Manchester by car . . . I believe the 2nd most congested section of motorway in the country

integrated transport system my a*** !

. . . thankfully not too many more years before I can retire to a better run country . . .

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Anonymous Coward

Putting the cost onto the fuel

I thought this would be a sensible alternative as well.. until a friend pointed out that they also want to charge you more for driving at certain times of the day (Rush hour, I assume...).

This, I object to. Why should you get charged more for travelling home just because you happen to have the same working hours as 90% of the population?

They should instead spend the money on public transport, and making that decent (and cheap to use). The public transport in the country is absolutely dire, except for in the centre of London, which is why they don't see a problem with it. Why don't they look at Europe, where they have GOOD public transport, and learn something from them? Then maybe more people will use it and the roads will become less congested.

Until then, they should stop penalising people who are forced to drive to work, and at certain times, simply because it is the only way.

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Excuse me?

"One of the world's largest road pricing projects is the central London's congestion charge. The scheme has cut congestion and pollution across the capital, as well as turning out to be a public sector IT success story. Capita, which works with Transport for London on the scheme, supplies the technology under a managed services contract."

Sorry, when did it become a success?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/02/17/londons_charge_zone_blueprint/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/21/tfl_road_pricing_plans/

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It Works

It already works. Personally I cannot afford to drive a car and pay all that tax - most people I know (I'm 23, so most of my friends are just out of Uni by a couple of years) all drive and are flat broke.

Me, I'm busy saving up my money to move to Canada...See the system works! Oh no wait...they DONT want people leaving the country do they...

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Lack of congestion only benefits those who can still drive

Congestion is not a problem, it's a democratic solution.

Pricing citizens off the roads reduces congestion to the sole benefit of those who can still afford to drive. Surely that is an even worse problem.

Congestion is the democratic arbitrator, if a citizens journey is so important that they are willing to brave congestion, perhaps their journey really is important!

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Guy

Tax, Tax and Tax again.........and if that doesn't work Tax some more

Lets have a look at the tax bill so far

Purchase of car £15000 £2200 Tax VAT

Tax Disc £160, of which roughly 10% actually gets spent on roads and infrastructure, so £135 a year in gratuitous taxing

Insurance premium tax £55 per annum

So far I haven't even driven anywhere and I've already payed £2400 in tax

My car is very frugal and I get 50mpg, I work from home and do about 3000 miles a year, so that is about 60 gallons of diesel or 270 litres. For simplicity its a £1 per litre of which 64% of which is tax and VAT, so overall thats 64p x 270litres =£172.80

Having lost my cushy work at home job I now have to commute by car, from here to my place of work by train takes just over 2 and a half hours or 40 minutes by car (the times are actually true). This now means travelling 12,000 miles a year so lets do the math

12,000 miles @50 mpg =240 Gallons=1092 litres x 64p =

£698.88

Who says road charging isn't already in place, simply by buying a car and using it to get to work tax bill of £3000

But its worth paying that as opposed to train fare of £24 return for 5 days a week 48 weeks a year £5765 and losing 50 days a year sat on the train or waiting for connecting ones as opposed to just 13 days when going by car.

It is also interesting that the schemes are being touted as a revenue earner as opposed to congestion relief

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Anonymous Coward

Tax on fuel wouldn't work

people are missing the point when they suggest that an increase in fuel duty will solve the problem. In a few years time cars will be moving to other power sources, one that's not so easy to rake in the revenue with as fuel duty allows now.

Its not so easy to to stick a dye in electricity to ensure that electric cars aren't being recharged from normal household supplies rather than special 300% tax sockets

The real problem is the taxation system in this country and while people like Brown would prefer to use stealth to raise revenue, problems like this will always occur.

We need a flat stealth free taxation system, an income tax, a sales tax and a few sumptuary taxes, if a chancellor needs to raise revenue then let him explain himself and make a nice visible adjustment everybody can see and then everybody can expect to see the improvements, that the 1p on income tax or 1% on sales tax, promised

at least it'll stop the blatant lying and mystifying reasoning that politicians are coming out with to justify this tracking system / revenue replacement

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Anonymous Coward

My 2 pence worth...

So, I live in London and work in the City. A previous poster said that as the Congestion Charge works (actually, it doesn't) and we have a good infrastructure we don't mind road pricing.

Well, excuse me but I DO. The tubes, buses and trains in London are not that exceptional - although I do appreciate that they are vastly superior to the rest of the country. The trains are overcrowded, the tube lacks any sort of cooling system (does the rest of the country realise that when the temperature hits around 68F+, the temp on some parts of the network hits 90F?) and the buses aren't that much better.

The only way this could work is by vehicle tracking - it would cost way, way too much to install a TfL style system country-wide. So we are back to the Big Brother solution. A couple of points on this - if your "road (person) tracker" broke and you were getting free travel, how would you know? How would THEY know, more to the point? Will they introduce random car stops to check for trackers? Are they going to force everyone who has an older car to buy a tracker? More encouragement for the national ID database, so they know if you have a car and if you have fitted a tracker to it, in my opinion.

We are not losing our liberty, our freedoms and our country - they are already lost. Get out while you can - I am.

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Anonymous Coward

Folk ask when the London congestion charge became a success. Well obviously when it was first conceived and Red Ken claimed it was a success.

If traffic doesn't reduce, then the collected revenue is large, so you can claim a success. If only a small amount of revenue is collected because traffic avoids the zone and moves the congestion problem elsewhere, then again, less traffic within the zone so you can claim a success. Best of all you can catch out and fine visitors to the area who haven't cottoned on to what's going on.

In fact any outcome is a obviously a success, you just have to change the criteria used to judge it.

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Anonymous Coward

Be afraid - be very afraid

<-Begin rant...

By coincidence I took part in a telephone survey the other day conducted on behalf of the DoT, and some of the questions were very interesting to say the least, such as

If you had to pay to use the roads which would you prefer:-

30p per mile and no road tax or 20p per mile and keep the roadtax or 20p per mile and reduce fuel tax.

No concept of a realistic figure you'll notice

Either option we're shafted! For Mr.Average that does maybe 12,000 miles a year, that's a bill of £3600 a year instead of ~£200 road tax. But don't worry it'll all be spent improving the public transport system with the £100bn+ contribution to the cronies fund (yeah right!).

And let's look at what will happen logically. Implementation (if not gps based) will be done in town/city centres and motorways first. So Joe Public decides that in order to avoid it we'll all go to work on the A and B roads. Anyone tried driving into London from Bristol on the A4 recently? Congestion will become unbearable before any great government misguided vision gets anywhere near to reality, or as is more likely abandonment.

Blair/Brown/Cameron/The other one - it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always get in.

...end rant->

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And on the other side of the pond

Here in Austin there's been a flurry of toll road construction in the last year, with more on the way. There was a rebellion when several roads already paid for with tax dollars were proposed to be changed to toll roads.

So I pay $1.25 each way for a 6.6 mile stretch of road. I drive 80+ and am consistently passed by BMWs and Mercedes (when I see another car). The toll road authority had predicted thousands of cars per day, but from what I've seen, that's just not happening.

My Civic weighs 2800 pounds and gets 33 mpg. That means that my effective gas tax is $6.25 a gallon. A Hummer weighs 6000 pounds and get 15 mpg. His effective gas tax is around $3 a gallon, yet he does four times the damage to the road.

Raise my gas tax by $.50 a gallon. I'm paying $3.00 a gallon right now, $3.50 is nothing. And the toll only pays for those 6.6 miles, a gas tax pays for all the roads. And that Hummer will pay twice as much as I do. I'm a frugal liver. I'll pay cash for my next car (either another Civic or maybe a Fit). Let those Hummer drivers suffer with the payments on their $60,000 trucks and those gas payments. Maybe it'll cut back on their driving.

I used to home office. That was the ultimate fuel saver.

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