back to article Gov to Manchester: No new trams without road pricing

Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, has made it clear that Greater Manchester will lose £1.5bn in central government funding for public transport if local people don't agree to the use of road pricing for motorists. “There is no Plan B. I would not want people to be under any illusion about that,” said Mr Hoon, referring to …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most a motorist could pay...

    How much was the London one when that started?

    I predict the gear'll get trashed, we're not Londoners up here, we won't take this crap.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How the hell do we get rid of these jokers?

    >>"If the vote is ‘no', there will be no central government funding

    So it doesn't really matter what the people want or think - why is this bloke even in the government?

    Ignoring the lack of democracy (it's not like we have a democracy in the UK anyway, but it's nice to pretend sometimes) this is blatant bribery! Let's have a real unbiased show of hands, who REALLY wants road pricing where you have to worry about where you drive and when, just in case you hit a chargeable zone - it's not like we don't have enough things to worry about already!

    What's the betting the result would show the same sort of results as a poll regarding speed cameras and speed bumps?! (and let's be sure here only to poll motorists as they're the ones who're going to be paying!)

    Interesting display of dissatisfaction with the status quo here, note the first reference the the perp. is a "vigilante" .. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/uk-speed-camera-escapes-fire-attack/

    Obviously you can't go around doing things like this because it's illegal, but when are we going to start seeing government that actually represents the people?

    A question:: for those people who REALLY don't want all this congestion charging, road pricing etc etc, is there an alternative short of emigration?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1569400/Emigration-soars-as-Britons-desert-the-UK.html

  3. john loader

    Democracy in action

    YOU VILL DO AS WE SAY MANCHESTER.

    Don't you just love soft and cuddly Government?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Who would of thought it?

    The goverment resortng to blackmail in order to get it's plans through...

    Next they'll be telling us how good ID's cards are and if we don't have one, we cant get a job or benefits...Oh hold on...

    Can we have a "Che" icon? Come the revoloution....

  5. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    The thin end...

    of the wedge.

    Nothing like a bit of governmental blackmail (or, in these PC days, should that be referred to as 'African-ethnic-origin' mail) to get the ball rolling. If this starts in Manchester, it'll only be a matter of time before... yadda yadda yadda...

  6. Neil

    Do as I say

    Or I'll punch you in the face.

    That's what it comes down to, if you replace the above line with "take away all your funding."

    Bullying prick.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utter Rubblish

    "Manchester has seen a renaissance of economic growth in recent times, but has suffered from congestion as a result."

    Being a Mancunian who has worked most of his life in Manchester I would say that congestion has actually decreased over the past 5 years, even though the councils have used road narrowing and bus lanes to try to increase the perceived level of congestion. However, we have now started to suffer "strange" congestion events. Last week the traffic lights at a major junction with the M60 seemed to be completly out of sequence causing major holdups into Manchester, coinsidence that the vote is in December!!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Blackmail

    I would happily vote yes if we were guaranteed an improvement but I have no confidence there will be any improvement. There may be more tram lines which will benefit some, but don’t forget the Met is expensive to use on your commute to work.

    I have to commute by train from the centre of Manchester to the suburbs for work, and it is the worst train line I have ever had to use. In the last month there have been more then 5 train cancellations, and they regularly run late with no notice. I'm also charged a fortune to sit on a 20 year old train that doesn’t look like its been cleaned since it was made.

    Give us a guarantee things will change: timescales, improved timetables, improved punctuality, lower prices and I will vote yes. Also give us a guarantee that if improvement criteria are not met there will be no charge. But at the minute we are being blackmailed into voting yes.

  9. Random Noise
    Thumb Up

    Business Plan

    1) Buy office at Trafford Park

    2) Set up virtual office company

    3) When road pricing comes in- sell virtual offices complete with 'exemptions' on congestion charge

    4) Profit!

  10. Chris Miller
    Flame

    Gordon needs you!

    (Or, at least, your money.) This is purely about revenue-raising.

    If we were really serious about reducing congestion, we'd be investing in better public transport (more tramways like Manchester's might be a good place to start). There's no point (except to raise money - see above) in charging people for car journeys when there's no realistic alternative. When I'm stuck in a jam on the motorway, it isn't because I want to be there, it's because I've considered the use of public transport and decided that the car is the least worst option.

  11. James Delaney
    Thumb Down

    Democracy is a wonderful thing

    Can we have some in Britain please?

  12. Peter Kay

    The government can FRO

    The congestion charging is an excuse for an unwanted tax; congestion in Manchester has actually been going down over the past few years.

    Some of the transport improvements are pathetic, too:

    More carriages on peak time trains - oh, like they shouldn't be doing this otherwise?

    No more trains, peak or offpeak.

    A pointless high speed bus lane between Bolton and Manchester when there is a high speed, uncongested lane taken by a thing called a 'train' already at half the price and three times the speed of a bus..

    A new Bolton bus station at millions of pounds, when it'd be cheaper just to run free shuttle buses for less than a mile between the main bus station and the railway station bus station..

    No new night buses.

    No reviewing of train timetables, to fix situations where stations that have 2-3 times the number of passengers as other stations have half the trains..

    Not to mention the vast amount of money spent on convincing people they won't pay the congestion charge, when in fact they will (if it's going to hit very few people, where's the money going to come from?).

    Muppets. Come back when you've put on more trains on off peak times, more night trains, reduced the ridiculous prices for new bus routes so bus companies can actually run night buses again and generally made it easier and cheaper for people to get where they want, when they want.

    I hope this pointless waste of time and money is soundly rejected by voters.

  13. stizzleswick
    Coat

    @AC from 11:41 GMT

    I think you're overlooking something here. If they don't introduce the fees, the city will end up in a terminal permanent gridlock. London used to have that problem, too, if memory serves.

    And if you want to escape the fees, get yourself a scooter; anything with less than four wheels is exempt. Saves a lot of petrol, too, and you don't have to worry about a parking space either. Put a topcase on it, add a trailer and take along a backpack and you're all set for a shopping spree. Never mind the cars standing around waiting for each other to get out of the way, there's always space enough for a scooter to come through.

    Mine's the one with the Aprilia logo.

  14. Michael

    democracy?

    "If the vote is ‘no', there will be no central government funding," said Mr Hoon

    .. before going on to complain about the cynicism of the electorate regarding politicians, no doubt.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NuGov Knows Best

    Who the hell do the people think they are thinking they can tell NuGov what to do! And what are they doing thinking NuGov should be spending money on improving their cities without giving NuGov and its loyalist quangos and central police corp more money?

    Anyway they should have to have a working, efficent public transport network long before any form of car restrictions are put in place.

    Also - lets be honest, if they do vote yes the trams wont be built anyway and the buses wont run. NuGov doesn't make money out of trams and buses, NuGov makes money out of cars and taxes.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    isnt Blackmail ilegal?

    apparantly not under this government.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you gets what you votes for

    Well considering Manchester and Newcastle keep these people in power, perhaps its time they stopped pampering the two and dished out some of what we've had to put up with since the Marxists came in.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Great.

    It's expensive enough living right in the city centre and running a car.. £120 a month for a car parking spot, huge car tax hikes, giant fuel bills, MOT, servicing, ridiculous insurance costs (Ever tried insuring a car in the M1 postcode? Go get a quote!)... and come 2013 quite possibly more tax. £25 a week minimum (assuming I become a weekend-hermit) on top.

    Hell, I may as well give up now!

  19. Peter Labrow

    Blackmail

    I can't think of a better word. Pointless vote, then. You lose, or - er - you lose. Choose the manner of your loss.

  20. Alexis Vallance
    Thumb Down

    Cobblers

    Looking forward to us in Manchester voting out this terrible terrible scheme.

    Government promises trams, changes its mind and then decides it will only happen in the form of a loan, paid for by the very people who won't be using public transport. Government gets its road pricing masterplan started and if it all fails, the local council takes the flak.

    So at the moment we've got the pro-lobby coming up with all sorts of schemes to brainwash people into thinking they'll be a transport revolution, when in reality poor drivers will have to fork out even more for a few extra trams and buses, which they'll never use. Favourite tactics of the pro-lobby also include the doomsday scenario (congestion will get so bad it'll damage the economy) and that if you don't vote for it you're some sort of selfish 'me-me-me' (their favourite phrase at the moment), when in fact people are not charities.

    Not to mention that it won't solve congestion because people will just grumble and pay the charge. The only way to get people out of their cars is to price the charge so high (£15, £20) that they'll have no choice.

    And once it's in, they'll have free reign to up the prices, extend the hours and extend the zone.

    I'm hoping Mancunians won't be stupid enough to vote themselves a new tax.

  21. Chris Gibson

    Idiot

    Nothing like the subject of cars and taxes to bring the idiots out of the woodwork.

    The government is simply stating that if Manchester introduces a congestion charge, the government will top up the money raised with additional funding. How is that bribery? If you don't think that the additional funding will make up for the fact that there'll be a congestion charge, don't vote for it.

    Also, why on earth would you only poll motorists? This is a quality of life issue for everyone who lives in Manchester. You might as well say, "What should I fund the fire service for? My house isn't on fire".

    Oh, and moaning about speed cameras is pathetic as well. If you don't want to get caught on a speed camera, don't speed past it. If you think that speed limits are unfair, or too low, then argue that point -- don't just fantasise about setting fire to the cameras. Perhaps you think that everyone should be able to drive as fast as they want? Fair enough, but you might change your mind if you ever kill someone while doing 40 in a 30 zone. Then again, I suspect that you also hate traffic wardens, and that you'd like everyone to be able to park wherever they want, whenever they want. I bet that'd work really well in practice.

    Finally, saying smugly, "Of course, this country isn't really a democracy" is a sure sign of being a complete tit. This is an additional chance for people to have their say, in a fair vote, on top of local and general elections. You think that emigration might be the only answer? Well, why don't you emigrate to Zimbabwe, or Georgia, or Russia? Go and tell people there that we don't have democracy in the UK, and see what they think.

  22. Lee
    Flame

    Excellent - I bet this is how it would pan out:

    Step One: People agree to road pricing

    Step Two: Government agrees to funding public transport expansion

    Step Three: Government starts earning from road pricing

    .......

    ............

    .....................

    Step Nine Hundred and Seventy Six (twelve years later): Improvements in public transport begin

    Icon taken and I don't even live in the People's Republic of Mancunia!

  23. Steve
    Thumb Up

    I live in Manchester...

    And I drive. I also cycle, use public transport, and walk (five+ miles in to the town centre if it's nice!).

    Now I've got that out of the way I'd just like to say that I'm happy that this is now being made clear. The No campaign are purely focusing on the charge. Although they aren't saying it they are letting people think that they can have the improvements without the charge. What they aren't doing is putting forward a viable alternative. The buses and the trams are ok, though horribly overcrowded. The buses are better on over crowding (you can usually get a seat), but are horribly delayed by the traffic. Where is the no campaigns alternative?!

    Anyway, I'll be voting for the improvements and the charge when my voting papers turn up.

  24. Dale

    The most a motorist could pay would be £5 daily

    Ha ha, that was the case in London too. Then they increased it by 60% in one go.

    Which is easier to get people to agree to? Start the scheme at £8, or start it at "only" £5 (come on, it's only a fiver), then ramp it up after a couple of years? Fortunately in London there were morons in charge and the next increment they thought up was £25. They were voted out. Presumably Manchester is already not a Labour stronghold so they don't have any local election to lose.

  25. TeeCee Gold badge

    Hang on a tick.

    So, the government's taking existing public money designated for a specific purpose (public transport in Manchester) and using it for a different purpose (bribing Manchester to take congestion charging).

    I do believe that's fraud.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just another tax

    They've already started cutting up large parts of the road system in the north of the city in preparation for extended tram lines. This despite being told we're not getting government funding if we don't vote for the congestion charge. It's almost like Manchester City Council know the charge is going through...

    They're going about it the right way, though - over the last 6 months, roadworks for this and over developments have brought much of the northern access to the City to a grinding halt during rushhour. There's the congestion they're talking about, it's just that it's caused by extended roadworks, rather than too much traffic for the road system to handle.

    They're also doing lovely things such as completely failing to pre-warn of imminent road closures, and scheduling roadworks to start the day after half-term holidays etc...just to maximise driver frustration and inconvenience.

    Oh yeah - do you know the official website for the congestion charge campaign? 'wevoteyes.co.uk'. Not bias at all with that domain...

    If I sound cynical, it's because I work in the City Centre and live just outside the proposed outer-ring, so face paying the full whack every day!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funding?

    >>"If the vote is ‘no', there will be no central government funding

    I assume residants have the option of cutting central government funding (i.e. taxes) themselves?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Something needs to done

    I live around Manc: no of course I don't really want road pricing, but the traffic in the rush hours (and increasingly outside of these as well) is getting unbearable! Summat needs to happen to try and sort it, and if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem...

    Go, 'cos well I'd like to be able to on the M60 for a change :-(

  29. Dan
    Thumb Down

    Nothing but an extra tax

    First thing: Much of the congestion is artificial. Hardly-used bus lanes, cycle lanes that reduce a 2-lane road to 1 lane with chevrons in the gap next to the cycle lane, kerbed central reservations to throttle the traffic flow, movement of bus-stops from in the layby to being on the road proper, the list goes on. Some of the most obvious stuff is the recent resequencing of the traffic lights or (not typically both on a given route) major increase in roadworks on the majority of the arterial routes. This has a sinister side to it when you think about it, since the planners that do this stuff don't (I think) have an overt political agenda, so who is behind them pulling the strings to implement all this?

    Second thing: So much has changed just because it has become rather obvious that a NO vote was all too likely - none of the exemptions mentioned in the article existed betore a couple of weeks ago. Several public debates have taken place around the city, the most recent one ended with an audience vote of 43 to 12 against the charge.

    Third thing: The idea that only drivers will be hit financially is a fallacy. The fact is that the local government will take a lot of revenue for this, and that has to be replaced or remain missing from elsewhere. Lower disposable income for the drivers, but the knock-on effect for many companies will be increases in wages, and costs will inevitably be passed onto the customers. Everyone part of the Greater Manchester economy will pay in one way or another.

    Fourth thing: Where public transport has even proved viable (i.e. in London), have the fares not risen substantially? On top of the taxes already paid, drivers in manchester are being asked to pay extra to use the roads at a particular time, for which the revenue will pay for additional vehicles, staff etc for PRIVATE companies, who will then raise their fares as the charge takes hold.

    Fifth thing: The supporters of this scheme cannot make their minds up about what the charge is for - congestion? saving the environment? eliminating the school run? All these excuses and many more have been trotted out in the past, but the maths doesn't stack up. They say that hardly anyone will be affected, but if that was the case then the government loan would never get paid back would it? (Remember that £1.8 of the total 3 billion investment is merely a loan) London and Stockholm schemes show that the administration and enforcement costs of these schemes tends to be VERY high.

    Sixth thing: Allegedly a lot of city centre businesses support the scheme, but look at London - people adjust their finances and carry on driving, so the net result is zero change is traffic, big increase in tax revenues.

    It's nothing but an extra tax. Much of Manchester city centre is thriving these days, but the parts of the centre that aren't, together with business competition from Trafford, Liverpool, Cheshire Oaks, out-of-town business parks etc will make Manchester a less viable commercial investment.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Typical..

    ..of 'buff Hoon' and the rest of this lousy nulabour government. Just do what you are told, OK? Then we won't have to worry about this inconvenient democracy stuff. Meh!

  31. Ed

    Where do I start?

    So, if they don't vote yes for something that will be blatantly unpopular, then they'll cancel a bunch of badly needed public transport investment? So the chances of them having to pay for the public transport investment are quite small.

    The DfT can seem to justify road building even after massive cost increases, but try to build a tram system or reopen a railway and there's much sucking of teeth and millions wasted on feasibility studies, that delay the project so much that cost increases to the point they kill it off (they compare the build cost against the original benefit value). See Liverpool's Trams or the East West Rail Link as examples of both.

    You'll notice that, generally, building and maintaining roads is referred to as an "investment", but public transport is always a "subsidy".

  32. Kevin Gurney
    Thumb Down

    Money making machine

    I drive past the Trafford Centre on my way to work - in fact I cut through the outer congestion area right on the edge due to using the M60.

    I don't work on a bus route and there are no stations near by. The trams don't go anywhere near so looks like I have no choice but to pay the cahrge or change jobs.

    Or instead of driving on the nice big three lane motorway, I can do what everybody else in the same situation will do and use a route taking me on the nice little A roads through towns to avoid it.

    Defeats the point a bit really - think of all teh extra pollution caused by all those cars doing a stop / start route to work.

    More money grabbing - makes me wonder what I pay my road tax for when I have to pay again to actually use the roads.

    Sooner that road tax is abolished and included in the price of fuel the better. The more you use the road, the more you pay.

  33. andy gibson
    Unhappy

    Disaster

    It's interesting that those of us who live outside Manchester, but work in Manchester and socialise in Manchester don't get a say in whether we want the charge or not.

    It's also interesting that since 1999 plans have been in place for the "Leigh Guided Busway" - a guided busway running from Leigh (Andy Burnham's constituency) to the West of Manchester right into the city running alongside the very congested A580. A couple of years ago the project went very quiet. Now its back again, part of the big bribe into voting yes.

  34. Simon B
    Thumb Down

    yet another money making scam on motorists

    Manchester has seen a renaissance of economic growth in recent times, but has suffered from congestion as a result. Local politicians fear that unless something is done, the city will miss out on jobs and wealth in coming years.

    Yep, and if they introduce this, the city will STILL miss out on jobs and wealh in the coming years because people like me will go ELSEWHERE; i.e. brum, instead of Manchester.

  35. Glyn
    Flame

    advertising

    The advertising for the yes campaign is among the most offensive I've ever seen. They all go along the same lines but my personal favourite says "I travel the other way so I won't have to pay it"

    Are they deliberately promoting this kind of selfishness or are they hoping to ride a wave of voter apathy in to victory? Obviously they won't be riding the tram as they're on the council so will be exempt from the charge.

    I've never seen any advertising for the no campaign.How do they get away with spending council tax money (which is going up) on this piffle.

    There was a "business leader" (what ever that means) on the telly a few weeks back and he was saying he wanted it so his employees and customers could get to his place of business without hitting any traffic jams. The problem with that me old chum is everyone else wants the same for their employees & customers. Why are you so special that you get first call on the city's roads?

    And another thing.... :P

  36. Dave Silver badge
    Stop

    Alternative cities?

    So Geoff thinks that there are plenty of other cities that will be keen to have road pricing?

    Perhaps Edinburgh? It has been almost two years since we last rejected road pricing, perhaps it is time to try again.

    Why the insistence on tying public transport funds to road restrictions? The reverse is never happens - they don't build a new road when they shut down a railway line...

  37. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Yeah, like it won't go up !

    " The most a motorist could pay would be £5 daily, as opposed to the £8 London rate"

    And it only cost £5 at first in London, then went up, and the mad newt fancier was going to put it up to £25. Once the wedge is in there, you can be sure that the charges will go up, the "one way" charging will get dropped, the zones will enlarge, etc, etc.

    Don't be fooled by promises to the contrary - after all, the cameras in London were only ever supposed to be for charge zone enforcement !

  38. Gulfie
    Coat

    Whatever happened to...

    ... that great integrated transport policy we were promised in the run-up to, and aftermath of, the '97 election?

    Nice to see that Labour are still cultivating a line of back-door taxes though.

    In the last ten years we have had...

    - Unregulated busses ignore unprofitable routes

    - Trains that are getting smaller, less frequent and more expensive to travel on

    - Runways! Runways! Runways! and air fares cheaper than train fares for the same journey!

    - Resumption of road building and introduction of road pricing

    - Increases in fuel duty and road tax

    - Little or no requirement for co-ordination between service providers using the same hubs (bus-bus, bus-train, train-train)

    - Reduced subsidies for public transport

    - Above inflation ticket price rises

    What we need is properly co-ordinated and subsidised local and national transport networks that encourage people to get out of their cars and onto the trains and busses. If the private companies can't be made to work for the interest of the country and the paying public then re-nationalise the buggers so that 'profit' becomes 'investment' or better yet 'price cuts'. Oh, I vote conservative BTW but I don't expect for one moment that things will get better because there are far too many snouts in troughs.

    Mine's the one with the passport in the pocket.

  39. MARK

    Try a maximum of £10 per day

    Unlike London you will be charged EACH time you pass a boundry up to a maximum of £10 per day, so delivery and taxi drivers will be hammered.

  40. Frederick Karno

    You will do it our way or else !!!!

    As has been stated .........This minister is just enforcing a line that has been taken on all projects,you will do it our way or else !!!!

    Democracy has nothing to do with this at all , and much of the budget would be taken up installing all the control equipment necessary...........

    So Manchester if you want any of them taxes back that you contribute to the Government you are going to have to do what they say........and be quick about it or you will have to sit on the naughty step.

  41. Bernie Cavanagh
    Flame

    Bernie

    This whole congestion myth is a pile of crap. The only reason that there is major congestion in Manchester is because some smart ass in the council saw an opportunity after the IRA bomb and decided it was a good idea to completely fuck up the road system therebye as in London with the traffic lights fiasco, create "congestion" when it suited them.

    Just watch the price of fairs go through the roof after the first six months.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    wtf?

    If motorists won't pay, the non-motorists don't get a new tram? The sooner these pillocks get voted out of office, the better.

  43. Alexis Vallance

    Alternatives

    "What they aren't doing is putting forward a viable alternative. The buses and the trams are ok, though horribly overcrowded. The buses are better on over crowding (you can usually get a seat), but are horribly delayed by the traffic. Where is the no campaigns alternative?!"

    Well, the alternatives are to do nothing (nowt wrong with that one - the city won't face meltdown) and/or improve the road network.

    Look at proper cities - New York, LA, Houston. They've got massive 8 lane freeways and roads coming out of their ears. Manchester has got the 2 lane Mancunian Way and the entire of the city trying to get onto the M60 from the M602 every night BY ONE LANE.

    Manchester is a village compared with the big cities of the world - try improving its 1960's road network before trying to charge people.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    you forget the airport trams lines that never came

    with all your focus on the central manchester charges you all forget that the Greater manchester and the govt alalready promised you the south manchester airport trams lines that never came several times before.

    they CPed the houses along the way they wanted to run the lines through in wythenshawe etc, and NEVER used them, they took that cash away too, nothing will be different, and we dont all work in the centre 10 miles away you know even though the Govt took all the work places,shops ,schools and sold them off to private housing corps aso we have even less jobs and schools in the south manchester airport area's today, as a direct resolt of this Manchester labour run govt for 30 years+ of sell offs and broken promises.

    we cant afford to get the bus into central manchester anyway as we dont earn enough to do more than the basics, and you in govt are not trusted to keep your words regarding the trams that are eternally promised, cash found to buy the houses in the way, bonuses going the the people in the know (you know who you are) inside the manchester central town hall, and the shell shops setup in the wythenshawe civic centre shopping area offices to manage the so clled re-generation that never happens

    what a joke to call civic a shopping centre, as its just £1 shops and 1 cig shop that goes paypoint electric plus backhanded asda that thought they were going to make a mint, but found theres no money around here if your not in the govt know.... cash flow.

    south manchester airport, one of the UKs most profitable companys, inside the wythenshawe (once the EUs largest so called gargen city were all the MPs wanted to live inthe 60s) were the govt and central manchester sell off the vluble land to housing to get the No's up, and tere down the long standing small businesses and schools to put these rabit hutch houses on there, more houses we DONT need, far less jobs, comerce and education we DO NEED, and stil no tram lines they had the cash for and spend it on their other things instead outside the south manchester airport area's once again.

    take a very close look at the airport and the tram lines set asside already payed for but not enacted financing over the last 30 years to get the real picture, theis car ownership and paying int he centre is just a smoke screen, that s coming to your local community centre sometime soon....

  45. Peter Lee
    Thumb Down

    I'm definitely voting no

    I've lived and worked in and around Manchester all my life and I too have seen congestion decrease over the years (apart from the previously mentioned weird "events" of late where traffic light sequences have been changed etc.) I use public transport every day, travelling in on the Liverpool-Manchester line on a train which was found by Transport 2000 to be the fifth busiest train in the UK last year, managing to get a seat every once in a blue moon, seeing people turned away from Oxford Road station of an evening when the train is about to leave as it is so crowded... and this is where the train starts from. I have a car I only ever use at the weekends or at night, and if I travel into the city over the weekend I use the train. And even having said this, I'm still voting no.

    Look at the website for the plans (www.gmfuturetransport.co.uk) and you'll see some incredibly vague statements: "improvements", "increases", but no concrete details. "Improvements" are slated for one of my local stations but what are they to be? Apparently they amount to a glorified bus shelter on the platform. Wow. As for "increases" if this relates to buses one extra bus would be an increase, which would hardly be any help at all, and if a train is 77% overcrowded a single extra carriage would still mean a significant chunk of the existing passengers (not counting those who suddenly start to catch the train when the charge comes in) had to stand.

    The vast majority of the "investments" are planned to go into the Metrolink tram system, which is currently being extended as I write this. The additional extensions will mainly be a link to Manchester Airport (already serviced by a train every 15-20 minutes direct from Piccadilly), a link to Oldham town centre (tram lines are currently being extended to the outskirts of Oldham), and also a link through Trafford Park to the Trafford Centre, but how many people in the city centre will really want to go there, or vice versa?

    Some crazy moves are also planned too, such as a number of park & ride schemes will be created, but the car parks will be inside the charge rings, so if you want to use public transport to get into town but need to use a park & ride you'll still be charged. Barmy. All in all the whole thing seems ill-conceived and very poorly planned.

    What would I personally have preferred? Well, seeing as the council are quoting figures such as 1 in 10 people will end up paying the congestion charge this means the "loan" from the Government will take a ridiculously long time to repay, and hitting the drivers alone (although public transport users will also see their fares increase post-charge) seems unfair, so wouldn't it have been better to add say £2 per month to council tax payments, and that way EVERYONE pays regardless of whether they drive? Better still, why can't we be like Edinburgh, where the referendum received a massive "no" vote and yet trams are being installed right now?

  46. Paul C. Hartley
    Black Helicopters

    Its all a scam...

    Yes it is true to say that some of the routes into and out of Manchester are congested at rush hour times but the roads are generally clear the rest of the time. In many cases the congestion is purely the result of really bad road layout, daft priorities and poor traffic and parking enforcement.

    None of the proposals address the god awful congestion on the orbital motorway. In fact these proposals actually make them worse as drivers wanting to travel from one side of manchester to the other will be inclined to drive OUT to the motorway and then around the outside of the city on the already clogged motorway system.

    The vote yes campaign takes great pain to point out who will not have to pay the road toll but in many cases many of these people are the ones who cause much of the congestion. In the north of Manchester it is interesting to note that much of the congestion is in the suburbs and eases as you get closer to the city centre. Much of this is caused by the school run and as these drivers are traveling within the proposed charging zones without actually passing a charging point, they would not be subject to the charge.

    Many of the Improvements to the public transport network are truely crap and others are kind of what you would expect as general maintenance of this infrastructure. For instance apparently we will get more yellow school busses but this amounts to a single bus for some areas like the small hamlet of Stockport or the village of Bury (There is irony here as these are two of the biggest outlying towns around Manchester, with Bury being the administrative town for Bury MBC)

    As regards having MORE buses. This is not nesseseraly an urgent requirement. What manchester needs are the buses already out there being deployed in a more intelegent fashion - ie, lets not completely jam up the city centre by having a bus route war between two of Manchesters biggest bus companies along Manchesters busiest route all stopping at the same stop in the city centre. When there are more than sixty buses per hour on that single route and only two buses per day on others you need to fire the persone responsible for organising the routes and assignments.

    Staying with buses for a minute, these bus companies are private companies with shareholders operating along routes decided by the local transport authority. Why is the government giving them a loan to improve their service especially when this is a loan tha the public is going to pay back by way of the road toll. The reason why people do not like using the buses is tha they are often dirty and crowded and over charging is rife. Why should a 75p fare turn into £1.75 fare because the driver chooses to ring up a ticket for the full route so I end up with a ticket to go eight miles up the road to Bury instead of just half a mile to the stop I want because the driver does not know what stop I am asking for or due to lack of training or an all too common language barrier.

    The truth is that the congestion charging project is just one big experiment for the government to try out road charging and how it would work on a large area around a major british city. Too much of the proposal is about giving or lending money to private organisations to get them to improve their service and in all cases the plan is for road users to pay back any loans on these companies behalf.

    and no I do not drive into town every day, I use public transport.

  47. Lonesome Twin
    Alert

    Something missing?

    Am I wrong or has the new Northern BBC not mentioned this debate at all? It is after all, proper news that will affect the entire country in the end, and throws the same light on .gov machinations that the opt-out donor scheme raises. All consulations external to its own domain are purely for PR purposes and have no bearing on policy - that is already decided.

    So as the old graffiti goes - don't vote it only encourages them!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Lights

    This is such a setup it is unreal. I have been driving the 20 mile round trip to city centre every day for 5 years. All of a sudden, after some 'widening' work done on the junction of M60 and A56 at Sale\Stretford (which is no wider whatsoever...) that lasted months, the same junction has now had its traffic lights sequence altered so that traffic on the way into town now gets less time to cross the junction thus creating a rather large queue that - between 8am and say 8.45am tails back all the way into Sale.

    And it's not just that junction - the lights at Dane Road preceeding the M60 junction, and the lights at Stretford also appear to have been 'adjusted' surruptitiously.

    Experiencing this myself first hand every morning lends massive credibility in my eyes to the posters above stating that North manchester entry routes are the same. It is a setup, designed to make us drivers think that the roads are more congested than they are.

    Charge comes in, lights get put back on 'normal', congestion clears up and 'god save the government' for thinking up this genius road charging plan.

    What a farce. And no i'm not a conspiracy theorist, i don't think bush caused 911 and that aliens are already here, i'm just a bloody fed up motorist with that much time on my hands sat in traffic that I do notice the traffic light changes!!

    Almost as much of a farce as the lollipop ladies trafford council have seen fit to post at the pedestrian crossings on said A56!!! Hold on. Traffic lights go red, cars stop. People cross. Lights go green, little red man appears - cars drive on, peds stop. We've managed it for years since the history of the car. But no, trafford council seem to think we are incapable of recognising a red light, so pay x pounds a day to have these women stood there CONSTANTLY pressing the button on the ped crossing so that the lights are CONSTANTLY going red even when there might not be anybody waiting to cross. WTF is that all about!??!?!. (admittedly it probably doesn't waste as much tax payers money as wars\MP expenses etc....).

    This country is getting very very weird...

    PS great shout by poster above - if central gov won't give us a share of the pot that we are all legally bound to pay into, then surely we have a right not to put into it?! morally if not legally.

    Paris because she would do something more entertaining with a lollipop.....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is bribery/coercion !

    I live in a suburb of Manchester lucky enough to have a MetroLink station 5 mins walk from my house. I DO use the metro going into Manchester. I also have a car to commute (car share) to work - but I work in Liverpool so the proposed congestion charge will not affect me.

    However the "Yes" campaign has posted the most cringing, smug publicity enough to make anyone vote "NO".

    Metro trams have had no new carriages since it was built despite being overcrowded, suddenly a "contibution" from government being available if we vote ourselves a tax (- sorry "charge") in addition to road tax, fuel tax, (motor) insurance tax, not to mention council tax!!! Odd that, I don't think there was such a problem when the government "loaned" millions to the rail companies in the south east for more carriages. Before anyone in the south east moan re the fares increases: yes, there are large fares here also on the metro/bus. There's something else interesting re this "charge" - the only (2) councils against this are Conservative run and were under pressure to "modify" their views because they could veto the proposal when it was just a council-vote. Now we have a referendum to get past the "veto" scenario; now central government is threatening to withhold stumping up (our ) money to improve the transport if we don't vote yes; expensive "Yes" campaign by the Passenger Transport Executive and a "consortium" of "interested bodies" (public).

    Councils and companies who have supported the "No" vote have been attacked and pilloried by the "Yes" campaign.

    If the local people vote "No"; a large part of the vote will be those who, looking to the past, do not trust the track record (haha) of the "yes" consortium and the bribe/stick wielded by central government. To see central government for what it is as a transport partner, we only have to look at Liverpool where the tram system was dumped because the government refused to guarantee of a paltry £157 million, having stung a cash strapped Liverpool council millions in feasibility / promotion costs.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the UE payed , we didnt get the tram anyway.

    "wtf?

    By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 17th November 2008 13:36 GMT

    If motorists won't pay, the non-motorists don't get a new tram? The sooner these pillocks get voted out of office, the better."

    its just the same crased stockmarkets planing central manchester did last time to wythenshawe and the whole south manchester airport economy, more fail coming our way.

    and if you beleave the figures from a few years ago as related to central Manchester and its criminal running of the airport franchise etc, they were promised a tram line, it was financed,and ruberstamped.

    they planed it to run through the main wythenshawe civic centre, build the newest and greatest indoor/outdoor market to replace the wythenshzwe marketplace that got distroyed by sello off its ground to Mwdonnalds and BK after the last stock market crash

    and finally give the remaining black cabs that cant even make a living on the airport due to the cash tax there too, a new rank in the centre of the shopping walkway so people have incentive to use them instead of dragging their shopping past the old bus depo thats in need to leveling and building again somewere else.

    infact just level the whole wythenshawe civic centre, and buld it the right way with a cinema, real shops that you want to come to and spend your money, hell just to be able to buy what you want and need there would be an improvent....

    simply put , the central manchester council are re-runing the old credit crunch crash in wythenshawe, and its tram lines promisees, however this time they didnt build it up, or put back anything of value there cinse the last times they cashed in and so theres NOTHING HERE anymore to give people incentive to put money into the place outside the airport franchise buildings, hell they dont even mention the airports smack bang in the middle of the UKs poorest area head for head......

    what use of this non existant tram line that never gets here good for, we cant use it to get new jobs here were its needed, or repace two major work areas that dont exist anymore, only houses we dont need or want any more of.....

    wythenshawe has something 33000+ houses and no real work around the south manchester, and manchester city council keep making it werse, by charging you to go 10miles north to get your most basic needs met in the centre.....

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Just one comment for so far?

    Must be time for labour to get its press office into action then

  52. EvilGav

    At least . . .

    . . . the citizens of Mancunia are getting a vote on trams.

    We here in Edinburgh weren't given a vote, as far as I can tell not one person wants them here, they aren't going to run any more regularly or on more routes than the existing buses and pretty much wont benefit the people in Edinburgh at all.

    For this we are having the roads dug up all over the place over a 3 year period, firstly to move all the services (gas, water, electric - so they all get subsidies to upgrade their own equipment) and then closed at a later date to put the rails in (no-one has yet said why they couldn't just do it all in one go).

    Trams can work, in Amsterdam they work fantasticaly well, but they disappeared from British cities for a reason.

  53. N1AK

    Labour Foot Shooting

    These plans won't come into effect until well after the next election, if the 'no' campaign wins and Labour drops all the public transport plans for Manchester they are setting the Converservatives up with an easy vote winner in the elections.

  54. Simon Greenwood

    Nothing has changed

    The public transport improvements were never not dependent on road pricing, which stank in the first place. GMPTE has run ahead with the Rochdale and Oldham extensions to the tram as a carrot for the yes vote but also as a fait accompli for the completion of the extensions. However Geoff Hoon is just reiterating what was said when the bid was accepted.

    It is hugely unacceptable as a transport policy. The logical answer is encourage people out of their cars and to do this by improving public transport, but public transport policy suffers from the same firm belief that the people running it know best that got us into the state that we're in now.

  55. Brian
    Stop

    Look at the implementation

    There's more to this than meets the eye - the use of tags means that once the Manchester road-pricing system is implemented, tags for road pricing schemes are likely to be made compulsory nationwide.

    Just more Neues Arbeit surveillance - Hun needs to be taken out and shot.

  56. Henny
    Go

    flexitime?

    why not just offer the companies in Manchester incentives to allow their staff to work Flexitime?

    I drive 28miles into Manchester every morning and it seldom takes me more than 55 minutes (half is country roads, half is main roads or motorways)... but that's only because I get into work after 9:30 (and so would also miss the congestion charge!)

    I also leave work at just gone 6pm and so again, miss the congestion charge time for exiting the city and also miss pretty much all of the traffic...

    I've done this same journey for the last 10 years, and congestion HAS got better, not worse as they've improved the M60 and the Parkway for drivers.... public transport however, sucks if you live any further than 10 miles out of the city... improve that, and I may get out of my car...

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Guess what...

    When the road pricing thingy reared it's head again the other week I put in a petition at the government web site. As of yet my petition hasn't been made live, or rejected.

    That, as far as I am concerned, is censorship. .. because they know full well what would happen should another petition on the road pricing schemes become live ... the people would speak and the government would get trounced.

  58. CarlMc
    Unhappy

    Congestion

    My journey from my house in Bolton to work in the centre of Manchester took a full 25 minutes this morning, damned congestion, when will my misery ever end?

  59. Alexis Vallance
    Go

    Lots of no's

    Interesting the huge number of no's on here. Like the Manchester Evening News site, the vast majority are against.

    The only place where there seems to be a lot support on the internet is at Sky Scraper News - I assume because most people there are city planners, as opposed to the general public on here and the MEN.

    I really would be surprised if this vote ended up with the yes's getting any more than 40%.

    So 60:40 against is my prediction for the referendum.

  60. Tony Hoyle

    Shenanigans

    There's definately been some shenanigans with the lights, and several cases of halving the width of roads by putting a useless bus lane (always empty) in there.

    The M602->M60 connection is a sick joke. They could reduce most of the percieved congestion by sorting that out. Not that they're going to do it, even if drivers pay the tax.

    I've seen *nothing* promised as a result of this tax that is new. It all looks like old plans that are being waved in front of people. The metrolink expansion was promised then ditched by the government so they could build another london underground station... the metrolink is a private company that makes a profit. If they want to expand they can do - taxing non-users of the network is ridiculous.. they can get a bloody bank loan like any other company.

    This will cost almost everyone here £50 a week that they can't afford. We've already made plans as a company to move offices outside manchester... it's a hell of a lot cheaper to move than increase salaries by that much just to cover the transport tax.

    God knows what's going to happen to the prices in the city centre.. the shops are going to have to bear the salary increases somehow (or just let everyone leave and find work elsewhere, I guess).

    Oh and I don't think it really matters how we vote.. they'll do it anyway. Or rig the vote.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    it disnae really matter how you vote...

    ... the government [or in this case manchester city council] always wins.

    there's no chance whatsoever of the 'no' vote being allowed to prevail, no matter what the actual voting figures are. anyone who believes otherwise has a rather naive faith in both local democracy and the honesty of manchester city council in particular.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Chris Gibson

    'The government is simply stating that if Manchester introduces a congestion charge, the government will top up the money raised with additional funding. How is that bribery?'

    Do as we want and we'll give you a large wedge of extra cash, don't do as we want and we won't give you any extra cash.

    Sounds pretty much text book bribery to me. It's about as subtle as having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

    Paris, unlike Manchester residents she can say no if she doesn't want her pants pulled down..

  63. stizzleswick
    Thumb Down

    @Alexis Vallance

    "Look at proper cities - New York, LA, Houston. They've got massive 8 lane freeways and roads coming out of their ears."

    Yep. Thing is, those cities were PLANNED in a straight-lines grid and then constructed according to those plans. Manchester was built a little earlier in history, so if you want to turn it into a grid with some 8-laners, you'll first have to tear down the entire city, because most streets currently follow the paths of the sheep that were herded there around 1.000 BCE.

  64. John Savard Silver badge

    Puzzling

    Aside from the congestion charge, Manchester has other means of raising revenue. It is reasonable for the national government not to contribute to local transit for Manchester unless Manchester pays for a proportion of it, on the basis that it isn't paying for a little transit, but helping to pay for a lot.

    Congestion charges are intended, like an expansion of transit, to encourage using transit for going to work, and to discourage using cars to go to work. So things almost make sense.

    The congestion charges require a referendum. Presumably, people will vote yes if they aren't affected, because they would benefit from more transit. People who aren't likely to use the new transit, even after the improvements, will vote no.

    Ah. Now this is almost making sense. If this is a waste of government money, because even after they improve transit, most people will still use their cars to go to work, the referendum will be voted down by those people. So, if Manchester wants the money, it should come up with a plan that shows that after they spend it, the people there will be able to get to work with transit!

    Only one flaw. The transit will work so well that the congestion charges won't raise enough money to help with paying for it. Except that I really doubt they'll have to worry about that happening.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    The money is a side issue

    Please, please remember that the money is a side issue. This is about getting a surveillance infrastructure in place. About getting a system that can tell and log each and every traveller into Manchester. As noted in London, Plod now has unrestricted real time access to the information stream from the congestion charging ANPR cameras 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, even though the charging periods are less than that. So in Manchester the ANPR will be recording those going in and out, all day, every day regardless of what charging regime they announce. This will undoubtedly be supported by an "oyster-like" smartcard ticketing system as one of the public transport "benefits", that just happens to log every journey made by the purchaser for the benefit of Plod and others.

    Regardless of any perceived financial penalty threatened by our Overlords, this scheme must be defeated. Otherwise for years to come: "Just why were you going into Manchester at that time Mr Jones? We don't think you had any legitimate business then. What was your terrorist motive, Mr Jones?"

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Chris Gibson

    Dear Chris,

    Lets say for a second that we all enter into the lovely world proposed by our darling, super and caring government. Why now, every car owner has an electric car. That results in zero road tax for everyone.

    Great, but where does the government find the money to replace the road tax?

    Simple, pay as you go roads. The more convenient or highly used the bigger the charge I'll bet. We WILL end up paying more to travel less, mark my words.

    Direct Line insurance keep running ads about the ~1.5 million uninsured divers on the roads, I wonder what it would be like if there where 1.5 million less drivers on the roads instead? So why not ban people with no insurance for life?

    People WILL get up in arms about being charged to go through a "zone", freedom to travel started in Victorian times, when trains enabled people to travel to other parts of this green and septic isle with ease. Motorcars added to this freedom. Of course people will rightly complain when that freedom is restricted.

    Speed cameras, not got too much of a problem with them now that there are warning signs.

    But dear Chris, why are they not used where they would help the most? I pass four schools on my way to and from work, none of them have a speed camera near them or speed humps. There are two speed cameras on my route, yet they both are on roads don't really need them. I think that the majority of motorists would not want to hit anyone, no matter what the speed. So what’s the point? Average speed cameras are worse. They cannot deliberate between a sensible overtaking move and a twunt getting impatient. Both could arrive at an average speed point too soon and suffer a penalty. It would take a copper in a car to know the difference. More coppers on the roads!

    The other night, on Top Gear no less, they were talking about the driving test in Finland. It seems that a Fin has to wait three years for a full licence and that the training involves control in a skidpan, driving at high speed and at night. None of these things figure in our tests. I think that if we had a certificate system where you get tested on more and more advanced driving techniques and get correspondingly lower and lower insurance premiums, we would have safer roads and less accident related deaths.

    Finally Chris,

    No this country is not a true democracy. It fails to be a democracy on many levels:

    1. There is no Proportional Representation. I have yet to see a “None of the Above” on my ballot sheet. What option do you have exactly when you think that all politicians are lying arseholes that don’t have a flipping clue?

    2. Politics is more about body language coaching and avoiding direct questions than it is about caring for the majority of voters concerns. The bribery Hoon is offering is just a tiny example of it.

    3. There is no accountability for the people we elect to power failing to deliver on the manifesto they used to gain power in the first place.

    Our political make-up is built on aggression much more than common sense. How many good ideas have been quashed because of “it came from another party” or it “came from someone they don’t like”. Running a country is not compatible with having a grudge against someone you don’t like because he flicked a wet towel at you while you were both at Cambridge! When was the last time anyone has seen a politician offer support for a good idea that was not provided by their masters?

    Chris, I love this country. But I hate watching it slowly crumble to shit before my eyes. So what if I emigrate? The way you pitch it, the only choice I have is to go to somewhere worse. That’s not the case.

    This subject is about control and charging for the freedom of UK citizens. We are the last people to be consulted; we are not allowed to disagree. We may have elected these oafs, but when did we abdicate all responsibility to them?

    Yours wanting a way to stop these fools,

    Pad

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The vote is irrelevant.

    They're already rigging it, there are posters up pushing a totally one sided view of it already.

    It will happen, the vote is a sideshow.

    So, that established...

    Just trash the equipment when it comes in. A little civil disobedience never did a democracy any harm.

  68. RogueElement
    Alert

    planning my arse

    London's congestion charge was a nice little earner, but before rolling the same money grabbing scheme throughout all of the major cities it is important to gauge the scale of the problem, both in construction/logistics, pricing levels/logistics, and perhaps most importantly, public dissent/logistics.

    As a writer above so correctly pointed out, Manchester is going to be used as an excuse ... something along the lines of, "See, it worked in Manchester..." This might also explain why there is so little word of who is paying for the massive investment in publicity, billboards and bribes that is accompanying the move to introduce yet another stealthy tax.

    I live just outside Manchester at the moment. Hopefully soon I can move back to Alba. I don't notice the congestion normally as a run into town at non-peak times takes less than 30 minutes. At rush hour though I need to give myself double that. The problem is merely with logistics. Too many useless turds planning the roads, not enough consideration to the cause of the problem, to wit: everyone starting work at the same time, finishing work at the same time, school run at the same time, too many "convenient" slip roads, too much reliance on the roads where canals, rail, trams and buses could easily take up the slack.

    Solution? SIMPLE - no EXEMPTIONS! Then we'll see just how many council employees continue to provide support.

  69. Alan Fisher

    So what about...

    Surely the people who WANT the public transport improvements shan't really give a stuff abour whether motorists get charged or not? Ok there will be exceptions but most public transport users I know don't do it to be green but because they lack their own wheeled box to travel in.

    My answer is one which has worked before....force them to keep their Green promises by organising something with Critical Mass....sod public transport, sod cars, got on bikes! Ain't no way they can charge you for riding a bike! Tis green, clean and great for avoiding traffic jams (also gets you fit and lithe-looking)....but seriously, cyclists should organise a Critical Mass demo in Manchester, just to piss Buff off and get some press, we'll soon see him (haha) backpedal then.....

  70. Ali McGowan
    Thumb Down

    No, No, No

    "They've already started cutting up large parts of the road system in the north of the city in preparation for extended tram lines. This despite being told we're not getting government funding if we don't vote for the congestion charge. It's almost like Manchester City Council know the charge is going through..."

    - another misconception. The 'Big Bang' tram funding is ALREADY in place and will go ahead even if the vote is NO. I am voting NO [and shouting!!] because the TIF money only adds a few piddly bits onto the network.

    I am also voting NO [still shouting] because I've lived in Manchester 12 years and in that time have seen absolutely crap improvements to public transport in all that time. The tram network was never extended [as promised] for the Commonwealth Games - and the Big Bang extension is years behind. I have NO faith in the transport exec or collective councils to deliver - another reason to vote no and in any case, disagree with the principle of the congestion charge - motorists pay enough bloody taxes already. Oh - and I don't even drive to work. I get the clapped-out East Midlands Trains - on trains that have not been cleaned since the day they were built.

    The TIF / Congestion Charge is a complete farce and I just pray that enough folk in Manchester + environs bother to vote - and bother to vote NO!!!!

  71. A J Stiles
    Flame

    Wrong Way Around

    This is completely the wrong way around!

    Local authorities should be forbidden to impose any kind of road pricing unless and until adequate public transport systems are already in place, such that 2/3 or more of the population are able to travel to their place of work using only public transport.

    Why isn't there a political party willing to stand up and represent the interests of the motorist? Can't the AA form a political wing?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    From the 3 sides of Manc

    Well now.. this is proving to be a hot topic. From someone who has lived on three differing compass points around Manchester, I feel I have a good idea of congestion.

    From the north end of Mancunia, the average journey from the M61 to the M60, onto the A580 takes about 15-30 mins depending on it either being at rush hour or not. Anyone saying it doesn't take that long and takes longer should learn to drive.

    From the southern end, yes it can take longer, but that is because they have been fooling with the lights and the lanes.... yes, yes, fooling is the key word here - they were fine until some prick decided to change them (cynically, I would say it's because they want the charge to come in).

    From the 'East Side', it can be a bit unruly, but generally you are inside the city centre within 30 mins.

    Seriously.. Is this such a rush hour when generally you are in the centre well within an hour??

    I am against the charge, not because it's a charge, but because the reasons behind it are not factually correct. The one BIG thing that needs to be sorted is the M60. Nope, not charging on it, but sorting out key junctions that I think some one brought up further up the comments : M601/M60 junction up to the M61, The Stockport pyramid, and Prestwich to M66. i like what they have done (to a point, TO A POINT!!) around Sale as it's rarely congested now that they have sorted it all out. It's a bit confusing for the uninitiated, but it's helped.

    So, wrong area to spend money on, and not enough been done to the people that will be paying for it! Let's face it, it's going to be paid by those living outside the City, but nothing (nope, nothing in the plans) has been specifically promised to those outside of the M60. yes yes, I know about trams etc, but that's no good for those outside the 3 to 4 tram links. Take Bolton: denied a tram link, and yet everyday all the busses and trams are rammed full of passengers that make the Tube look like the Orient Express. There is no WAY any money from the congestion charge is going to be given to Northern Rail to add more upgraded trains. Just having an extra coach on a train would be a huge improvement. Take Wigan: See Bolton trains/buses. No one is going to give Wigan anything either...

    get the M60 sorted before bring pricks!

  73. Ascylto

    @Dan and many others

    Proof (if any were needed) that you CAN'T fool all the people all the time. This congestion charge malarkey is one big con. if it wasn't, why would they need to spend £3,000,000 on an advertising campaign to convince us to vote 'yes'? Hoon's intervention is just the latest in trying to instill fear (and, yes, we SHOULD be afraid of government ministers!).

    I am often minded of Vienna and its transport system. Admittedly, they were wise enough not to remove their tramways after WWII but when I'm in the city I can get a weekly ticket which gives me 7 days of unlimited travel on Bus, Tram, Night Bus, Local Railways and Metro within a large zone. The cost? €14.50, just over £12 ... that's about 3 days of Tram only use in Manchester. In Vienna I don't even THINK about how I'm going to get somewhere because I know the transport will be there. It's cheap, clean, safe and frequent.

    Mancunians ... don't fall for the bribes and lies!

  74. n
    Thumb Down

    typical

    Welcome to hell.....

    fascists (local councils) run the show.

    Trams FFS how advanced......next it will be lanes for horses and carts, if you disagree you will be asked to produce your carbon footprint for analysis at the local cop shop.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    moan moan moan

    I live in manc, own a car, and use the public transport to get to work and will be voting a big Yes.

    How short sighted can people be... it's only gonna be another few years before you simply cannot get anywhere in greater manchester.

    Get off your fat lazy arses, vote Yes, take public transport and free up the A6 please (actually, most of southern manchester).

    If you vote No then I can look forward to years of sitting on slow smelly buses/trains and you can look forward to sitting all smug in your ridiculous 4x4s not moving anywhere.

  76. n

    your rights...the same but different

    congestion charges have worked great in london.......see how much better it is when people who don't have much money are told to get off the road.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    I am voting no

    I do feel this is totally unfair tax, the government starting to use blackmail nice since when has the government been allowed to give then take away if a council do not agree to their terms. Where does this money they are giving and taking away come from at first?

    Why have we got a Scottish man as prime minster dictating what we can and cannot do when English MPs are not allowed to vote on Scottish parliament policies?

    Why do I have to pay an increase in car parking at hospital over 100% suddenly when Scottish hospitals car parking is free?

    Why has my only bus I could use to go to hospital no longer running infect since Mains was taken over by Stagecoach the bus service has dropped from 5 to Manchester to just 1. 230 to 235 all went past my home to Manchester but all had different starting points Mossley, Carbrook, Droylsden station ( no longer a station) so now it is two buses and a long walk or my car.

    I would be hit with congestion charge for 100 yards to my works yet I do not travel into Manchester but would have to travel in the direction of Manchester for 100yds.

    This congestion charge starting at M60 is ill thought out badly planned and totally unworkable plus it will drive companies out of Manchester to large industrial estates outside of town centres. Why is it that parents are allowed to congest the roads dropping children off to school why not charge them congestion charge for stopping at a school to drop of children.

    The alternative will be so long in coming that most will have lost their jobs for being late or unable to arrive at work for lack of other methods of transport.

    Public transport is a joke and has been ever since the government started to mess around with it.

  78. Glyn
    Unhappy

    @Pad

    Look at where the councillors in your area live and where their kids go to school, that's where you'll find the cameras. It is in Stoke anyway (not to mention a rumour that one was put in on a councillors commute route so he could get out of a junction easier)

    > 1. There is no Proportional Representation. I have yet to see a “None of the Above” on my ballot sheet. What option do you have exactly when you think that all politicians are lying arseholes that don’t have a flipping clue?

    Don't vote, voter apathy isn't because we can't vote by text/email/carrier pigeon it's because most people can't find anyone worth voting for. Another classic example of politicians pretending to be ostriches.

    Don't really understand why PR is the answer to everything. Watched an explanation on the telly and it looks like a why of rigging the votes, not to mention you don't get who you vote for, you get someone from the party. Of all my misgivings about the political system, the person who gets most votes in an area winning isn't one of them :)

    > 2. Politics is more about body language coaching and avoiding direct questions than it is about caring for the majority of voters concerns. The bribery Hoon is offering is just a tiny example of it.

    Answer a question with an answer....bwa ha ha ha ha

    > 3. There is no accountability for the people we elect to power failing to deliver on the manifesto they used to gain power in the first place.

    Only the next election where you look at what rubbish they're promising you now

  79. Ian

    Manchester con charge is a Trojan Horse

    Most posters here are missing the point. The Labour government wants nationwide road charging and it is going to get it no matter what the people say. After the shock of the 2 million signature petition against road charging they skulked away with their tails between their legs and came up with the idea of pilot schemes such as the Manchester one. Once in place the spin machinery will ensure that they are seen as nothing other than an unqualified success and then nationwide road charging gets rolled out. There is no limit to the bribes that will be offered to get a yes vote in Manchester. They would be happy to have virtually nobody paying because the object is to get the technology in place. Manchester is a Trojan Horse for national road charging. The government is prepared to take a massive financial hit (our money, remember) in the pilot schemes in order to create the climate in which national road charging goes ahead.

    Why does the government want national road charging?

    1. It will be a wonderful new stealth tax which can be targeted at those who are already pariahs. Look at the proposed 25 pound charge in London if you want evidence. For the crime of producing a bit more of the essential and life-giving gas CO2 you will be subject to virtually unlimited tax.

    2. The government is committed to the EU's Galileo GPS satellite system. This will be the only one of several competing systems to charge for its services. It needs a captive client. EU-wide road charging is that client.

    3. This sets up a nationwide surveillance system. Labour is addicted to surveillance. You will be tracked every time you are in a car. Drift over the speed limit even momentarily and there will be a ticket in the post. Speed limits will be reduced to ridiculous levels to maximise the revenue stream.

    Voters of Manchester. You have a chance to put a spoke in the wheel of Labour's plans for an Orwellian future. Don't be conned.

  80. Jeremy Wickins Silver badge
    Stop

    The current plan is ...

    ... arse about face. If public transport is the answer (to what problem? Weeellllll I'l leave that up to you), then get it built first. As people become enlightened and voluntarily move on to this wonderful mode of transport, revenues will go up without having to have ridiculously high fares (small profit, large sales), and the need for congestion charging goes away. Everyone is happy then, aren't they? Sorry, what's that you say? No cameras, therefore no guaranteed revenue stream direct to the council from motorists actually trying to get to work ... or the airport (wait til the revenues start decreasing there!!).

    Sarcasm aside, if there is no viable alternative to using the car, then this is just theft from the car user. The infrastructure MUST be there first - and whose fault was it that it was run down? Oh yes, central government with the deregulation of local transport and privatistion of the rails. What a bunch of shortsighted, self-serving turdspurts ...

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