Dec 2008

Congestion Charging

There is a very simple reason that congestion charging could never work in any UK city other than London.

The idea that the councils have to sell is that Joe Public will spend money to get into town, and that that money will be be used to improve public transport.

Now, think about London. The charge is collected by Boris and spent on public transport, which is run by TfL, which Boris is responsible for. So, Boris gets to collect the money, reroute the money, use the money and improve his public transport by buying new busses, new trains and new tubes, and to dig new tunnels, put in new bus stops and generally turn the city into one giant transport hub.

Now think about Cambridge (for example). The council would collect the money to “improve public transport”. Now tell me what they are going to do with it? The train tracks are owned by National Rail. The trains are run my a national company. The roads are owned by highways. The bus stops are owned by god knows who, but they’re still always smashed and manky. The buses themselves are all owned, run and controlled by Stagecoach.

So, what exactly would they use that money for? Buying more digital bus stops…?

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