Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More congestion charges.

As expected some of the councils outside London are looking at charging the motorist for the cheek of using the roads into work. Read here about Manchester's plans. It's an easy target and one that does not require them to really do any planning or investment in anything bar payment machines.

To really cut congestion we need to reduce he number of people on the roads. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to reduce the number of firms in their area or provide decent public transport systems.

It is clear that in reality no one can provide the transport systems that the public really wants. Many people travel significant distances to get to work and public transport will never fulfill their requirements especially for somewhere like Manchester where they travel from all over the north to get to. The others are already using public transport, car sharing or whatever where they can to get out of the traffic queues and reduce costs.

We can't reduce the number of firms either as that would reduce the income on rates etc. and discourage people from locating to these places. They still want growth. They still encourage firms to move in by building industrial parks etc but, yet again, fail to build the infrastructure to support it while they throw up a few buildings.

So all they do is extort more money from the motorist under the pretence of doing something about congestion. This ups the cost of transport for all. Some now will find it cheaper by bus or rail and start using that and some will just not go in at all especially if they are just shoppers.

Of course a few firms will lose customers and employees but that's not a problem. Your rates are not based on profit or employees.

So a win for the councils. Traffic down, income up and they can pretend they have done something positive. It's surprising it has taken so long after London started the trend.


At 9:39 am, Blogger Snafu said...

Congestion naturally reduces traffic on the roads at peak times to those prepared to tolerate them. Road pricing is not required as no roads will ever be totally gridlocked as they would then cease to be roads! People would find alternatives...


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