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Re: [WorldTransport] Polis note on London's congestion charging scheme

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  • Charlie Lloyd
    ... Some observations: the first week has maintained the much lower congestion levels, it may be different when school holidays end next week. Some cyclists
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 21, 2003
      On 21 Feb 2003 at 14:31, Eric Britton (EcoPlan, Paris) wrote:

      > First days show positive results for
      > Congestion Charging in London[1]

      Some observations:

      the first week has maintained the much lower congestion levels, it may be
      different when school holidays end next week. Some cyclists and
      pedestrians have reported problems from much faster car and bus traffic
      on some roads. Many bus users are delighted for the same reason.

      > Transport for London expects the bus network to accommodate the bulk of
      > drivers choosing to leave their car at home and an additional 300 buses
      > offering 11 000 places have been introduced over the last year. However,
      > a recent independent survey[3] indicated that more than a third planned
      > to take the already overcrowded underground. Paradoxically, none of the
      > public transport operators questioned, including the London Underground,
      > London Buses and mainline rail operators, experienced a significant rise
      > in passenger numbers during the first day of the scheme.
      As the Polis article points out a 10-15% reduction in car use only
      represents a 1-2% increase in public transport use. Bus performance is
      improving in London, as a result of may bus priority schemes as well as
      the congestion charge, ridership has been increasing by over 6% pa for 2
      years. However as buses have such a poor image ("the transport for
      losers") it may take some time for many people to change travel patterns.

      > ............................................... The scheme is predicted to
      > raise £130 million (€190 million) per year to invest in improving
      > London’s public transport network.
      Some statements from Transport for London suggest that money will be
      spent on major road infrastructure, improving private transport rather
      than public. There is also a question about all transport funding as
      central government support may be cut well below what was formerly
      intended. No one knows if this is a reaction to the extra funding coming
      to London as a result of the congestion charge.

      > The international perspective

      > The stakes are
      > high, as confirmed by former Polis President, Maurizio Tomassini,
      > Director at the Mobility Agency of Rome, who stated that the failure of
      > the London scheme could set road pricing back 10 years. Then there is
      > the huge political gamble. If London’s charging scheme is a success,
      > then it will be taken for granted and cities across the world will
      > emulate it. If it fails, it could lose Ken Livingstone his next Mayoral
      > election.
      The legal and financial framework which set up the Mayor and Transport
      for London in 1999 meant that any Mayor would have had to introduce some
      kind of charging scheme. The real test is to see if the current scheme
      and its technology will be successful in the medium and longer term.

      > ........................................ In the case of London, figures
      > estimate that close to 90% of drivers who would pay the charge come from
      > the richest half of householders.[5] Moreover, it is widely perceived
      > that public acceptability of a road pricing scheme will be higher if the
      > revenue raised is used to subsidise services predominantly used by
      > lower-income groups, such as public transport.
      Again this is a reflection of the scale of existing public transport in
      London and its high modal share (over 80% in the central area). No other
      British city has anything like this and so the impact of a flat rate
      zonal charging system may be very different elsewhere.

      Charlie Lloyd

      Charlie Lloyd charlie.lloyd@...
      +44 (0)20 72 49 70 26 (home) C.Lloyd@...
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