On 21 Feb 2003 at 14:31, Eric Britton (EcoPlan, Paris) wrote:
> First days show positive results for
> Congestion Charging in London
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 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
> Londons 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 Londons 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
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. 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@...
+44 (0)20 72 49 70 26 (home) C.Lloyd@...