October 25, 2003

Congestion Charging 6 Months On

Patrick Crozier | London Congestion Charging

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Transport for London, the body that buggers up London's transport, has issued its 6-monthly report on the Congestion Charge. Apart from the decline in people coming into London (something I have mentioned in the past and something TfL are noticeably vague about) everything seems to be doing just fine.

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I think it's gut check time for the Libertarians. While we can all agree on the gross distortions publicly funded roads create, I'm not sure a viable alternative has been created.
To effectively undercut the state in matters of transport, there needs to be a regime that respects the risks and rewards private investors undertake when funding road schemes. Simply adding pricing into the matrix only benefits entrenched political interests.

Posted by Jay on October 25, 2003

A perceptive comment. To enable each road user to have the roads she is prepared to pay for, roads need to be removed from the command economy, as outlined in my 1996/98 book "Roads in a Market Economy" (Ashgate).

Posted by Gabriel on October 26, 2003

Looked at the link you referred to about there being fewer people in London since the congestion charge and as someone who works a stone's throw away from Piccadilly Circus I have to say that's simply not true. In my eyes the congestion charge has had close to no effect in Central London, mainly because ordinary Londoners couldn't afford to drive into and ultimately park in London anyway so the always took the tube if they came to work.

The charge is not expensive enough to deter those with money to pay exhorbitant car parking fees or who have private car parks, to stop using their cars.

Taxi drivers and mini cabs (I believe) don't have to pay it anyway, as they are seen as "public transport".

Shoppers as well have always tended to travel into London by bus and by tube and as far as I can see they are still doing so. The tubes are no more overcrowded than they have been in the past - they've always been overcrowded.

Posted by Annie Mole on October 28, 2003

Congestion Charging is the best thing since sliced bread and as a free marketier, I find it surprising that you do not support such a successful policy, hole heartedly. Afterall that Guru of the fried market econominist expresses great support for such a scheme and is behind a scheme for part of LA to be Congestion Charged.

Posted by nicnewman on October 29, 2003

Congestion Charging has nothing to do with reducing congestion, as speed cameras have nothing to do with road safety. As stated by others, the nett effect of congestion charging does not alter one iota the amount of vehicles entering London. The same as when the road death figures in "post Gatso Britain" remain the same as "pre Gatso Britain". The truth is all these schemes are about extracting cash from as many people as possible as they go about their daily lives, whilst pretending to hold the moral high ground. If there government /councils were really interested in our safety, there would hoardings on every street corner warning about the dangers of Coronary heart disease, and promoting healthy eating. A “sense of proportion” is the last thing the government wants the general public to have. 300,000 dead each year from Coronary heart disease, 30,000 from lung cancer, 14,000 women from breast cancer, 8000 women from ovarian cancer, This puts the 3000 road deaths into proportion, but hey there no monetary income from dealing with these “issues”. Except one, lung cancer, but banning smoking would cost the treasury £20bn a year. Go figure

Posted by Rob Edwards on November 5, 2003

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