Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Evening Standard in Congestion Fudge

The Evening Standard today claimed that the congestion charge has brought in only £14 million despite Transport for London figures saying that it has brought in £382 million. However, on closer reading, it appears that the article is based on the calculations of an anonymous banker and a campaigning Tory councillor. 

The article, published on the eve of the election is entitled 'The real cost of Ken's C-Charge.' However, the source of the extraordinary claims seems to be the undisclosed calculations of an undisclosed banker and the accusations of a campaigning Tory councillor and blogger. 

In fact, the Standard's second source of expertise is none other than the Tory London councillor Phil Taylor. Phil Taylor was recently thoroughly fisked by Blairwatch after he claimed (among other things) that an oyster bus fare is £1.50. The real cost of a single oyster fare is, as any oyster card user will know, 90p. 

With that 70% rate of inaccuracy, you can see why the Evening Standard puts so much faith in him.

-Update- For a good laugh read The Evening Standard's
defence of it's election coverage. For a more worrying read, take a look at this interview with Gilligan.


Tom said...

Thanks for the link, I've expanded on the subject at Blairwatch now, which may be worth a look, or maybe not. Suffice to say they're talking out of their backsides.

chris said...

London's quality paper once again raises the standard.

Phil Taylor said...

I am sorry guys but the TfL figures and mine pretty much come out the same.

They say they have £382 million net. I say yes when you look at the revenue account but when you then subtract £322 million of capital costs and £18 million (my estimate) for R&D and consultation that leaves about £40 million out of £1.2 billion. There will be some small differences as my figures for the year just ended are estimates - TfL will publish them in June.

See all figures on spreadsheet here:

Some might say that it is not fair to weigh the capital costs in the balance but remember that the ANPR technology is just a temporary solution on the way to tag and beacon and that all the capital is technology and cameras left out in the rain so it is hard to make a case that any of it is going to last very long. Five years maybe but not 20.

On a cash flow basis this scheme has taken £1.2 billion off Londoners in 5 years and produced no net cash to speak of. If this is competence then no thanks! If Joe Blow thought that all but 14p of his £8 Congestion Charge was just going to be spent on the charge itself he would happily strangle Livingstone - which is why he has been at such pains to hide this information.

The Tory Troll said...

For another thorough fisking of Phil Taylor visit:

All I will add to what Blairwatch says is that the whole point of the congestion charge is to reduce the amount of cars coming into the capital which it has. When it was implemented, the Tories claimed it was a stealth tax and now they are complaining that it is not ENOUGH of a stealth tax. The fact that they now do not have the courage to scrap it shows what little real objections or leadership they have on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Trouble is they don't care. The folk who read them will believe it, and that's the problem.