Monday, 12 October 2009

Boris will introduce road tolls as a "last resort"

Another day, another unwelcome headline for the Mayor in the Evening Standard:

"Motorists face being charged to drive on London's busiest roads under radical new plans by Boris Johnson.

Drivers could be forced to pay for every mile they drive — on top of the congestion charge — as the Mayor fights to plug a multi-million-pound hole in the Transport for London budget.

If previous government proposals are followed the cost could be up to £1.34 a mile. Someone with a 12-mile round trip to work in central London during the day could pay a total of £20...

The busiest areas in London would be targeted. These include Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Embankment and busy suburban areas such as Croydon and Greenwich"

The proposals are contained within Boris's Transport Strategy released today (more of which later).

If implemented they would go some way to making up the lost revenue from scrapping the Western Congestion Charge, and towards paying for the removal of bendy buses etc.

However, when I contacted City Hall about it this morning, I got the following response:

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's transport advisor, said:

"There is absolutely no scheme in the Mayor's Transport Strategy to introduce road user charging in London. (my emphasis)


"The strategy is a comprehensive look at how to manage the growing demands on transport in London over the period to 2031. As such it includes the flexibility that, if the raft of other measures to address congestion and pollution do not have the expected effects, road user charging could at that time be considered. This would be very much the last resort, and very much in the long term." (My emphasis)

So it is in the strategy but it isn't?

And it's a long-term problem, which is why we won't see this (non-existent) proposal implemented any time soon?

Oh dear. Back to the drawing board I think.

-Update- More on Boris's Transport Strategy:


thereverent said...

Someone with a 12-mile round trip to work in central London need their head examined.
It would be the slowest, most expensive way to do it.

Quietzapple said...

Bojo's likely implementation would involve progressive removal of miscreant's wheels if they didn't pay, in imitation of The Mayor's status;

"Two wheels on my wagon . . " & etc

AdamB said...

I imagine plenty of people still do though rev. A fool and his motor car are rarely parted.

Harold said...

Well, there is a better strategy. Improve public transport infrastructure by the tramline he scrapped, increase the number of buses and retain the bendy-buses as they carry far more passengers. Install the £25 high-emissions congestion charge. These things work and are in the not-so-long run are efficient and cheaper.
But wait a minute - aren't they the policies that Ken proposed. Can't have that, too much like a strategy for Bojo. Cripes!

saifu03 said...

"I didn't do it!"
It is like having Bart Simpson in charge of London. The phrase is usually about one hand not knowing what the other is doing, but when Transport Advisor does not know what is in the the Transport Strategy, that is like each finger not knowing what the others are doing.
In a way, it is quite good that these guys could not run anything as it seems like a fairly sensible strategy (from what I have seen). I'm not sure road pricing will fix ills but it sounds as if it would be a free market pricing model with per road pricing. Sounds pretty complicated tbh, but it is last resort.
Hopefully the measures being taken now will alleviate the congestion, I think we can trust Boris on that one.

Anonymous said...

Paragraph E20 of the Executive Summary of the Strategy says:-

"In the life of the strategy, the Mayor may consider road user charging schemes if other measures at the Mayor’s disposal are deemed insufficient to meet the strategy’s objectives and where there is a reasonable balance between the objectives of any scheme and its costs and other impacts."

However there is very little information about what these other measures are, at least in the Executive Summary. Paragraph E18 says:-

"The Mayor will implement a package of measures ranging from the rephasing of traffic signals to better information for drivers
to reduce congestion and achieve more reliable journey times. Tackling congestion is especially
important for the freight industry and the efficiency of freight distribution will be further
improved through a number of measures to promote best practice."

This sounds like fools' gold to me, the usual wishful thinking that congestion in London can be overcome without some serious measures to reduce the total number of vehicles. Boris appears not to be ruling out congestion-charging (because he knows that something like it is the only long-term answer) but he's playing electoral politics by pretending that there are alternatives.


Tom said...

"better information for drivers
to reduce congestion"

'Get Out Of The Car, Dumbass', perhaps?

sarah hart said...

Bart Simpson running London?
Now taht would be a forward step!

Appealing of Ealing said...

"A fool and his motor car are rarely parted"

Quite so. Meanwhile the left unveils its alternative transport strategy.

AdamB said...

Ha ha. That's Boris's Routemaster policy though isn't it?

Appealing of Ealing said...

"That's Boris's Routemaster policy though isn't it?"

With such a poor signal-to-noise ratio these days it's increasingly hard to read Boris... but I guess on balance he's more of a Motorhead fan.

Tom said...

Opera buff, I'd always presumed. Anything involving the upper classes taking their trouses off and singing about it would appeal, one suspects.

Anyway, you losing faith yet, AoE?

Appealing of Ealing said...

"Anyway, you losing faith yet, AoE?"

Never had much to start with. Like most of anything with even a crumb of high-mindedness, politics has been moribund in this country for more than a decade. But the ideas are still inspiring enough even if the people aren't. A lot of folk seem to confuse the two.

Whatever Johnson may do with the rest of his term, which isn't likely to be much, (nor am I much bothered about that either), I still appreciate his independent, maverick and libertarian spirit. If the only thing he does is to remove the WEZ, one of the most offensive pieces of socialist effrontery since James Callaghan sang "Waiting at the Church", then that's good enough for me. Or, as I've written elsewhere: "Whatever else happens, at least in London we won’t be suffering the utterly mind-numbing indignity of a politically correct Christmas tree this year." So there you go. Season's greetings.

Tom said...

I'll certainly raise a foaming tankard to his libertarian spirit on the Tube home from the pub sometime. Oh, hang on, some Puritan killjoy has banned it.

What's a 'politically correct Christmas tree', anyway? It's more than time you stopped imagining things, AoE. PC Christmas stories are all made up, everyone knows that. Is it really just PC and libertarianism that drives you? Lies and weaponised selfishness?

Appealing of Ealing said...

"What's a 'politically correct Christmas tree', anyway?"

I'm not an expert on these matters, but I guess the specification goes something like this:

"Please find below our requirements as per previous years. We are looking for a Christmas tree from a sustainable source for the front lobby of City Hall, approx 15ft tall with decorations, bells, bows etc. We would like delivery and set up of the tree on 8th Dec 2008 and removed on 2nd Jan 2009. Usual rules, no Christian symbols, colours or fairies! We cannot have any political colours for the decorations e.g. red, blue, green, yellow, so white and silver is best. Any decorations must be from a recycled, eco friendly source. No star or fairy please."