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This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

Extended Conge$tion Charge Starts

Feb 19 2007 01:36
Ashley Brown
As of 7am this morning Imperial College is inside TfL's Congestion Charging zone, with an £8 charge for anyone wishing to visit by car.
"C" for "Cash"

Visitors to Imperial College and those students wishing to move into or out of halls during the week must beware: with Imperial inside the western extension of the Congestion Charging zone it will cost £8 for the privilege. If you forget on the day, it will cost you £10, rising to a £50 fine the day after that. Failure to pay the fine within 14 days doubles it to £100.

College's limited space for parking means few people currently drive onto the campus on a regular basis, however the charge may free up some extra spaces for those already living nearby or for more portacabins.

Bo' - not exempt, unless on the back of lorry

Vehicles with 9 or more seats are exempt from the charge, so the Union's minibuses are unaffected. Boanerges, the CGCU motorised mascot is not so lucky - despite his exemption from road tax and vintage status, Bo' was refused exemption from the Congestion Charge when it was originally introduced. The charge was easily avoided by not straying into the zone, but now any journey out on weekdays (even just round the block) will require payment. The other motorised mascots are all exempt, by virtue of having 9 or more seats (Jez & Clem) or being a motorcycle (Derrick).

On the positive side, if you live in Kensington and Chelsea (which has 17 of the 20 most expensive streets in the UK) you now qualify for a 90% discount, letting you use your 4x4 for the purpose it was designed for at reduced cost. That purpose being driving into Central London to run over cyclists, of course.

TfL are expecting a 10-15% reduction in the number of vehicles entering the western extension.

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Discussion about “Extended Conge$tion Charge Starts”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 27 2008 10:53
 

BBC has just started reporting that Boris is going to scrap the extension.

What a w***er.

Nov 28 2008 02:46
 

Please explain why he is a w***er for scrapping the extension?

Nov 28 2008 09:16
 

My thinking is thus:

For the UK's transport sector to effectively de-carbonise we need to move away from petrol / diesel and onto fuel cells / electric vehicles.

Fuel cells have a set a problems and are not ready to be rolled out accross the UK. Electric vehicles are a well understood technology and have been around for years. Many firms are rolling them out at the moment, including BMW, Chrysler and Smith.

Electric vehicles are CC exempt - you've seen how many G-wiz things have been on the streets recently.

Boris has just destroyed - realistically - the largest UK nieche where electric vehicles could be pioneered.

Also be honest - do you think the people who choose to drive into west london, rather than get the superb public transport, can't afford this charge? Honestly? It's a lousy ?8.

That is why he's a sponge.

4. Hmm.   
Nov 28 2008 09:33
 

But now it's been in place a year, are there any figures as to whether the extension has actually reduced car traffic overall, or just allowed people who live in K&C to drive to the city at a 90% discount?

And let's try getting 'decarbonised' electricity even for a decent fraction of domestic use before suggesting there's enough capacity to run cars renewably as well. When that's possible, road and fuel tax can be used as incentives.

Nov 28 2008 12:47
 

TFL reports that:

? Traffic entering the extension area is down by about 13%

? Extension boundary route traffic is up by about 4%

? Traffic in the original zone is up slightly

? No adverse traffic impacts beyond the zone

? Extra bus services coping well with increased passengers

Decarbonised electricity seems to account for around 25% of UK electrical generation. That's plenty to be getting on with. Electric cars can (and must) be developed simultaneously as electrical decarbonisation takes place (which is happening at full tilt at the moment).

Generally I believe that this decision is purely to help out the rich of West London, and is a kick in the teeth for those of us who can't afford to live there, but still need to use the zone.

Nov 28 2008 12:52
 

People living in Kensington and Chelsea who travel to original zone - bad for them.

People outside K and C who travel into K and C - good for them.

I see it as good as the rich folk in K and C have to pay more to drive into Central london proper, rather than getting the residents discount.

Nov 28 2008 13:19
 

"Traffic in the original zone is up slightly" - suggesting few DROVE (not travelled) from the extension in.

"People outside K and C who travel into K and C - good for them". I disagree. I believe your analysis only assumes people would DRIVE into the extension zone, rather than get the bus, tube or cycle. How does this change affect them?

Who bears the extra cost of the buses now there is no extra revenue?

Who bears the capital cost of the infrastructure (which needs to be paid off like it or not) now that it has no revenue stream.

I'm going to guess the general tax payer.

So, my back-of-the-envelope stream of conciousness suggests everyone now funds "rich folk in K and C" who choose to drive into central london.

Where's the social justice there?

Oh, wait, we've a Tory in charge.

Nov 28 2008 15:33
 

It should be pointed out that K&C residents and others living in the CC zone get ~ 90% discount on the Charge, essentially paying only a fraction of the full price of ?8 per day. It is not so much money and not nearly as big a revenue stream as TfL daily income.

So in fact the K&C residents will end up having to pay more to drive in to central London now, going against Flower's argument and backing up Andy Holland's.

Nov 28 2008 20:54
 

Removing the charge gives an incentive for people living in the extension zone not to drive into the original zone, hence reducing congestion in the original zone where the major congestion problems are. How on earth does making rich K&C residents pay to enter central London proper mean that everybody else funds them?

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