Wednesday, 26 January 2011

London congestion pricing update

Key events in recent weeks:

London congestion charge changes implemented: As of 4 January 2011, London's congestion charge scheme reverted to its original central zone with the closure of the Western extension, but also with the rise in the price to £10 (and introduction of the detection based accounts).   There has been next to no publicity about it, except for noticing changes in signage.  It is far too early to measure actual impacts,  but the effect will be mixed. The Western zone should see increases in traffic, but the central zone should see the opposite, because of the price increase but also because people who live in the former Western zone will no longer have the 90% residents' discount. 

Former Mayor Ken Livingstone claims the loss in revenue is being paid by bus and underground passengers who have just faced a fare increase of just under 7% on average, although that could arguably be a shift to user pays as most of the congestion charge revenue was used to subsidise public transport.

London Green Party candidate calls for London-wide congestion chargeThe Evening Standard reports that Jenny Jones, the Green candidate for Mayor, is proposing the congestion charge be expanded to all of London, with the central charge being £50.   This means ALL roads within the jurisdiction of the Greater London Authority.   Of course she is almost certainly not going to get elected, and the intention is to penalise car traffic, rather than simply manage congestion, although the effect on congestion would be dramatic - the effect on economic activity would be even more unless other taxes were dramatically reduced (but that is not the policy).

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