Car congestion taxes and curfews

Wanna drive into some European cities? Betta get yourself a low emission hybrid vehicle. This is the message being sent by municipalities from London to the Italian Alps. For the past couple of years in London, drivers have had to pay a £5 Congestion Charge in a 617 sq mile (1,579 sq kms) area of Greater London. 203 cameras record vehicle licence plates on entering the zone and match this against payments. Infringements incur a £100 fine. Some exemptions are allowed, such as for disabled drivers and for drivers of alternative fuel or electrically propelled vehicles. These are certified by Transport Energy, whoses Powershift program offers subsidies for individuals and businesses, who wish to purchase such vehicles.In a related move the Northern Italian cities of Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone and Brunico have imposed an 8 hour city curfew on cars older than ten years and scooters older than five. Vehicles meeting tough emission standards are exempt. Many EU cities are expected to follow suite when air quality rules come into force during 2005. (We’ve noted earlier that some US cities give transit lane exemptions to hybrid cars also.) ::Congestion Charge London [by WM]