London's Congestion Charge is Reconsidered
Image from Guardian
The congestion charge in London is being reconsidered to make it more effective and "intelligent". A new Mayor brings new views, and London's Mayor Boris Johnson is having second thoughts about the controversial charge. He has already scrapped its proposed extension into the western part of London and rejected the plan for a £25 fee for large gas-guzzling cars.
The new form of charging would be based on when drivers enter the congestion zone. During peak hours it would be more expensive to curb traffic and during off-peak it could be cheaper to help businesses.
Image from Evening Standard
The changes are based on the model introduced in Stockholm, Sweden. There the system has reduced traffic by 25%, twice as much as in London, and it has reduced carbon emissions by 15%. It is also much cheaper: £2 a day as opposed to £8 here.
Under that system, drivers are charged each time they cross the boundary but the charge is capped.
IBM is set to take over the contract for congestion charging in the autumn. It has developed a computer technology in the form of a chip which picks up the vehicle as soon as it enters the zone. It is understood that IBM could introduce some of the more popular features here. Fairer ways to pay the charge would be high on a list. Now drivers must remember to pay and the fines increase daily until paid. A new system would use electric chips, or direct debits.
The Mayor's director for transport policy has called the congestion charge a "blunt tool in its current mode" . The Times
More on the Congestion Charge
London Congestion Charge Revisited
Getting Around the Congestion Charge
Residents Protest Extended Congestion Charge