• This is a good summary article on the state of play concerning road user charging.


    I haven't really been paying attention for a while, but I do wonder what the point is supposed to be of extending the zone so far, and, crucially, keeping it all at one price, presumably with the established 90% discount for residents inside the zone. This would seem to wipe out almost completely the income from the original central zone; the figures may have changed slightly now, but it used to be the case that only 6% of trips originating in Outer London ended up in the CCZ.

    Naturally, the focus in setting the new, artificial boundary is on the edge cases, e.g. Heidi Alexander's example of driving one mile through Catford for £15, just as it was originally, but the main impact would be on driving by drivers within the new expanded zone, which would get much cheaper for drivers living inside it. They would no longer have to worry so much about crossing the Inner Ring Road into the original zone.

    I can only assume that the Tories want this because many of their more affluent voters will live inside the North and South Circulars and would therefore get the discount on their driving. I can't really see any other possible motivation for this change on their part. As a revenue-generating scheme, which the author above rightly warns isn't meant to be the purpose of congestion charging (ideally, it would *not* pay for itself and really deter people from driving, but of course that's not how it works out), it makes no sense, as it is patently obvious that if you extend it, it should be in different zones at different tariffs (a key mistake Livingstone made with the original extension was to fail to make it the first segment of an 'outer ring' at a different tariff), preserving the effect of the . Then again, as the Green proposals imply, the 'fixed zone' approach is antiquated by now; the original policy, of course, was conceived decades before it was implemented. Flexible, distance-based road user charging is now increasingly feasible (I assume that the technology for this exists by now, but again I haven't been following this lately), and you could probably have a different tariff for the very central zone within that distance-based charging, too, e.g. £10 for the outer zone and £20 for the inner one (the charges have always been too low, and those numbers probably would be, too). As a congestion charging scheme, it makes even less sense, as above.

    It just seems a stupid political bunfight kicked off by the Tories to attack Sadiq Khan and because they want to distract people from the fact that their idea that TfL should be dependent on fares income to cover its cost has backfired rather spectacularly in the pandemic and exposed the idea for the folly it was. Public transport generally doesn't 'pay for itself'. Rather, it's a public investment to support economic activity, and the benefits are indirect and felt in wider prosperity. As has been observed many times, one main reason why 'the North' is economically disadvantaged is the comparatively poor state of public transport there.

    Oh well.

  • Politically, the only weird thing in congestion charge zone expansion is that the conservative mayor candidate also doesent support it.

    I think it should be done. Driving in London should be (even more) premium.