Has London’s congestion charge worked?

No.

The BBC reports:

… At the time officials from 30 other British cities were reported to be considering introducing congestion charges if London’s scheme was successful.

That never happened and, further afield, the only cities to adopt a similar scheme since are Milan and Stockholm.

According to TfL figures, traffic levels over the past 10 years have gone down by 10.2% but journey times for drivers have remained flat since 2007.

Barry Neil, whose east London-based company Ambient Computer Services travels into central London daily delivering computer equipment, claims this is evidence the congestion charge has failed.

He said: “We said when it launched it wasn’t going to make any difference and unfortunately it hasn’t.

“If it made it easier to drive through London, then great. But it doesn’t. The jams are just as bad and it costs us £5,000 a year.”

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5 responses to “Has London’s congestion charge worked?

  1. I said it first, many years ago.

    Whatever the charge tourists don’t mind (they are being fleeced already elsewhere for much more than a few pounds) and businesses can easily pass it on customers (eg if you sell 1000 sandwiches all you need is increase the price of each by 5/1000th of a pound…or better yet, a whole penny…).

  2. The real purpose of congestion charge was more likely to boost the profits of public transportation services. Congestion is bad everywhere in England, but London really is a hole on the map. Even on the fringes on of that hole, portions of the orbital are nearly always jammed, affecting traffic that has nothing to do with London. I tried to drive across London end-to-end on a quiet Saturday evening, just for sports. It took nearly three hours. Congestion charge does not apply on weekends, and even though the traffic was quieter than usual, it was a difficult drive. Forget about getting somewhere on time, just getting there is a challenge.

    In a parallel development, I noticed that the cost of the day ticket from Cambridge to London went up from £8 to more than £40 during the last 15 years. I suspect that is the real congestion charge. It makes London off-limits to most people, while allowing the rail companies to profit from those who are in a desperate need to be there.

  3. I was/is a revenue-generation scheme that was implemented knowing that its claimed benefit was a fantasy, and knowing that people would have to pay. Government is a monopoly; the everyday people have no alternative (except, perhaps, to leave).

  4. About the only day of the week one can drive across either London or Stockholm withour as much congestion is on a Sunday. Even then the cost of fuel has a limiting factor.

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