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Govt. abandons road pricing scheme!

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Govt. abandons road pricing scheme!

Old 15th Oct 2007, 14:41
  #1 (permalink)  
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Govt. abandons road pricing scheme!

A relief to many no doubt, but will it be simply put on a shelf for a later day?


"The Government has bowed to the groundswell of opposition which saw 1.8 million people back a Downing Street petition and a campaign by The Daily Telegraph calling for the proposals to be ditched.
The possibility of tracking every motorist's movements by satellite alarmed many

The sudden reversal on road pricing is the latest in a series of flagship policies advocated by Tony Blair to have been scrapped by Gordon Brown.

It follows the decision to abandon plans for a "super casino" and to review the current laws on cannabis and all-day drinking.

One senior Government source said national road pricing had fallen down the list of priorities – "it has been back burnered."

The retreat will be signalled by the Department for Transport this week in response to a back bench committee's report into the draft Local Transport Bill."
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 15:09
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Makes you wonder if Brown is doing it for the good of the people (or to avoid mass uproar) or whether he is trying to show the country he is independant of Blair's 'legacy' an his intentions for the country post-departure.

Maybe both.

Good on 'im for not going ahead with it though, we're almost on our way to having no money left at all...
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 16:22
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You can't put the tax genie back in the bottle........

Sadly, now that the technology exists, it is only a matter of time until this new-found tax source is taxed to the hilt. The necessary legislation will probably slide through eventually on the back of some EU emergency green legislation or EU standardised vehicle design requirements that nobody picks up on until 'proposals are too advanced to retract'.

Is 43 too old to become an anarchist????
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 17:06
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I can foresee it being 'welcomed' for Heavy Goods Vehicles (Trucks) - especially foreign-registered trucks - to equate their use of the highways (and the associated damage) with the fees paid.
There is already technology installed (under the carriageways) which can identify the number of axles, the axle weights and the vehicle speed, and it would be a small step to 'connect' this to on-board equipment which would set the appropriate tariff. Of course, time-of-day could be a significant factor, encouraging use of the roads during off-peak hours.
I believe that introduction for goods-vehicles would be a less-bitter pill for the public to swallow (and be an easier task - goods-vehicles already have to be fitted with monitoring devices to log drivers' hours).
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 20:11
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As the article says, the idea's been around for years, it was and still is a question of the technology not being in place/economically available. To do so would be very expensive and massively (read: Election-losing-ly) unpopular. Don't worry though, Brown or anyone else (of whatever party) who comes to power will find alternative ways to screw the politians favourite cash-cow and you can literally take that to the bank.

Democracy, exit stage right.
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 20:14
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"I can foresee it being 'welcomed' for Heavy Goods Vehicles"

Until the public realise that the costs will be passed on to them in all retail establishments - with a mark-up of course.
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Old 15th Oct 2007, 20:24
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Does anyone know what he actually stands for?

Seems to be trying to get the popular vote by binning anything unpopular and linked to Blair, nicking other people's ideas and hammering hundreds of thousands of businesses just to attack 30-40 rich entrepreneurs who will in any case move offshore to avoid his tax grab.

He just doesn't understand that he doesn't have 'it', 'it' being the X factor that makes a person a natural leader.

The only good thing is that his tenacity to a role that his persona deems him unsuitable for will comfortably see the opposition in power at the next election.

Every cloud has a silver lining!

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Old 15th Oct 2007, 20:44
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"I can foresee it being 'welcomed' for Heavy Goods Vehicles"

Until the public realise that the costs will be passed on to them in all retail establishments - with a mark-up of course.
You miss the point.
Currently, foreign-registered trucks do not pay anything towards their use of UK roads, as they pay no 'road fund' tax and carry their fuel from the continent (or Ireland) in large tanks, usually sufficient for their round trip. By insisting that they were fitted with a 'device' at the entry border (which would measure the mileage - and maybe record any axle-weight / time zone measurements en route - sent by radio to a base terminal) so that some sort of taxation could be applied.
UK operators would support this action, and, if their current taxation was to be replaced by an equivalent system, may come to accept its use domestically.
UK operators pay serious money for the privelige of using their vehicles . . .

Last edited by JackHowe; 15th Oct 2007 at 21:00.
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Old 16th Oct 2007, 09:30
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Forget technology - pay an entry fee/road charge at the port of entry! You aren't going to get many illegal HGVs in a rowing boat trying to sneak in

And while we are on the whole road pricing / green tax debate.

Scrap all current taxes relating to road travel and put it all on petrol

No need for differing bands for 'greener cars' etc. At the moment I might consider a small economical car for city driving as well as my larger motorway commuting car. I can only drive one at a time so there is no increase in pollution by owning 2 (or danger of an accident for that matter). However I have to pay 2 lots of insurance and 2 lots of road tax. I'm not going to do my motorway driving in the small car - result is I only have the bigger one - belching it's 30mpg into the city air. How does that encourage me to go green?

Tax 4x4s heavily - why? Some 4 wheel drive vehicles have amazing fuel economy while 2wd supercars are lucky to make it between petrol stations.

The govt has no real interest in being green - it simply wants to look like it is being green - and raising money at the same time. (5 green tax on air fares how many people will that stop flying - not one! How much revenue will it raise? If they actually wanted to stop people flying they would shove 50 on a ticket; but that would actually have the stated effect and also be unpopular whereas the 'green' levy (why is it green - what carbon offsetting program is it ring fenced for) is a money spinner.)

Anyway, as I said - put all the tax on petrol. If you have a 'green' car you will use less petrol and hence pay less tax. Likewise if you drive less; and no expensive big brother monitoring to boot! Why is a Ferrari that drives 100 miles a year polluting more than a mini that drives 15,000? If anything it should pay much less road tax - not more! And, the whole system is self-policing (no road tax dodging if you have to pay it as you fill up) and everyone is as green as they want to be by paying for it.

And while you're at it scrap tax credits/ rebates. Raise the tax free threshold to 12,000 and lower the 40% threshold to compensate. Tax payers wouldn't be out of pocket and those on low incomes (and the govt departments who pay it) could understand the system; and it encourages work for pay (rather than continuing with handouts being given to supplement low pay; thus fostering the impression of continued reliance on govt handouts - even while earning an honest wage)

And another thing........

Actually must go and read my Daily Mail - apologies for some quite impressive thread creep too
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Old 16th Oct 2007, 12:19
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and lets face it , at a 1 /mile to visit the supercasino in our own car where its satellite log would find your address and subsequent e mail adress , you would only be bombarded with ads on line for alternative means of betting anyway....
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Old 20th Oct 2007, 00:08
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The national road pricing scheme is being scrapped.

Local road pricing has not. Manchester, Cambridge and a few others are front running.

And to answer the frequent and face value sound observation "why not scrap all road taxes and put it on petrol" - the problem with that is it doesn't distinguish the time of day and geography - and the object is to tackle congestion when it occurs (peak periods, urban areas) and not penalise those who don't contribute to congestion (off-peak, rural areas).
Old 20th Oct 2007, 09:43
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A far easier way to get the money

Millions of people earning 40,000 or more will pay an additional 500 a year in National Insurance next year, thanks to newly announced changes.
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Old 20th Oct 2007, 11:32
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Desert Ferret,
You are perfectly correct as to how that bastion of "right on, ultra PC democratic, family orientated City" Manchester, is now besotted with road charging.....here's why and the odd glitch or two associated with the grand plan.

The "great and the good" erstwhile leaders in Manchester are besotted, almost to the extent it's a medical condition with them, with their pride and joy....the Metrolink Tram ( Light Rail ) network. So, the last political blurb said they wished to borrow 2bn and get a grant from Noo Laboor for 1bn....the grant being dependent on the introduction of, er, said congestion charge.

Seemingly, they have based their plans on the system in place in Stockholm which has 18 crossing or entry points.....the Manchester version will use the M60 ring road as the border if you like, and this has a mere 170 !. Plus, for anybody who has to commute even 100yds across the M60....guess what..you still have to pay. This little gem will ensure a nice little revenue stream of course from people who are compelled to cross the M60...and yet will be going nowhere near Manchester City centre.

Manchester are, as I said, obessed with the Metrolink system. Why, I do not know, because despite all the PR and political BS, it's nowhere near as good as it's promoted as being.....and in fact, it probably causes more congestion that it relieves. It's one advantage is that you now can now cross the city to the main rail stations (Piccadilly / Victoria ) relatively easily. Why therefore, they simply never built a genuine tram system....not the light rail version we have...to connect the two stations and the centre with a bit going out to Salford Quays is beyond me....and a few thousand others in the GM area....a lot of whom cannot, and never will, benefit from the proposed system.

Thankfully, I will be moving shortly to a more rural area.....can't wait !
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Old 20th Oct 2007, 15:46
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K & C,

I'm interested in your views.

Manchester Metrolink Phase 1 (Altrincham -Bury) is a massive success more than trebling patronage on two poor rail services and makes a healthy operating profit.

Phase 2 (Salford Quays and Eccles) I'm less convinced - LRT without the "R" bit.

What does interest me is how you observe that Metrolink creates congestion when many of its users are car owners (who otherwise would be on the road). Can you expand on that please (I'm interested - not spoiling for a fight).

And Phase 3 expansion brings Metrolink to many of the other 000s of Mancunians who don't already benefit by tram or train - so I'm unsure about your argument against it on the basis that many don't benefit from it.

In my opinion road user charging works if it is designed correctly - and I concur with your view that penalising folk who are not driving deep into the areas of congestion is just wrong - and appropriate detailed economic analysis will expose this. (I hope).

I must always ask this of folk who criticise local authority proposals - what would their policy be for reducing congestion?


(PS: I am certainly not a Mancunian before I mislead you)
Old 20th Oct 2007, 16:49
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The easiest way to relieve congestion in Manchester is to make the existing public transport system work.

My missus used to work at UMIST, we have a train station approx 400 yards from where we live with trains travelling directly into the city centre. Great no problems with using it then except when you try at leat two days out of five the train eouldnt stop because it only had two carriges on it and was full or was cancelled outright. Also coming back you could predict that at least one day out of every week the same thing would happen. Added to this was the fact that trying to get a seat was impossible Result she started to drive into work so one more car on the road.

I work just inside the M60 (you could throw a stone and hit it form the yard) so I will be hit with the charge as will the fleet of wagons we use on a daily basis 99% of which will go nowhere near the city. Also the Trafford centre just happens to be the wrong side of the motorway as well (lucky that!!)

What incentive is there for big business to stay within the ring road, if you were thinking of moving your business would you wish to add more cost onto your bottom line simply because you were just inside the M60.

The propoganda has already started trying to convince us it will be a great idea, any chance of a local referendum? I very much doubt it
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Old 20th Oct 2007, 17:09
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When I were a lad, 6 coach electric trains used to run between Altrincham and Manchester at peak times, 3 coach ones off-peak. There was a fast, frequent service with plenty of capacity. And there were other train services on the line - to Chester, Warrington, Liverpool etc.

Then it was converted to Metrolink - 2 smaller tram coaches (maybe 4 if two units were coupled together). And an important rail artery into Manchester was lost as it was converted into a tram track and became unavailable to trains from outside the area.

Progress? I don't think so.
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Old 20th Oct 2007, 17:14
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UK (HGV) operators pay serious money for the privelige of using their vehicles . . .
But not serious enough by a long chalk to pay for their cost to the road system, even just in road maintenance (it's trucks, not cars that smash roads to bits, and need bridges strengthening to take their ever-increasing weights).
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Old 20th Oct 2007, 17:42
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Desert Ferret,

No problem re your request ....but before I do, I think the post from Rob Courtney also answers many of your questions....got to agree with everything you say Rob

Anyway, prior to the introduction of Metrolink, the rail service from Altrincham to Manchester was not that bad....and the trains had several carriages which helps !.....enter the above. Not long after the introduction, bus services ( those which had been running for years ) along the same Altrincham to Manchester route quietly disappeared....strange that. So, people who use this line / route now simply drive to the local station and park wherever they can...this is because (a) most of the stations which had coal yards / four platforms etc now simply have two...the rest having been flogged off to developers etc. and (b) the original constructors of the lines lacked the foresight to build car parks for the next century ....back to the serious bit. The congestion around the various stations is atrocious during the week. The result, as Rob points out, is that people simply use the car...try crawling down Chester Road / Princess Parkway / Kingsway or Bury Old / New Road during rush hour and you will see what I mean.

The operators of Metrolink have never had the slightest idea as to how to provide a service ( ask anybody how often the ticket machines simply didn't work for example let alone the technical failings on the line....o/head lines down due to ice and power units failing ).

As for the proposed "Big Bang" as the expansion was termed, quite how it will benefit those who live away from the proposed routes is a mystery. As for the routes themselves, as far as I am aware ( others may know more here ) the current proposals are Manchester to ( Airport / Rochdale / East Didsbury and....here I am uncertain...part of Wythenshawe...but not the hospital...nothing like the most obvious and beneficial destination after all ! )plans for other destinations...Stockport / Ashton have been shelved.

The congestion induced is two fold therefore. Whilst never an integrated transport service as such, buses did run adjacent to many stations on the Altrincham line...now they don't so people use the car and park wherever they can get.....plus, due to the poor service, they simply use the car anyway to get into the city.
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Old 21st Oct 2007, 13:26
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K&C, Rob Courtney - thanks for the opinions - I must repeat I'm genuinely interested in intelligent critique and am not merely spoling for a fight.

I take no issue with your objection to the M60 boundary for road charging as I agree - I believe it is the wrong design.

RC - you're problem with rail is that your partner can't get on the train because it is packed. Part of the road user charge funding package is big increases in rail capacity (mostly additional coaches) - would that solve your problem? Has it not been getting press in Manchester?


Metrolink. The rail service that was replaced betwixt Altrincham and Manchester was infrequent and did not penetrate the city centre. Contemporary passenger satisfaction surveys did not indicate it "wasn't that bad" - far from it. The conversion to Metrolink had very strong public support during consultation (did you voice your opinion then? and what was it)

Since conversion to Metrolink, that is far more frequent, passenger volumes has rocketed so I can't quite fathom your conjecture that the tram is inferior to the train it replaced - over 20 million per year have voted with their feet! It makes an operating profit - the rail service was subsidised (by you!)

I take your point on the car parking though - lack of fortsight - not the contractors fault. The PTE were in charge of design and it was a mistake.

I'm still foxed by your criticsm of further expansion of Metrolink because it doesn't directly benefit those that aren't within its capture. That applies to any form of transport intervention that is geographcially specific. Its the opposite of nimbyism - if it doesn't help me directly then stuff it - in which case nothing gets built anywhere.

And I must correct one implied malpractise - local government has zero control over bus operators courtesy of Margaret Thatcher's deregulation of bus services in 1985.

Again - I have to counter with your general criticism with "what would you do then to solve Manchester's congestion problems?"
Old 21st Oct 2007, 13:56
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Check your PM's please. Au revoir until Friday
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