Congestion Scheme charged in London. The contents of the paper take an in-depth look at what the system is about and also how the system works. Our main focus is on how well the system has been accepted by the population as well as the government and what benefits it brings for all those concerned.
London Congestion Charge
Introduction to the Congestion Charge
Around the world, the population is growing at a rapid rate, making it difficult to manage a lot of things that the governments didn't have to worry about perhaps thirty years ago. A new scheme has been introduced in London to manage the traffic congestion. Under this scheme motorists are obliged to pay £5 everyday. The strength of this system lies in the fact that it helps reduce traffic, allowing journeys and delivery times to be more reliable and simultaneously helping top raise millions each week that can be re-invested in London's transport system.
Congestion charge has been introduced to make people realize that the roads they are using are a valuable space and by paying for using them they are helping to financially contribute to the congested road space. The creators of this system believe that the Congestion charge instigates motorists to use other modes of transport and if they choose to use the roads, then their journey times are much faster. The London Congestion scheme requires that drivers pay £5 per day if they would like to continue driving in central London during the scheme's hours. This new scheme has also made the drivers think of other modes of transport if it is not necessary for them to make the journey with the car. [BBC NEWS | England | Congestion charge comes into force]
Why was the congestion charge introduced?
The primary reason for introducing the congestion charge in London was mainly because Londoners say congestion is one of the biggest problems motorists face in the capital. Various surveys conducted prove that Londoners would like to get rid of congestion that block the up the roads for several hours, threatening businesses and also harming London's chances for prosperity in the world. Since, the Londoner's face problems with the clogged traffic in central areas, the current Mayor of London proposed a scheme similar to the implemented one in election policy, as well as other important proposals for a well organized integrated transport system for London.
The Mayor's Transport Strategy regarding congestion charging is based on a wide range of measures to enable public transport to become easier, cheaper, faster and much more reliable.
Benefits of the congestion charge to the public
Ever since the London Transport System has been introduced into the city, far more buses are coming into the capital's streets, with new and improved routes and at the same time improving the frequency and reliability of the time and traffic. Through this scheme, £100 million have been allocated for other traffic management schemes for the benefit of motorists and residents in the capital.
The major benefit or strength of this program is that according to the law, all the money collected from congestion charge scheme will be spent on London's transport facilities to benefits the entire population.
How does the congestion charge work?
The scheme is quite flexible with the hectic lives most of us live these days. The scheme requires motorists to pay the congestion charge either in advance or one day before the travel or during or after journey. If one chooses to pay the same day as the travel the congestion charge should be paid maximum by 10pm on the day of travel. The penalty for paying after the operating timings that is anytime between 10pm and 12 mid-night. This penalty is good because most of the motorists choose to make advance payments.
At midnight, images of all the vehicles that have been in the congestion charge zone are verified against the vehicle registration numbers of vehicles that have paid their congestion charge for that day. The computer is used to record the registration numbers of all those vehicles that were suppose to pay but didn't. After making sure of all those vehicles that have not paid a Penalty charge Notice is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.
There are some exceptional rules for those who choose to make lump sum payments for their annual congestion charge in advance. For instance, if one chooses to sell their vehicle, then the person will be entitled for a refund only for the days that the congestion charge was not availed. Another thing about this charge is that some drivers do not have the liability to pay the central London congestion charge. [BBC NEWS | England | Congestion charge comes into force]
Who has to pay congestion charge?
Well we know that the congestion charge doesn't apply on everybody; in addition to this there are a range of exemptions and discounts that drivers can take advantage of, depending on the type of driver and the category of vehicle owned. The people coming under any of the categories listed below are exempted from the congestion charge:
Residents living within congestion charge zone
Drivers of alternative fuel vehicles
Vehicles with 9 or more seats
Drivers of roadside recovery vehicles
Accredited breakdown organizations
On weekends the congestion charge does not operate at all and if a person chooses to drive to central London between Monday and Friday anytime from 7am and 6.30pm a charge of £5 has to be paid.
Congestion Charge encouraging new modes of transport
Following the inauguration of the scheme, the public officials felt the need for extra buses that is why 11,000 spaces on buses coming into central London were created. For many the charge is more than they can afford so surveys have indicated that many people choose to use the Tube, even though the Central Line and the Waterloo and City Line has been closed after the derailment on 25 January.
The government is hoping that this new charge will help to raise £130 million in two years time and help to improvise London's current public transport. This is crucial because in a city as busy as London, the average speed is literally 10 mph.
It shifts a lot of traffic around but it doesn't actually reduce pollution, it doesn't actually reduce the number of vehicles significantly overall, and it does it at enormous cost to people who aren't necessarily wealthy simply because they run a car." - Conservative mayoral candidate Steven Norris. [BBC NEWS | England | Congestion charge comes into force]
Success of the System
The scheme was introduced during the weeklong mid-term school holidays, during which the traffic was reduced by about 20%. The scheme started at 7am as a move to control the heavy traffic in London. However, the London Mayor Ken Livingstone, felt that the scheme is more of an political gamble then a program with a goal to reduce congestion in the British capital, where the average speed of the is sometimes less than 10 mph during the peak hours of the day.
Transport for London, which is managing the scheme, announced that the scheme was a major success proclaiming the first operation day to have been an historic day for the city of London.
Traffic for London congestion charge director Michele Dix told the Press Association "there was no sign of "rat-running" on the zone's edge and that all of the scheme's payments channels -- the call center, the Internet, shops and texting -- were operating well."
The owners of the system were started to note that within an hour of its first day operations, 34,000 people had paid the £5 charge. Livingstone, the mayor for London admitted at the London Traffic Control Center that he probably would have committed political suicide if the scheme had failed. [Spotlight on the Region]
However, if there were bounties of success to be overjoyed with there were also several protestors voicing against the charge levied to control traffic. Due to this problem, it was really very quite because a lot of people were frightened from driving into central London.
For most of the protestors, the fears of congestion have not been realized, but the Mayor felt that by Easter, they would come to terms with the fact that the lack of motoring activity means lack of economic activity. If this scheme fails in the near future, the charge scheme could cost the traffic industry many billions of pounds. He is waiting for sometime because he feels that regardless of the cost to motorists and the protests, the traffic will start up in central London, so that's when he will analyze how well the scheme is doing.
In the huge surveillance scheme, 800 cameras have been put up 400 points at a distance of every eight-square-miles of the city. This equipment will help to monitor the license plates of the motorists who drive into the area every day.…