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Congestion Charging

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1290
  • Category: Poetry

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1. What is CONGESTION? Why is it a bad thing?

Congestion is a pile up of traffic that isn’t moving. It normally occurs in urban areas where there are a lot of major businesses, and an enormous number of people either, travelling to work by car, going shopping or passing by to reach another destination.

A pure example of congestion is Central London. It is extremely high, especially on the weekdays when most people are working, not only at the shops, markets and restaurants but also at the banks and offices.

Those who live outside London either have to wake up very early and use the public transport or the other solution is to travel by car.

Today the majority of people prefer to travel from one destination to another by car, whether it is a short or long distance, for the majority it is faster and reliable.

2. What is CONGESTION CHARGING? Why will it entail?

* London suffers the worst traffic congestion in the UK and amongst the worst in Europe.

* Drivers spend a day and a half in traffic every week.

* A lot of drivers in Central London spend 50% of their time in traffic jams.

* Drivers in central London spend 50% of their time in queues.

* Every weekday morning, the equivalent of 25 busy motorway lanes of traffic tries to enter central London.

* It has been estimated that London loses between �2-4 million every week in terms of lost time caused by congestion.

Congestion charging is a way of ensuring that those busy roads contribute money for London’s transport.

It encourages people to use the public transport. Therefore there will be less congestion than before and for those who use the roads, their journey would become quicker than before as fewer vehicles are entering the congestion-charging zone.

Ken Livingstone’s targets…

* Reduce traffic levels by 10-15 percent.

* Make more people use the public transport.

* Integrate national rail and other transport.

* Introduce new rails.

* Prevent delays on London’s roads and when traveling by train and tube.

* Improve times of distribution of goods and services.

How does the process work?

Those who still would like to drive into Central London will have to face cost of �5.00 every time they wish to enter.

The drivers can pay the congestion charge at selected pay points like newsagents and garages, over the phone, SMS (text message) and over the Internet.

Transport for London will have cameras with number plate recognition software throughout London’s central zone. These will take pictures of every car in and coming into the charging zone and at the end of the day the number plates will be cross-referenced with a database of drivers who have paid the �5.

The scheme begins everyday and 7am and ends at 6:30pm (excluding public holidays).

If your number plate isn’t on the database of payers for the day, your details will be collected from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and an �80 fine will land on your doormat. You do get a �40 discount if you pay within two weeks. If you run up more than three unpaid fines, snatch squads can come and take your car away.


Disabled drivers.

Certain health service employees and patients.

Emergency services, army and breakdown vehicles.

Motorbikes and mopeds.

Black cabs and licensed minicabs.

Buses and coaches with nine or more seats.

3. Who might benefit from CONGESTION CHARGING?


3.1 Lawyers are for congestion charging because they have to attend a lot of appointments on time. The congestion charging scheme will prevent congestion and more people will be using the public transport. For lawyers who earn a lot of money per day, �5 is a minor fee and they can reach their destination faster than before.

3.2 Those people who are not willing to travel into the city by car and pay a �5 fee will travel by train, tube, coach, bus etc so the public transport and other private transport companies have a higher chance of expanding their yearly profit margin as they will be getting more customers.

3.3 Major firms like Safeway are for congestion charging. Because there will be less congestion in the Central London, their products can be transported by lorry from one destination to another faster than before.

3.4 The taxi companies are for congestion charging because people will be using the black cabs and taxis more than before, especially those who live in the outer suburbs of London and wish to enter the congestion-charging zone without paying the �5 fee. These companies will be earning more money than before.

4. Who might be against CONGESTION CHARGING?


4.1 The commuters are against congestion charging because it will persuade more people to use the public transport. The trains and buses are currently already over-crowded and it will be worst, as more people will be using the public transport than before.

4.2 Some retailers are also against congestion charging because it has affected their business. Congestion charging has been slammed by one of Britain’s biggest retailers; John Lewis described the scheme as ‘a blunt instrument’ because there sales have dropped down by 9% since the start of the scheme. Not only did it damage the businesses in Central London, but it is also affected the capital’s leisure industry.

5. How will it affect the residents living on the boundaries of the CONGESTION CHARGING zone? How will it affect people who regularly drive into Central London?

In the long term this will be very expensive for those who regularly drive into Central London. For example a normal person who works 5 days a week will be losing �25 per week. Unless you are very rich, this isn’t worth it at all.

Some drivers will still continue driving into Central London but a lot of them wont be willing to pay the �5 fee on a daily basis, especially those who live far away and work in the city, so they will park their car on the boundaries of the congestion-charging zone near to the residential areas and either walk or continue their journey by bus, train, tube and/or taxi.

This will mainly affect the residents living on the outside of the congestion-charging zone because the amount of parking space will become limited. This will also result a sudden increase in noise pollution.

6. What do you think about CONGESTION CHARGING? Why?

I think congestion charging is a good method of preventing people to drive into Central London and decrease congestion and pollution. It persuades more people to use the public transport instead. In the long term this will result to less noise and a better environment. The roads will be less busy so taxis, coaches and buses can take the commuters to their destination on time and the lorries can transport goods from one destination to another faster than before. There will be fewer chances of road accidents and grid locks.

7. Will it affect you and your family?

This won’t affect my family fortunately because my father is registered as a disabled driver so he is exempted. My mother doesn’t work or travel often into Central London either. However a lot of my uncles, aunties and other family friends who are working in the city face the problem of reaching their work placeon time, mainly because of delays on the public transport.

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