Fringe Box



Letter: Those That Choose to Drive Should Pay Their Fair Share

Published on: 23 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 23 Feb, 2022

From: H Trevor Jones

In response to: An Improved Infrastructure of Roads Is the Answer, Not Road Charging

I don’t drive (never learnt) and live a five-minute walk from the main railway station and a 10-minute walk from the bottom of the town centre and from my church and the cathedral, so I rarely use Guildford local buses other than for occasional trips out into the countryside, and trains for going further afield.

But naturally, I support anything that improves public transport including the costs of paying for it by a mixture of taxes and fares and congestion charges.

Maybe, being retired with a decent pension, I should pay something towards my currently free bus travel, whether by fares or paying something for my bus pass, which I believe costs the government roughly £100 per annum per person in payments to bus companies.

But people who choose to drive should certainly pay their fair charges through petrol tax, licence fees and congestion charges.

One should pay for one’s travel by whatever means society at large deems best or for exactly the travel one wants to do, by a preferred mode, whatever the unquantifiable overall cost to society?

And doesn’t congestion charging cover both sides? It pays for one’s journey at the time and place of one’s choice but it also covers a contribution to the costs of provision of public transport which perhaps enables others not to clutter the road space with their cars.

In requesting more roads, one should be mindful of the costs to society of the land used. Is it more needed for feeding the population or housing the population or educating people or caring for them or providing jobs for them?

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Responses to Letter: Those That Choose to Drive Should Pay Their Fair Share

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    February 23, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Please give us drivers a break. Driving is something I enjoy more than most pursuits. I am a volunteer at a car museum, owner of several classic cars, racing enthusiast, and feel I pay my share in car-related taxes, including most of the price of fuel.

    If we want to reduce pollution, then we should cancel the ruinous Local Plan which will add up to 60,000 more cars to our local roads.

  2. Mark Stamp Reply

    February 23, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    There is no question that road pricing is going to happen as cars move to electric and petrol tax revenues decrease.

    When this happens it should include variability to reduce congestion in busy areas at peak times.

    Instead of designing new roads to get us across town, we should be re-designing our settlements so that most things that we need are within a short walk of our houses.

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      February 25, 2022 at 7:19 am

      On Mr Stamp’s last point, he should know that GBC’s Local Plan does precisely the opposite, and places most of the new 20,000 new homes in the countryside and former green belt. The infrastructure is so lacking that the owners of these new homes will be entirely dependent on the 60,000 additional cars. It is beyond time for GBC to cancel this ruinous plan.

  3. Anthony Mallard Reply

    February 23, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    H Trevor Jones remarks that “people who choose to drive should certainly pay their fair charges …” Perhaps the writer misses the facts.

    VAT at 20% is payable on almost all new and second-hand cars. Duty currently at 57.95p per litre is charged on each litre of petrol plus VAT at 20% on the combined cost of the product price plus VAT – effectively double taxation.

    Vehicle excise duty, based on C02 emissions is charged annually plus a supplement charge for vehicles over £40,000 of £310 for 5 years.

    Congestion charges for London is £15.00 per day and the ultra-low emission charge applied to many vehicles is £12.50 per day.

    Like most taxation, the uses to which this taxation is put is opaque. Most, if not all, goes into the consolidation fund of which only a tiny percentage is applied to roads – building, maintenance, upgrading etc.

    It is my conclusion that people who choose to drive do pay fairly for their choice.

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    February 24, 2022 at 10:02 am

    Most people do not “choose” to drive but have to, as they do not live within minutes of a station, a bus stop or the shops.

    Trevor Jones should consider the facts. Children are now allocated to schools outside their catchment area as their nearest schools are full. People have to attend medical appointments, often nowhere near where they live. Rural dwellers have to drive to go to work, to meetings, see friends, shop and go about their daily business.

    Mr Jones obviously avoided the trauma of driving lessons and a test as he does not need to use a car, but the majority of the public went through the process as they have to drive out of necessity.

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