Fringe Box



Letter: Two Wheeled Transport Is A Better Solution Than Congestion Charging

Published on: 3 Aug, 2014
Updated on: 3 Aug, 2014
This picture was not taken in Guildford.

This picture was not taken in Guildford.

From John Robinson

Whenever traffic congestion is mentioned, why is congestion charging always seen as the answer? Isn’t it just an opportunity for even more taxes?

I commute by scooter, as do many people in Europe. My daily journey is 12 miles, which costs me less than £8 per month. I pay £85 per year for comprehensive insurance and £12 per year road tax. I have only minimal servicing costs.

My modern scooter uses ‘idle stop’ technology, where the engine cuts out after three seconds in stationary traffic, at pedestrian lights, for example.

Sure, I can get ‘wet’ when it rains – actually, my riding suit gets wet, which I can quickly change out of and store under the hinged seat in the storage compartment – and my journey is quick and easy, with no long queues. I can also park for free at work, as my scooter takes up no space.

Visit Rome or Paris, or any European city or town, and scooters are really popular – ever wondered why? But Brits seems to love their nice warm, safe and gridlocked cars. I know which I prefer.

My commuting times and costs are a fraction of my work colleagues – and I actually enjoy my commute. I don’t need in-car entertainment as my journey is fun and I’m not travelling long enough to listen to the radio, etc. Unlike car drivers, I’m concentrating on my road craft. As they say, it’s a free country. :-)

Response: Congestion charging might have been suggested for Guildford before but, if so, I cannot recall seeing it. There are only two other schemes in the UK but both seem to be successful. Dire predictions in both those places, London and Durham, have both proved largely unfounded. I am not sure why some have dismissed the idea, out of hand, so quickly, especially as we would not envisage Guildford Borough residents paying it.

Our suggestion was only that it should be considered. The cost of an Automatic Number Plate Recognition system may not be prohibitive and money raised could be used to further subsidise our local public transport, making it far cheaper, more frequent and more attractive. This, in turn, could reduce the number of cars on the road and pollution. But it would not be a panacea and other measures would be needed too.

As a regular cyclist around Guildford I completely agree with you about the advantages of two wheels but I was unaware how economic a scooter can be. Interesting. And you are right, it is much more popular in some cities on the continent. Perhaps we should learn from them – and you.


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