Congestion charge may be lower during off-peak times
Here at Auto Europe we like to keep you up to speed on motoring news and the central London Congestion Charge is always a hot topic. Well, the latest news is that our new mayor Boris Johnson is considering making motorists pay different congestion charges depending on the time of day they go into the city, according to the Times Online and The Guardian.Since his election last year, Boris Johnson has scrapped the proposed western extension of the Congestion Zone after research showed that although traffic inside the central zone decreased since the charge in 2003, congestion has been on the increase. Now, he is preparing to abolish the fixed daily rate of Â£8 between 7am and 6pm everyday excluding weekends. The proposed new 'intelligent congestion system', pioneered in Stockholm, registers the time of day drivers enter the congestion zone and charges more during peak hours and less at other times.Johnson is also reportedly thinking of fairer payment methods such as direct debit or an electronic chip that picks up a car's entry into the zone. Currently, drivers must remember to pay each day and face very steep fines if they forget. Stockholm's system has reduced traffic in the city by 25%, twice as much as in London, and has also reduced carbon emissions by 15%, yet motorists there only pay an average of Â£2 a day.The computer technology company IBM that implemented the system in Stockholm will take over the charging system in London this November. They plan to introduce some of the most successful features from the Swedish capital such as drivers being charged each time they cross the city boundary up to a maximum charge. What the maximum charge will be for Londoners has not been announced as yet. In Stockholm this system actually results in most drivers paying much less than the maximum fee when they only cross the boundary twice, once to go into work and once to come back home again. Stockholm also runs a 'cordon' system, where drivers pay in and out of 18 series of islands on the city boundaries. In London there are too many road crossings and intersections for this to be implemented, but there is potential for drivers to be charged each time the cross the city boundary.How you do you feel about the congestion charge zone? Do you think this method will make your life much easier? Please let us know.