Manchester congestion charge could be rejected
3 November 2008

Last minute changes to the giant Greater Manchester congestion charge scheme have been proposed in a bid to win over sceptical residents.

The changes come ahead of a referendum in December on the controversial plans.

The Government is said to be watching developments closely, as it hopes the Greater Manchester scheme will be the first of many similar ‘integrated’ transport schemes in the UK.

Early polling suggests the Manchester C-Charge will be rejected, however, despite the promises of investment in public transport. This would mirror a similar result for the Edinburgh road toll scheme in 2005.

The Manchester C-Charge scheme centres around two charging boundaries and is being promoted as part of a wider scheme of local transport upgrades.

These include extending the city centre tram system by 22 miles, introducing a high-speed bus ‘corridor’ to two outlying towns and introducing a fleet of US-style school buses.

The C-Charge plan would kick in during 2013 and would force drivers who cross the M60 ‘Outer ring’ in the morning peak (7am to 9.30am) to pay £2, followed by a further £1 to cross the inner ‘intermediate’ inner ring road. In the evening (4pm to 6.30pm) the fee would be £1 to cross each cordon.

The latest changes to the original plans include a reduction in the maximum total daily charge from £10 to £5, an exemption for lorries in the first year of the charge and an exemption for the Trafford Park business area until a new tram link is installed.

The scheme managers are also redrawing the C-Charge boundary and proposing additional local transport incentives.

But sceptics say the last-minute plans, such as lower bus and C-charge fares for the low paid, are unrealistic panic measures. The two groups trying to push the scheme through - the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities - are also faced with an anti-congestion charge group made up of local MPs from all three main parties.

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Comments
8

TUK

3 November 2008

So, Manchester GMPTE and local authorities want to victimise a small percentage of its residents to pay for the hugely expensive transport scheme. The congestion charge is a grossly unfair method of funding the Manchester transport initiative. If, as suggested, 90% of people will not be affected by the congestion charge, then taxing the other 10% of the population (many just trying to scrape a living) to pay for a scheme that will benefit everyone is unfair. It is as fair as taxing all people with blue eyes, or anyone who shops at the Trafford Centre on Thursdays. If Manchester wants improved transport then we should ALL pay for it. That is FAIR. What's wrong with increasing council tax? I'm sure it's because the councillors of this city have lost their nerve - motorists are a much easier political target. People should not be victimised because they drive their car. Motorists pay more to subsidise the local and national economies than do many other people. Why not tax the 90% as well ... cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, taxi drivers, the private bus companies, the emergency services, students, people who need to visit the doctors at 9am .. they're all implicated one way or another.

3 November 2008

Does anyone know what happens to those people who live within the charging ring. I live inside the M60 Ringroad and therefore inside the outer charge zone. But what happens if I leave home, travel out of the Ring (ie away from the City) but then need to return to my home, thus crossing the charge zone on my way home and in the direction of the city? I will be charged for say, major household and grocery shopping away from the city centre and then returning home!!!!!! It is completely unfair to residents in the area. I believe that in London, people in a similar situation get charge a small proportion of the main charge, but that’s not the point. As a resident, I pay for all the local amenities out of my Council Tax, I also support local business and now I am being charged for the privilege. Please someone tell me I am mistaken.

3 November 2008

Geordie Amanda

The charge is directional - drivers pay heading inwards in the morning (7.00 to 9.30) or outwards in the evening (between 4 and 6.30). If you were travelling against the flow of congestion you wouldn't pay. If you drive without crossing a ring you wouldn't pay at any time.

3 November 2008

Sounds like a very complicated system. London's scheme costs so much to run from all the admin charges that it actually makes a loss unless you include revenue from fines.

I wonder how Manchester will manage to keep 'in the black' with such small fees.

4 November 2008

If my (limited) knowledge of Manchester geography is correct, this seems to suggest that people are going to be charged to get to the Trafford Centre (the north's biggest shopping multiplex) - which is just inside the M60. That seems completely counter-intuitive (I mean, surely they're doing the city centre a favour by NOT driving there).<br>

And why the hell are lorries exempt from the charge? Surely one of the points of a C-Charge is to try and persuade goods operators to pick different and less congested times to make deliveries.

TUK

4 November 2008

Lorries will only be exempt for 1 year, after which they will pay the same car owners. This was a last minute concession to try and swing the yes vote. This of course forces more of the financial burden to be shouldered by an even smaller number of motorists for the first year at least. How unfair is that!??!

4 November 2008

Sadly I sometimes travel with the traffic on my way to work. I.e. I leave the city at rush hour and return in the morning during the next charging period too. It’s great, I get to pay for people who live outside the area to come into it and get penalised for making the mistake of living in Greater Manchester. I don’t even work in Manchester!

4 November 2008

Am waiting for them so it will help in the fight aganst terrorisim.

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