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Friday, February 07, 2003

On February 17th people living in London will have to start paying a congestion charge if they want to drive their car in the centre of the city (7.00am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public Holidays).

This scheme requires drivers to pay £5 per day if they wish to drive in central London during the scheme’s hours of operation...

The idea is that those using valuable + congested road space make a financial contribution (on top of existing road tax) and that this charge will act as an incentive for people to use of other modes of transport and will also speed up journey times for those who are prepared/able to pay to use the road (the average speed of traffic in central London is still only 9mph)...

Those who will be exempt from the charge include disabled people,residents living within the congestion charging zone, drivers of alternative fuel vehicles, vehicles with 9 or more seats, drivers of roadside recovery vehicles + accredited breakdown organisations.

The political stakes are high for the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, but in order to help people adapt Transport for London have produced a Journey Planner which should help people to discover what the alternative routes for their journey using public transport are (be warned this site takes a bit of exploring!) . Alternatively, travellers can call TfL’s Travel Information Centre 020 7222 1234.

Personally, I found the various official websites looked good but were a little bit light on usable + detailed information... so here are the links for the buses, The Tube + Streetmap...

On the bright side the eTag toll system used in Sydney + Melbourne seems to be working quite well, although visitors often have more difficulty working out how to get from A to B than do the locals...