From CityLab:

After 15 years of existence, London’s method of congestion charging is dated. It needs to be bigger, longer, and greedier.
London’s congestion charge turned 15 in February and it is showing its age. When the charge was introduced, no one foresaw the rapid proliferation of private hire vehicles like Uber. From 2013 to 2017, private hire vehicle registrations soared by over 75 percent: These cars are exempt from paying the congestion charge. …
By many important measures, the charge has been a success: The number of vehicles driving into Central London is a quarter lower than a decade ago. The charge has been particularly successful at deterring personal use cars from entering Central London: the number of private cars entering the zone fell 39 percent between 2002 and 2014. …
Buses have also been affected by congestion on London’s roads. In the past few years bus passenger numbers have been down. An investigation by the London Assembly, the city government’s scrutiny body, pinpointed traffic congestion as the primary reason for the fall in passenger numbers on London’s buses. It also found that the slower the speed along a bus route, the greater the drop in bus usage. Stuck on congested roads, people find that journey times by bus are unreliable, making them less attractive in comparison to other transport modes. This may account for the rise in cycling journeys: The number of cycles traveling in Central London increased by 210 percent between 2000 and 2016.
London has already reallocated some of its road space to active travel — primarily cycle and pedestrian — but the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has grand ambitions: In his 2018 Transport Strategy, he set out the goal for four out of five journeys made in London to be by active travel or transit by 2041 — today these transport modes only make up about 62 percent on average across London. …
To better address the traffic challenge and generate funds for facilitating active travel and transit, London needs to update the congestion charge with a road pricing structure that covers all of London, all road users, and all of the week, including the heavy weekend night usage by private hire cars, a time when the current congestion charge does not apply. The technological advancements over the past decade and a half make a future pricing structure that reflects distance, time and location technologically feasible.

Comments

  1. Last year we waited in a restaurant in the middle of London friends who were meeting us for dinner on their way through from San Francisco to Vienna. It was Saturday night, and we were to meet at 7:30. My wife and I took the tube and walked the last quarter mile to the restaurant, getting there on time. Our friends, who had taken the train in from Gatwick to Victoria Station, arriving at 7:20, didn’t want to be late so they decided to take an Uber the last 2 miles to the restaurant — because that’s what you do in San Francisco. The last 2 miles took them 55 minutes because they were stuck in traffic — a lot of it Uber traffic, as they were quick to point out.

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