Saturday, December 16, 2006

Road Charges

I recently had a request to sign a petition about potential road charges in the UK. the email concerned said " The government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A non working Mum who used the car to take the kids to school paid £86 in one month. On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked."

Whilst I hate the idea of paying more tax, particularly when none of it will be used to improve the roads, I'm not sure I should sign the petition. If the pricing system discourages people from all travelling at the same time, in the rush hour, then it might be a good thing. Since employers are not rushing to introduce flexible working and therefore insist their employees travel at the most congested times, maybe some financial disincentive will work. I guess outraged employees will approach their bosses and ask more forcibly for the ability to flex their hours or to work some of the time from home.

There was an uproar when the congestion charge was first inroduced in London but now everyone accepts it and it has reduced the traffic jams on the roads. I guess we wil have the same objections to road charging but ultimately accept that if we insist on travelling in the rush hour we will have to pay for it.