Discuss the likely advantages and problems arising from the introduction of a London Style congestion charge in Manchester Free essay! Download now
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Discuss the likely advantages and problems arising from the introduction of a London Style congestion charge in Manchester
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| Words: 1800 | Submitted: 12-Feb-2009
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DescriptionDiscuss the likely advantages and problems arising from the introduction of a London Style congestion charge in Manchester.
Unlike any other city in the world, Manchester is trying to deal with the problem of traffic by investing £3bn in the transport network: £1.2bn from the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) and £2bn via a Government grant. The £1.2bn TIF funding is planned to be repaid over 30 years out of profits from the congestion charge. It will cost £318 million to set up the system, but overall the advantages will outweigh these set-up costs. (Wikipedia 2008).
The proposed congestion charge will provide funding to bring big improvements to the bus network, expand the metro link and provide longer trains and better stations. If these changes were not completed in the next decade it would have a ‘substantial negative impact on the economic growth and health of the community‘(Phelan 2008). Even Parents and school children will benefit from these changes as they will introduce American style yellow school buses which will reduce the school traffic in mornings and afternoons.
With regards to the charging structure, ‘it is proposed that vehicles entering the area bordered by the M60 motorway will be charged £2 in the morning peak, with a further £1 for those entering the city centre itself. In the evening, a further £1 will be charged on exit of each cordon.’(Wikipedia 2008). It will be paid by topping up an electronic tag. This is half the cost of the original proposal and is cheaper than London, where a charge of £8 to drive into London at anytime between early morning and late evening is levied. A positive impact may be that companies may become more flexible in their working hours, allowing workers to come in to work later and leave later. In London, due to the higher cost structure there has been an impact on the numbers of cars using central London.
The congestion charge however will not be put in place until 80% of the proposed changes to public transport have been completed and will only happen if 8 out of the 10 Manchester Boroughs agree by to the charge by taking a vote which will be sent out in a pack by the TIF. (Guardian online 2008). Feedback from the Manchester residents I have spoken to, is that they are opposed to the proposal and think it unnecessary. A bus passenger said that although she welcomed the charge due to the improvement in public transport, ‘this will make a real difference to the household budgets of many families and individuals across the region’.
However, bus fares will be capped if the congestion charge is brought in, with there probably being 2 bands, short and long journeys. With the improvements in the service this should encourage new users to this service. There is talk that there will be 20% discount for low paid workers on the minimum wage level on the buses. (BBC news online 2008)
With the maximum amount anyone could pay on the congestion charge being £5, there still will be exemptions from the charge, such as ‘Disabled drivers, motorcyclists, hackneys carriages, mini cabs, emergency vehicles and registered recovery will be exempt as well as anyone on their way to a medical appointment.’ ( Ottewel 2008) A lot of care and consideration has been put into this proposal to ensure fairness within the congestion charge.
Lis Phelan of the TIF ‘Yes’ campaign, said fare-capping was ’the news transport users have been waiting for’.
The Manchester public wants the improvements to the public transport but many are still against the proposed congestion charge. But, with the proposal not planned to be active until 2013, many people can therefore get used to using the improved public transportation system to get to work.
This charge won’t even affect everyone as you will not be charged if you drive out of the city in the morning and into the city in the evening. Only 2% of drivers are said to pay the maximum £5 full charge. (BBC news 2008)
There is a mixed reaction by the political parties to the proposal (Labour party being pro-congestion), but the Association of Greater Manchester (AGMA) has said that ‘ if we fail to address road congestion, Greater Manchester could miss out on 30,000 jobs over the next 15 years’. Lis Phelan also said ’Greater Manchester will be at the forefront of the battle to expand economies while limiting CO2 emissions.
A disadvantage to the congestion charge is that it could cost up to £100 every month or £1,200 every year just to use your car in Central Manchester. This reduces disposable income for an estimated 20,000 people, which will have a potential negative impact for local businesses. (Phelan 2008)
The congestion charging zone will be the worlds largest, but due to the extent of the area the improvements promised will not be an alternative to ‘door to door’ travel in your car. It is expected that bus journeys will take 90minutes instead of 30 minutes in the car and therefore could impact the quality of life. Even if you don’t drive there will be knock on costs to all businesses, and even council taxes could be higher if the congestion charge is insufficient to repay the loan of £1.2 billion.
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