Ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone once said that the big ol’ congestion charge was only thing in his whole political career that ‘turned out better than I expected’. Sorry to burst your bubble, Ken, but a new report says the charge is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and should be done away with altogether. Gulp.
The London Assembly Transport Committee's report, London Stalling (good one, guys), says the congestion charge, which has been in place since 2003 and currently requires motorists to pay £11.50 a day to drive into central London, is ‘too blunt’ and a new ‘fairer’ charge should be brought in instead. They’re asking TfL to roll out a system where motorists pay more for driving for longer, at peak times, on London's most gridlocked roads. They've also suggested any new pay scheme should be extended across the capital, so congested suburban town centres are covered too.
And it seems that time is of the essence to implement a new pricing scheme, as the report found congestion on London roads is getting steadily worse and costing the economy a whopping £5.5 billion a year – that's a pretty expensive price tag for our gridlocked roads. The transport committee's chair Caroline Pidgeon said: 'Something dramatic has to be done about the enormous congestion problem on London’s roads. The issue is costing our city money and costing Londoners their health and wellbeing.'
Congestion charge or not, Londoners are shelling out way more than the rest of the country for their car insurance.
And that's not all – first-time buyers in London pay double the UK average.