As if there were not enough disincentives to drive into London, Ken Livingstone has championed a congestion charge as a further penalty for car owners using the roads for which they have paid many times over. Here are some facts that he would rather you did not know:-
Driving in London is a stressful affair. People only do it because the alternatives are worse or impractical. Public transport is already overcrowded during the rush hours. If the GLA force more motorists to use the system it will become even worse. However much money is spent on public transport, it can never replace the flexibility of a car.
The people most likely to be forced off the roads are the lowest income groups, Exactly the social exclusion that Ken Livingstone is opposed to.
The GLA should learn from the example of the Millennium Dome. One reason for its failure is its hostility to private cars. Despite excellent public transport links, people have voted with their wheels and stayed away. Project this over the whole of central London and traders may well pay a higher price than motorists for congestion charging.
This scheme must be stopped. Selecting any particular group to fund the needs of another, regardless of their ability to pay and simply because they are unpopular with the authorities, is fundamentally unjust. You have until 22 September 2000 to make your views known. Please write objecting to the charging proposals to:
Greater London Authority
marking your envelope 'Congestion Charging Consultation'.