It is a shame more American cities with mass transportation aren’t emulating London, and charging drivers who use their cars in the central city during the day. (The London “congestion charge” is about $10). After all, the London scheme has been astonishingly successful. Six months after the system took effect in February 2003, traffic was reduced by 18 percent, with a 30 percent reduction in auto traffic and a 20 percent increase in bus and taxi ridership. Imagine your local metropolis with a third less cars on the street. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Now a London suburb has come up with an ever more audacious plan:
Motorists who drive gas-guzzling cars are to face significant rises in parking fees under a pioneering scheme to tackle climate change. Drivers of the most polluting vehicles will be charged up to £450 a year to park outside their homes under the plan, which marks one of the first serious attempts to penalise people for behaviour that damages the environment.
The scheme, piloted in Richmond upon Thames in south-west London, will be closely watched by local authorities and green campaigners, who hope it will lead to similar moves across the country.
Richard Bourn, of the pressure group Transport 2000, said: “This is the future. The government is already moving in the direction of polluter pays with road pricing and I think we’ll see more schemes across the country that target more polluting vehicles in a similar way.”