Khan cuts congestion charge a day after poor hit with tax rise to plug TfL funding

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans to reduce the operating hours of the Congestion Charge at an estimated cost of £70 million per year while London’s public transport faces severe cuts and fare rises.

His decision to permit reductions in operating time – and subsequent loss of income – follows just a day after announcing plans to increase council tax which will disproportionately impact upon poorer Londoners.

He claimed that was essential to raise income for TfL – yet that rise is entirely wiped out by his congestion charge move today.

He also seeks to end Travelcards being used on TfL services thus encouraging those from beyond London to drive into the centre of the city each evening.

Another pro-car move is to remove the congestion charge throughout the entire Christmas and New Year period – while no free new years travel on TfL transport is being provided this year.

Forget free tube travel this year

While there is usually a break from the Congestion Charge, this year’s gap is the longest there’s ever been, which Khan’s deputy Mayor was happy to boast about today.

Following his strong support for the Silvertown Tunnel and continual willingness to ignore questions about it (note how he never responds or talks about increased afternoon congestion throughout Greenwich borough upon completion according to TfL), it’s revealing how his platitudes often fall apart when it comes to action.

TfL predict an increase in afternoon traffic along A102 and A2 in Greenwich. Khan ignores this point

TfL will be spending over £100 million in coming years on the tunnel. Around £2 billion is funded by a PFI type deal with tolls, yet TfL are to spend £175 million in addition.

Two extra lanes from tunnel meet existing network. Note no bus lane here as already ended

Even the bus argument falls apart when looking into details. The bus lane is shared with HGVs and ends immediately at the tunnel exit pushing buses into four lanes of increased traffic. That along with wider congestion predicted by TfL will hardly make bus use appealling.

Back in 2016, one of his very first decisions was to take action to enable City Airport expansion in east London, while opposing Heathrow expansion with reference to air quality.

Yet forcing tax rises through one of the most regressive forms of taxation a mere day before allowing drivers to avoid the congestion charge goes even further to show his words are not matched by action. After all, how many poorer Londoners are driving into Zone 1 in the evenings?

 

 

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Murky Depths

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

3 thoughts on “Khan cuts congestion charge a day after poor hit with tax rise to plug TfL funding

  • December 17, 2021 at 6:58 pm
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    He promised before the election that he would remove the morning restrictions on Freedom Passes.

    They were introduced following instructions from the DfT.

    The same is true of the extended hours for the congestion charge.

    Mayor Khan can’t implement changes without DfT approval. He needs to sort out the long term agreement on TfL

    Reply
  • December 19, 2021 at 7:30 am
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    Surely the idea of the Congestion Charge is to raise money for TFL and to encourage the use of public transport to ease the traffic congestion and air pollution which chokes London every day.

    The cuts to bus service frequences need to stop in Outer London and Boroughs like Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham which is largely not served by the London underground system and where people rely on their bus services as an alternative to the car.

    Reply
  • December 20, 2021 at 7:38 pm
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    Was not the extension of the congestion charge only a temporary measure and always set to come to an end at some point? But really, if people are not driving because of changing work patterns and stay at home orders, what difference will the new measures make anyway?

    Reply

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