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Congestion charge for Cambridge?

20 August 2018

On 6 August Robin Heydon, chair of the Camcycle cycling lobby group, advocated a congestion charging scheme for the city of Cambridge in The Cambridge News local paper. “Today everybody driving in Cambridge pays a congestion charge,” he began. “It is not money they are paying with but their time.

“I think we should start to really think about what a congestion charge could look like,” he said. “The whole point of a congestion charge is to remove congestion and this means that we have to reduce the number of people driving along certain congested roads at certain times of the day. This means that by default some people will have to change the way they move around.”

Heydon was not in favour, however, of Cambridge adopting a charging scheme similar to that currently in operation in London. “Once you’ve paid for access [to central London], you can drive as much as you want without any additional costs,” he pointed out. “I much prefer the Singapore model, with electronic road pricing gantries on just a few roads that have different prices at specific times, which are determined by historical average traffic speeds.

“I also personally don’t believe that city resident discounts are valid,” Heydon said. “The residents could still be driving cars [and if these] people are driving along congested roads to drive a couple of miles to work, delaying my plumber and costing him time, then yes they should have to pay for not using the bus or cycling or walking instead.

“The money raised from these congestion charges should be split half and half,” he concluded. “Half should go to running a world-class public transport system… [and] the other half should go to making the streets better places to walk and cycle.”

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