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Arthurian Legend

Thank you for that informative analysis, Phil.

It amazes me that the whole sceheme has cost nearly £900 million over the past four years or so.

It would be interesting if someone could pin-point which particular costs have been unnecessarily high, and why that was.

Are there ways in which the capital and/or running costs can be reduced in future, e.g. through better management, more competitive tendering, etc?

On the national road pricing system, don't forget that that is motivated by the need to generate cash to operate the EU's Galileo dual civilian-military satellite system. The one in which China has a 20% stake....The one that the US Department of Defence has said it will have to disable or destroy if used by China against Taiwan or US forces in South-East Asia...

Rachel Joyce

What an excellent and interesting analysis. Should have been in the 18doughtystreet advert - needs to be properly publicised. I'm in favour of some kind of green taxes, but this clearly doesn't work, and the fare rises just put the final nail in the coffin of effectiveness.
How depressing for Londoners!


This analysis just goes to prove that if you have the time, knowledge and patience you can demolish Labour's ( and Red Ken’s) spin and prove conclusively that all these massive government IT projects are a complete waste of money and only serve to line the pockets Labour's friends in the IT industry. Just how much of this London CC budget has found its way into the pockets of Labour’s favourite transport consultant Capita? Certainly enough for their former chairman (?) to donate the odd million to Labour I would guess.

London Salmon

TfL has a £78 million marketing/communications budget to ram their propaganda about how wonderful the c-charge is down Londoner's throats- no wonder people think it has worked! This excellent analysis, however, paints a different and more accurate picture.

If only the London media bothered to do a tenth of the research Phil has done, then the Mayor would not be sitting so comfortably. The western extension, due on Monday, will spread the failure further, and this time I do not think London voters will be so forgiving.

But then again, did you know that 20% of Londoners get their information about the Mayor from his propaganda sheet, the Londoner? That's more than the Evening Standard! (see my post about the Annual London Survey).

Denis Cooper

Arthurian Legend, did you see the very interesting letter about Galileo and vehicle tracking in yesterday's Telegraph, from "Walter Blanchard, Former adviser to the EC on satellite navigation, Dorking, Surrey":

"Sir - GPS cannot ever be used to enforce anything in this country because it is an American-owned, -operated and -controlled military system.

America has repeatedly refused, rightly, to allow foreign participation, much less legally enforceable control. It advises civil users that it accepts no responsibility for its accuracy, availability or reliability, and it does not guarantee anything.

It is quite obvious that, if this does not change, it will be impossible to make British law around it. This is the main problem that led to the initiation of the European civil-controlled system Galileo. Road-pricing enforcement using a satnav system will have to wait until Galileo is in fully certified operation, which perhaps may not be until 2020 or later."

Graeme Archer

This is a great article. I had more or less swallowed the "it's irritating but wortwhile if it reduces congestion" line peddled by those in favour of the Charge. I should admit, too, that part of me finds it amusing to see west Londoners getting up in arms about the westward extension; I don't remember any of them marching down Shoreditch High Street to complain about the original zone. That's just the demented Marxist in me. They're quite right to complain, loudly, about this new tax on existence and Phil has shown us above that the tax is neither environmentally defensible (which just confirms what you can see with your eyes: congestion has not been reduced (the graphs in the TfL's document, reproduced above, are I bet deliberately misleading: always take care of official graphs that tell you the percentage of journeys which are delayed by longer than 30% -- a convoluted measure, you will agree, designed to mask the fact that the obvious metric to use - average traffic speed in central London - is presumably not helpful to Livingstone's argument)). Where was I. Oh yes. Phil has shown us that the tax is neither environmentally defensible nor fiscally sensible. So I hope that whoever becomes the Tory candidate will campaign in part to abolish this tax - Phil has convinced me it's not a "dead" issue.

Arthurian Legend

Interesting, Dennis. 2020 is still too soon for my liking, though...

John Allen

The Party has a clear policy to abolish ID cards - based on effectiveness, cost and liberty grounds. David Davis taking the initiative.
Exactly the same reasons apply to the congestion charging, so let's agree that the shadow Transport Secretary takes the same actions on Congestion Charging & road tolling anywhere in the UK.

Our policy should be:-
1. to scrap fixed cost taxes ( Special tax on purchaseing a car & Road tax) and increasing fuel tax to compensate.
2. facilitating 21st century transport that will compete with cars and buses by being cheaper and more envireonmentally friendly.


I am against congestion charging and still more against Ken's meddling.

However, your figures would seem to indicate that from 2007/8 onwards the scheme is likely to generate some £100m free cash p.a. That is over 60% return on capital investment p.a. after only 5 years operation.

I imagine many businesses would be quite happy to generate such a ROI, but maybe it's not too difficult with a monopoly and the force of law behind you.

What interests me now is what Ken will do with so much free cash to throw around.

Phil Taylor


Don't worry about how Livingstone will spend his £100 million of free cash flow pa. He will never collect it. What new capital costs are in the pipeline? Don't forget all the kit is electronics. The original kit has been standing outside for 4-5 years. When do think it is going to get replaced? If you don't see new lumps of capital spending you will see increased maintenance costs.

Also don't forget that Londoners should get smarter about paying fines. Something like 30% of the income is fines. If fines income was to fall significantly the scheme would go into deficit.


Couple of quick points from this Ken hating Labour supporter....

There were some figures released (rather overshadowed by the tragic Cutty Sark fire) that show a 25% drop in sales in the new West London zone.

Oxford Street will survive, because it is one of the worlds premier retail experiences- people won't go to Asda instead, they will either pay the charge, shop on the weekend or use public transport.

That simply isn't the case for more prosaic little shops in the western extension- so there might be some political mileage in abolishing that zone, or reducing its hours. The combined K&C,H&F and Battersea vote might be worth a bit.

Either way, the C charge needs to be part of a whole basket of policies.


Looks like TFL have made a mess of at least one part of the extension- giving people penalty charges for using slip roads onto the Westway.


This sort of incompetance could cost Ken votes, even amoung those who support CC.

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