Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'[Pounds Sterling]1 A MILE TOLL' TO DRIVE IN LONDON; MOTORISTS ON CITY'S BUSIEST ROADS FACE NEW LEVY ON TOP OF C-CHARGE; Boris Plans Could Also Mean New Tolls for River Crossings

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'[Pounds Sterling]1 A MILE TOLL' TO DRIVE IN LONDON; MOTORISTS ON CITY'S BUSIEST ROADS FACE NEW LEVY ON TOP OF C-CHARGE; Boris Plans Could Also Mean New Tolls for River Crossings

Article excerpt

Byline: Katharine Barney City Hall Reporter

MOTORISTS face being charged to drive on London's busiest roads under radical new plans by Boris Johnson.

Drivers could be forced to pay for every mile they drive - on top of the congestion charge - as the Mayor fights to plug a multi-million-pound hole in the Transport for London budget.

If previous government proposals are followed the cost could be up to [pounds sterling]1.34 a mile. Someone with a 12-mile round trip to work in central London during the day could pay a total of [pounds sterling]20.

Cars would be tracked by satellite and charged for entering the most congested areas. The plan would raise significant revenue for the Mayor and if it works would open up busy areas to cyclists and improve bus journey times. It would also reduce pollution from cars.

The proposals were outlined in the Mayor's Transport Strategy, released today, which sets out his vision for the future of roads, Tubes and buses. A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "There are no firm figures in place, but it is something that Boris is looking at and talking to [Transport Secretary] Lord Adonis about."

Local government expert Tony Travers said the road pricing costs were likely to be similar to those proposed by Alistair Darling in 2005 when he was transport minister.

He said: "If that was being imagined for a scheme back then there's no reason it should have gone down. For this to be effective people have got to feel it and therefore the amount needs to be substantial."

The busiest areas in London would be targeted. These include Edgware Road, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Embankment and busy suburban areas such as Croydon and Greenwich.

The news came as the Government's climate change committee recommended road pricing across the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government has previously drawn up its own road pricing plans, under which cars would be fitted with a satellite receiver to calculate charges, with prices including fuel duty ranging from 2p per mile on uncongested roads to [pounds sterling]1.34 on the most congested roads.

Mr Johnson announced plans to abolish the western extension of the congestion zone, a move which would lose TfL up to [pounds sterling]70 million a year.

The new charges would help plug the gap left by the loss of revenue and contribute towards filling a [pounds sterling]2.25 billion black hole in TfL's finances caused by the collapse of Tube maintenance firm Metronet as well as fewer people using the Tube. Another way of raising revenue would be to significantly raise fares.

The Mayor's transport strategy document says: "The Mayor may consider managing the demand for travel through pricing incentives (such as parking charges or other charging regimes) in order to meet the overall objectives of the transport strategy. …

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