Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

C-Charge Linked to Longer Car Journeys; Trips in Central Zone Take an Extra 15 Minutes, Says Survey

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

C-Charge Linked to Longer Car Journeys; Trips in Central Zone Take an Extra 15 Minutes, Says Survey

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIELLE DEMETRIOU

CAR journeys into the capital are taking a third longer than before the congestion charging scheme started, new figures published today suggest.

The findings indicate that, seven weeks after the start of the scheme, Londoners are experiencing a steady build-up of congestion as they drive from outside the city into the central zone.

The average journey time along the 10 major routes into the city last week was 55.7 minutes, which was more than 32 per cent higher than the average of 38.4 minutes it took motorists during the same week last year.

The figures also revealed that journey times had already increased by 15 minutes in the past seven weeks. The findings came to light in a survey conducted by Trafficmaster, which monitors 10 key routes on a weekly basis, including the A1 from Mill Hill to Islington, the A20 from Swanley to Eltham, the A3 from Cobham to Clapham and the A23 from Hooley to Brixton.

While last year's journey times may have been affected by the Easter holidays, motorists are still experiencing a higher rate of congestion now than before the start of the scheme.

The worst delays are along routes that motorists are using to avoid entering the charge zone, according to a Trafficmaster spokeswoman.

The key points for delays include the Blackwall Tunnel approaches on the A12 and A102, the A40 Western Avenue, Archway Road and Stoke Newington high street.

The findings were described as a "cause for concern" by Paul Watters, the AA's head of road and transport policy.

He said: "I think these figures are very significant, particularly those which reveal that routes into the city are already taking 15 minutes longer compared with the first week of the scheme.

"We are carrying out our own research into it and we have already noticed that roadworks and accidents have reached the same levels as last year. …

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