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London begins ''congestion charges''

6944 Views 31 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  mitch420
I note that they exempt "all 2-wheeled vehicles" rather than specifying motorcycles. That gets them out of arguements over whether Corbin Sparrows (and old Morgan, Reliant and other 3-wheelers) qualify.

Very interesting experiment. Not sure I like the enforcement mechanism of photographing license plates and matching them to the database of paid-up commuters. Smacks a bit too much of Big Brother for my tastes.

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Yeah, they basically exempt everything that has less than four wheels:

"All two-wheeled vehicles (including with sidecars) - that is, motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles - are exempt from the congestion charge. You can ride them anywhere in the zone at any time without paying the charge and do not have to register for this exemption..." (from the Transport for London site)

I'm not too hot on the surveillance component either. Britain's pretty far down that road already, what with Gatso speed cameras and those vans that drive around scanning for people who are illegally watching TV...
The whole video survillance issue is not something I'd like to see around here, But they have the right attitide on bikes in England, the whole motorcycle currior thing is briiliant, if they banned or taxed them their financial district would grind to a halt in no time

I didn't mean to state it that way ("everything less than four wheels"), since that's definitely not the way their official site describes it. I wonder if Sparrows and the like are registered as "motorcycles" there as they are here.
Actually, that is the BBC news site, rather than the official site, but clearly the intention is to exclude motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles and the like.

The major concern with this idea is that small business that make deliveries (have delivery vehicles) are going to get drown by the tax. I bet you will see some big milk creates on the back of bikes in the near future. They sould probably start buying some old touring bikes.
Old touring Bikes?!

Are you kidding?

I have seen a couriour (french spelling, imported by William of Orange) with bunches of roses--at least four dozen by counting the number of vases (yes!) that were strapped into the milkcrate on 20-year-old 450cc Hondas. They would never ride touring bikes because they wouldn't fit through traffic...they might at well drive a cage, then, as far as they think of it. The biggest bikes those guys ride are the PanEuropaeiaeoun (english spelling designed to ***** off the the french)--nee ST1100--and that's for ,ahem, long distance courioures, which is to, like, Scotland and back in a day. Motorcyclist (who don't deserve even a french spelling these days) ran a big feature on coiureioures about a year ago which was very
And I thought toll highways in the U.S. were stupid. $8 to enter the city?! And they use automated cameras to bill people?! Why didn't we think of that? Oh yeah, we're not completely socialist.....yet.

I can just see people getting billed for their stolen cars (maybe they get refunds).

What's really sad is that a majority of people support it (those who don't have to pay for it, I'm sure). But what comes around goes around, they'll get their turn.

Said a London commuter: "I'm just glad to do my part in giving money to the govt. You know, so they can by more cameras and stuff."

Oh yeah, it's great that motorcycles are exempt from paying (snicker).

What a truely STUPID idea.
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Perhaps it's time to bust out the ol' Harley-Davidson ServiCar
I haven't been to London for a few years but I went to Melbourne Australia for a holiday last year and was intrigued with their toll system on the inner city freeways. For casual users like me I had to ring up and pay the toll for my rental car and no doubt if I didn't, the video surveillance would have caught me and they would have chased the rental car company. Read about the system here

I have heard that rental car companies in UK (and do they do it in the US) have GPS gear to track your movements and I gather they can police your speed - talk about big brother - technology is going to regulate us too much. Not my idea of fun. Imagine that sort of speed monitoring of squids on their GSXR1000s for example. Where's the fair game in that? Speed cameras are bad enough.



I share your concerns with the photo enforcement mechanism, but I am surprised to see you describe the concept of charging for driving in the city as "Socialism."

I am not a particular fan of toll roads, personally, but my reasons are due to the resulting disruption of traffic flows. Having the users of the roads bear the cost of construction and maintenance is much LESS socialistic than having this borne by the taxpaying public, in my opinion.

In congested cities such as London (LA and San Francisco also come to mind), this approach which gives economic incentives to chose alternative transport is better than some of the alternative choices which have been proposed, like even-odd license number days, outright car bans in large areas, or the ever-popular, heavily subsidised mass transit to entice us out of our cars.



*Singles and Twins Forever!*
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Photographing license plates a little to Orwellian for you? Government surveillance cameras aren't new to this latest traffic control revenue generation scam. Virtually every road in Great Britain has had them for years now. In London these cameras can literally spy on ALL public activity! You would think this constant police monitering would make London one of the safest cities in the world, but the crime rate has risen exponetially there since guns were outlawed a few years ago. You know the old saying, those that will trade freedom for security wind up having neither. VWW
Re: Socialism?

Bob, while I agree that excise taxes and tolls are a better method of funding road construction and mantainence, the $7.50 that is the daily charge for driving in London far surpasses the funds needed for roads. This is nothing more than highway robbery (no pun intended) and governmental social engineering which will have numerous unforseen negative ramifications. Can we all say boondoggle? VWW
Based on a couple of visits to London last year, I have to say the scary thing about the motorbike couriers is how many of them have a big "L" (for Learner) sticker on the back of their bikes! And these guys are tootling around in very dense urban traffic, splitting lanes, shooting through tiny gaps, etc.
Re: Oop

I think the Corbin Sparrow would be exemt even if it had four wheels. There is also an exemption for "alternative fuel vehicles".Does that include electric vehicles?
The backlash has already started

The Times of London has this article calling for an end to the motorcycle exemption. Good quotes like "You are eight times more likely to be knocked down by a motorcyclist than a car in Central London."
Re: The backlash has already started

It's a road, not a sidewalk. Why don't people look before crossing the street?
Oh, you've noticed that too? At my advancing age I've seen the slow erosion of freedom in many places in the US. Things that got me a chewing out by the local police when I was a teenager now result in major legal hassles, arrests, forced psychiatric drugging and worse.

Yet, with all this increase in govt power, gun control, anger managment behavior modification, etc., the problems of violence get worse, not better.

Orwell's timetable was just a bit early, that's all. Note how today we are told we'll keep our freedom if we go along with such things as the Homeland Security Office. Or as some call it the Ministry of Love.
Yes, a few rental companies here are doing this, the one I know for sure was in CT. They have even used the GPS to see if you go from point A to point B faster then the legal limit would allow.
"I'm just glad to do my part in giving money to the govt. You know, so they can by more cameras and stuff."

Well, if that's the majority opinion you can bet that the worst is yet to come. In England the police can already place you on probabtion and restrict your movements if they believe that you might become involved in illegal activity, even if you have never been arrested. On top of that it's already illegal to say anything publicly that might offend any govt designated minority. The Home Secretary was even trying to get these speech codes applied to people in their own homes a few years back. I don't know if he succeeded.

Seen any pictures of the "bobbies" lately? They always seem to be carrying submachineguns. So much for gun control and intrusive govt creating a safe society. It creates the opposite.

England, the Cradle of Freedom, my @$$.
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