Monday, March 2, 2009

Bad News Dept: Scrapping London Congestion Tax

I really liked the format of the paper, but what I liked best was the Bad News Department!

Just as you have talked about the attempts to detract the success of the Velib in Paris, so also Mayor Boris Johnson’s scrapping of the westward extension of the London Congestion Tax is being used in Mumbai by the car lobby to state that “The Congestion Tax is a failure in London, and therefore it cannot be used in Mumbai”. That it cannot be applied in the format that has been used in London is because of various other reasons, not because the concept per se is bad and therefore doomed to failure. (This was in a lot of newspapers, and my views on the same were also published, but I unfortunately did not make copies!)

Mumbai desperately needs some form of congestion reduction techniques: whether it is fiscal or policy measures, it will have to be tailored to meet our socio- cultural issues, as well as the unique geography that Mumbai has. However, the scrapping of the extension of the congestion tax in London has set back any progress we were making in that direction.

I wonder if any other city has had a similar experience?

Bina C. Balakrishnan
Consultant- Transportation Planning & Engineering
Mumbai, India

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