Thursday, 27 November 2008

Manchester Congestion Charge - Yes or No?

As many local papers and websites are now hightlighting (e.g. This Is Lancashire), all residents across the 10 regions of Greater Manchester have until 10pm on 11th December, in 2 weeks time, to cast their vote in determining whether a congestion fare should be introduced in Manchester or not. The congestion fare would work by drivers paying up to £5 a day for crossing in and out of an outer ring (the M60) and an inner ring (the city centre) at peak times between 7 and 9.30 am, and 4 and 6.30 pm. The fare, to be provisionally introduced in 2013, would help make £1.2 billion of the £3 billion needed for improvements to public transport in Greater Manchester. Many agree, many disagree...what's your view?

The improvements to public transport across Greater Manchester would include:

  • An extra 22 miles of tramlines

  • 41 upgraded train stations

  • New direct buses from the north to the south of Manchester

  • 120 extra yellow school buses

  • More carriages and seats on trains

  • More park and ride service on rail and tram networks

  • More cycling provision

For full details on how the scheme will affect each region in Greater Manchester click here.

Some believe that the fare will help to reduce traffic levels in the city, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, in practice 9 out of 10 people across Greater Manchester wouldn't have to pay a charge. Campaigns in favour of the charge also argue that without the fare much needed transport improvements and extensions in Greater Manchester wouldn't go ahead, as highlighted on Vote Yes website.

On the other hand, some disagree with the charge, as it could cost commuters an extra £1,200 per year to travel around the city. Similarly, SMEs may consider relocating, as the extra financial burden may affect their ability, and their customers' ability, to travel around Manchester, as examples on the First Voice website show.

Still unsure how the congestion charge works? The BBC website has a useful FAQs page on the matter.

What do you think about the fare?

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