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UK Drivers to be charged by the mile
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Are you prepared to pay per mile for driving your car?
Yes, It is the fair way to charge.
13%
 13%  [ 11 ]
No, We need better roads
44%
 44%  [ 35 ]
No, We need better public transport
16%
 16%  [ 13 ]
No, Other
11%
 11%  [ 9 ]
Maybe, I need convincing
13%
 13%  [ 11 ]
Total Votes : 79

Author Message
MikeB
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:06 am    Post subject: UK Drivers to be charged by the mile Reply with quote

Plans are afoot to charge UK Drivers by the mile rather than raise finance via the Road Fund License.

The core technology to be used is, of course, GPS. Is this a genuine attempt to tackle the appauling lack of planning by successive governments, or just another way of filling the treasury coffers?

The London Congestion Charging system has worked! Or has it. Ken Livingstone wll tell you that it has. I suspect that the only positive gained from it is that the traffic in central London has been reduced and that London collects more revenue than previously. The downside must be that people like myself will not go into London unless we absolutely have to. This deprives business which really keeps the capital going of income. Net result: Business moves out or closes London becomes a ghost town.

Am I being cynical, or am I one of the only people who believe that we should bring our road infrastructure into the 21st century to come up to par with the continent and the USA? The answer to our traffic problems surely is not "lets get rid of it and promise (but fail to deliver) a better public transport system". Or is it?

Is the GPS technology up to the task? Surely this is an area open to fraud, based on the ability of the GPS to pick up information in adverse conditions. How often do you lose your GPS fix.

What are your views?

The Telegraph wrote:
Traffic congestion will worsen relentlessly for at least 10 years until a nationwide system of road charging becomes technically feasible, ministers said yesterday.

A White Paper on the future of transport policy painted a bleak picture of traffic levels increasing by 25 per cent by 2015 with delays extending across a steadily growing proportion of an unexpanded road network.

The document said the deterioration would be offset to some extent by minor highway improvements and better management of vehicle flows.

But it added: "They will not be enough on their own to prevent congestion spreading to longer periods each day and to more roads, increasing the suffering of road-users, business and our wider society."

It ruled out significant road-building as a solution, and called for a "mature discussion" on the merits of nationwide tolling.

Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, published an expert study on charging, which suggested that a pay-per-mile scheme to replace petrol tax could reduce urban congestion by almost half.

The report set out a range of charging bands under which motorists would pay from 2.5p a mile to 1.34 a mile, depending on time and place. The more congested the road, the more users would pay.

The study estimated that only 0.5 per cent of drivers would pay the highest charge, while about 60 per cent would pay less than they do in fuel duty now.

However, it stated that the necessary in-vehicle satellite tracking equipment was unlikely to be available in low-cost, mass market form until 2014 at the earliest.

The expert group, which included motoring representatives, civil servants and environmentalists, also made clear that drivers would need to be convinced that road pricing was not a means of raising additional revenue.

Accepting the study's 10-15 year timescale for feasibility, Mr Darling suggested that in the interim, a regional tolling trial might be staged with the help of "forward-looking" local authorities.

In a foreword to the White Paper, Tony Blair indicated that authorities willing to co-operate would be rewarded with greater powers over local bus services. However, no more details were provided.

Mr Darling confirmed the Government's intention to seek parliamentary powers to proceed with the Crossrail project in London. But supporters of the scheme were disappointed that he had no firm proposals for what he termed a "very large gap" in its 10 billion funding.

The Transport Secretary rejected three tram schemes for Manchester, Leeds and South Hampshire because of rising cost estimates.

Road user groups were universally critical of the White Paper. The RAC Foundation said a long-term debate on road pricing was no substitute for road improvements to solve immediate problems.

The Freight Transport Association said the document "re-states all the known problems but fails to say when solutions will be provided".

Environmentalists also attacked the lack of clear decision-making. Transport 2000 said ministers offered "warm words" on road pricing but no commitment, while rejecting tram schemes that offered alternatives to the car.

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Pc-Mobile
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charging system using GPS technology will never work.
Zone charging sytem like London congestion charge may work (as charing system) but the down side is of course business in the zone suffers.

The only feasible ways of "punishing" road users are:
1. Raise tax on petrol.
2. Raise road license
3. Raise car registration tax.
4. Raise parking fees in public roads.

Those are precisely policies here in Hong Kong. All 4 items are among the highest in the world.
Do they work? I suppose they do.
At lease the less well off cannot afford a car (to buy or to run).
Is it fair?
NOTHING IS FAIR IN THIS WORLD.
In everything there is always some gain and some lose.

If you deprive of people owning/running a car through high cost, you must have a good public transport system so that owning a car is not an "essential" item for living.

I said the system in Hong Kong works because the public transport system is also among the best in the world. One can go from anywhere to almost anywhere (or one end to another) through public transport in less than a couple of hours.

That cannot be said of Britain. Public transport system is EXPENSIVE and not very good to say the least. So for many, owning/running a car is an "essential" item. If you deprive of people owning/running a car through high cost, there must be many protesters.

I do not think there will ever be any result/solution, or fundatmental change from present situation.
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trafcam
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As if we don't pay enough to use the roads as it is. I think the best way forward is the age-old argument - put a small levy on petrol and that way, those that use more pay more. With all the tax already on petrol we will hardly notice the difference.

The main argument against the above has always been that the tax disc is normally a means of proving that the car is insured and has a valid MOT - at least on the day the tax disc was issued - and this is a valuable thing in my opinion.

The problem with the scheme of course is the same as the problem with relying on cameras to prosecute speeders - a significant number don't register the car to themselves, so where will the charges go?

Public transport in anything other than major city centres is not a viable solution. My journey to the office is around 12 miles, but it would take more than an hour if I had to come by bus. I get the bus home from the pub and that service is under threat because it doesn't make a profit.

One of the things that drains cash out of the road-fixing budget is the litigation culture that is becoming more prolific these days. One council (Stockport, I think) went to the expense of lifting all the paving stones in public areas and replacing them with concrete because they couldn't afford all the claims made by people tripping over the paving stones. I don't know what's happened to the phrase "well, look where you're going then" when dealing with these claims. Another around here (NW) says that they're in a vicious circle - they cannot afford to fix potholes in the road because the budget for doing that is taken up paying claims to people who have driven through the potholes and caused damage to their vehicles.

But in my opinion public transport is not the answer.
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Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isn't anything that's actually new, the government announced 12 months ago that they would be looking into this, and there are two tests available one in Leeds, and one in Birmingham, where cars are not only limited by speed, but charged by the mile you drive.

It's just been brought back up by the national press because the government have temporarily backed down on the increase on fuel taxes, so the media have tried to put another spin on it.

Personally I can't see that it'll work, the government are always tying to look at ways of taxing more, they've made it clear that they want to abolish the road tax, but whatever system they'll bring in over it will bring in more revenue for the government, they never reduce taxes only increase them!

What the government need to do first is:-
1) create a proper public transport system that works and is affordable and on time
2) Entice workers to work from home, and entice companies to make workers work from home. There's no reason why this cannot be achieved for a lot of companies, not all staff can do this, but a lot could providing special tax benefits were put in place to allow this to happen both from the employee side and the employer side.

Once this has been achieved, THEN the government can bring in a taxation policy to cut congestion. I agree, congestion will get worse, and something needs to be done, or in 20-30 years, it'll take 2 hours to drive half a mile.
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nej
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a bit pointless. We already have a usage-based charge - which is the tax on petrol. This also encourages us to to use more fuel efficient cars. If petrol was vastly reduced due to the tax being lifted and a per-mile policy coming in then there is no benefit in driving a boring fuel-efficient car when V8 turbo-charged fun could be had at no extra running cost!

There are a few additional problems:

1 - Things break sometimes. What happens then? An external antenna would be needed to cope with coated windscreens etc and these could easily be broken off. The entire GPS could fail as well.
2 - GPS isn't that accurate... bad weather conditions and multipath error (both very common in London!) could severly hamper precise charging.
3 - Piece of metal shielding over antenna - free motoring for all!
4 - Transmission costs. Someone somewhere has to be paying for the costs of transmitting the location data to a HUGE backend server somewhere. Is the motorist to pay this cost too? If it is to be radio transmissions then expect an eBay marked in radio jammers to appear! Not to mention the fact that in the valleys of Wales this probably wouldn't work... ditto for SMS transmission.
5 - Foreign Drivers? A big problem is European hauliers coming into the UK having filled up cheaper on the continent, driving around and then going away again. They'd still get away with it (and possibly get even cheaper fuel by filling up at a tax-free UK pump!) and wouldn't be able to be tracked.
6 - Civil liberties. This is possibly the REAL reason for doing it (tracking all and sundry) but the human rights groups will be up in arms.
7 - Ubiquity - must devices be fitted to Tractors and other farm/plant machinery?

I did have a load more in mind but I've just interrupted this post for an hour for an incredibly boring meeting and all thoughts have gone from my brain!
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trafcam
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nej wrote:
I did have a load more in mind but I've just interrupted this post for an hour for an incredibly boring meeting and all thoughts have gone from my brain!


I have meetings like that. Crying or Very sad

Back on subject though, how would this work for older vehicles? So far I don't think there has ever been a new requirement come into force that has been back-dated to cover vehicles which were already on the road. For example door mirrors were made compulsory in 1978 (I think) so if you have a car first used before 1978, there is no legal requirement to have them. Same for seatbelts in earlier cars, and so on. Surely it would be a nightmare to force people to retrofit all this stuff to their old cars? Also I think the old VW Beetle has 6v power, so that would be a problem for the equipment, my Dads Morris 1300 is positive earth, so that would be another problem for the equipment.
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lbendlin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at Germany, they just had one of the greatest scandals of all times when they tried (and failed) to implement such a toll system. The Swiss and Austrians use much more down to earth (haha) technology - short distance radio - and it works nicely.
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alix776
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it didnt work in german the maut system couldnt cope and that was only with trucks how would it cope 1.2million cars over here
the words
drinkin sesh
brewery
and could not
spring to mind (please rearrange into a coheardent sentance
the road haulage association did a study into the costs of the road user charging system and it worked out more expensive than the current one
i think it was 10% more and was to be trailled out on hgvs first the rolled out on to cars & motorbikes
Evil or Very Mad Twisted Evil 8O
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icsys
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading all the hype on this proposed scheme you would have to drive in the middle of the night on country lanes and stay away from the cities to avoid paying more than the current 165 a year on road tax.

Anything above 1.6 pence per mile for the average 10,000 a year driver means paying more.

We are already paying-as-we-go via the fuel duty. Do they intend to scrap this too?
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nicknick
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well there will be a system in place in 2008. This will be the Lorry Road User Charging (LRUC) scheme. And it will be based on satellite technology and apply to all HGVs (500,000 of them) on the UK roads

GPS (with the ways of making it more accurate) is not perfect, but it doesn't need to be. You can supplement it with Odometer readings and microwave systems where GPS signals are poor.

The German system is in trouble for reasons other than the GPS.

Once this is in place and working then they'll look at ways of fitting the systems to cars.

The key thing will be whether the promise of the scheme being "revenue neutral" i.e. the charges will be offset by refunds of the tax paid on fuel bought in the UK, really applies after a few years of operation
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jlw
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uhm... First of all, get "right-traffic" the rest of the world have. Almost everywhere. :-)
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this Goverment seems to be on some sort of hallucinogenic technology trip.
Rolling Eyes

First the anouncement that more offenders are to be tagged. Then this about trying to track our journeys, and now reductions in our Armed Forces to pay for more 'high-tech' systems.

All have one thing in common - they are not addressing the underlying issues, just dealing with the problem.

I'm just wondering what would happen if I pulled the fuse out of my GPS tracker?

More importantly, will the unit be logging my speed?

If you've seen the film 'Cliffhanger', and recall Sly Stallone strapping that tracking device to a rabbit, then that raises some interesting possibilities for the future.
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pevelius
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i wonder what could have been done by redirectin funds spent in iraq to improve roads & support public transportation.
i know, it is stupid to speak about iraq all the time. but i really dont mean to flame. just that from here (finland) it is quite bizarre to observe a totally different approach to politics.
a billing system based to gps is totally nuts. it is naive and expensive. instead, government should focus on the matter by making up cheapest possible ways to redirect traffic, improve roads, change public transportation. there are plenty of other countries where your leaders can visit to find out how things have been done.
so, the thing you all can do to improve situation is to vote accordingly Smile
sincerely
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you disable the GPS system then there will be cameras (the good old number plate reading cameras) looking for you. And you will then be 'intercepted'
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: UK Drivers to be charged by the mile Reply with quote

A high tech system for tracking vehicles and charging sounds like a great idea. Screp the fuel duty and road tax and collect the tax a different way. People could be charged more for driving in certain roads or times.

But there are a lot of problems:

The system would cost a fortune to implement and run. Imagine how much more it would cost to install and maintain 30 million GPS receivers and all the associated infrastructure?

So it the net tax burden on the motorist stays the same and the system for collecting it is expensive to run the net tax collected by the government would decrease. This isn't going to happen so guess who is going to pay this cost in the form of higher motoring charges?

Also, the new pay per mile per road per time of day will be so complex that the government could make lots of changes to it to give the impression that they are cutting the toll (for some users) while others pay more. Such a toll could easily be increased by stealth, a big bonus to the Government.

It is my impression that the existing system doesn't actually cost that much to run because the tax is collected by the Petrol companies and the Post Office.

We can easily see how much our tax disc and litre of fuel cost. The danger is that the road charging scheme would be given over to local councils to run and they would milk it for all it is worth.

Then what happens when they start logging the location and speed of your vehicle every 10 seconds for the duration of your journey. At the end of the trip you will have a wad of speeding fines to pay too, thank you very much. Another money spinner!

Be afraid, be very afraid.
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