Feeds

Gov to Manchester: No new trams without road pricing

One-way congestion charge favours night shift

The Power of One Infographic

Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, has made it clear that Greater Manchester will lose £1.5bn in central government funding for public transport if local people don't agree to the use of road pricing for motorists.

“There is no Plan B. I would not want people to be under any illusion about that,” said Mr Hoon, referring to the proposed Westminster-funded road pricing and public transport package in an interview with the Times. The citizens of Manchester are currently being polled in a local referendum on the plans.

"If the vote is ‘no', there will be no central government funding," said Mr Hoon. “There will be plenty of other cities looking to take up the opportunity if Manchester doesn't.”

The scheme would see heavy investment in public transport infrastructure including trams, bus lines and trains. But there would also be a network of detectors and a system of electronic tags and prepaid accounts for motorists.

Unlike the London Congestion Charge, however, drivers would not be charged a flat fee for any entry into the charging zone. A car would be charged only during rush hour periods, and only when going in the busy direction of travel. There would also be an inner charge zone, costing more than the outer one. The most a motorist could pay would be £5 daily, as opposed to the £8 London rate.

To further sweeten the pill, there are discounts offered for those on minimum wage and exemptions for workers on the Trafford Park industrial estate, who would otherwise have been hit hard. It has also been promised that the public-transport improvements would come first, with the charges commencing no sooner than 2013.

Manchester has seen a renaissance of economic growth in recent times, but has suffered from congestion as a result. Local politicians fear that unless something is done, the city will miss out on jobs and wealth in coming years.

The existing London charge is managed purely by automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) camera systems. The data generated by these is already accessible in real time by the police Counter Terrorism Command, though this wasn't originally part of the plan.

Similarly, there are no plans at the moment for live police access to the Manchester tag-scanners and accompanying enforcement ANPR systems (yes, there will be accompanying ANPR enforcement).

The idea of local charging schemes enjoys cross-party support, and the Tories have said they would stand by the plan if the local referendum is won. The Conservatives say they're against national road-pricing schemes, however, whereas Labour see these as part of the future under their "Managed Motorway" plans.

The Times writeup is here. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.