Thursday, 15 November 2007

Association of British Drivers responds to Dispatches: Bottleneck Britain

The ABD issued a press release in response to Monday night’s Channel 4 documentary.

"Channel 4 did a good job showing that many ordinary people are fed up of the way that motorists are treated by the authorities and are ready to make a stand against parking restrictions, speed cameras and charging schemes," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "But the programme failed utterly to deal with the arguments for and against road pricing. Instead, it weakly took the Government line that road pricing was the inevitable solution to congestion but that this is tough to sell to a cynical public."

Naturally it is pleasing to see my views echoed by such an obvious authority.

The ABD also pointed out the following points missing from the program:

• Traffic levels into city centres like Manchester are static and falling and have been for years. Congestion has been increased in such places by deliberately obstructive measures like bus lanes, traffic lights and road closures.

• Traffic growth is concentrated on major out of town routes where the charges suggested on the programme were minimal and public transport alternatives non-existent.

• The motorist already pays £45bn in tax and is getting a raw deal on transport

• Singapore, shown as an example of road pricing, is a small island with one city and a splendid, comprehensive mass transit system.

• Diversion effects of tolling as drivers change their behaviour to reduce costs, were not considered

"The bottom line is that road pricing is grossly wasteful to collect, massively inconvenient to pay, worrying from a civil liberties viewpoint and has to be punitive before it can have any impact on traffic levels," continued Humphries. "Its a political non starter - punitive, regressive and unfair taxes on transport will damage the economy and quality of life of British citizens far more than the congestion they purport to remove."

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