London to Triple Gas Guzzler Tolls

By Ben Bull
Published February 13, 2008

London, England plans to triple the toll charges for gas guzzling vehicles, starting in October this year, the Toronto Star reports.

Drivers of gas-guzzling cars will have to pay nearly $50 a day to enter central London, triple the current charge, while the most fuel efficient vehicles will get a free ride, the mayor said today.

Mayor Ken Livingstone introduced the daily congestion charge on trucks and cars entering central London in 2003 to cut traffic and pollution.

He said the change is primarily aimed at the big cars owned by people in wealthy parts of the capital.

The mayor, who has the power to make the change without legislative approval, said it will go into effect on Oct. 27.

In still better news, it looks like other major cities will soon follow suit:

Last month, New York State's traffic commission voted to recommend that New York City charge drivers an $8 daily fee to bring their cars into Manhattan below 60th Street.

I lived in London for two years, back in the late 1980s and early early '90s. These road tolls are a much needed measure for sure.

My only question is: why do we have to wait until the situation reaches a crises point before we do anything about it?

London's gridlock was a nightmare 20 years ago. Similarly, anyone who has travelled to New York knows how bad the roads are there.

I hope other towns around the world can follow London's lead and maybe take a more proactive approach to managing their traffic problems.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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