In conjunction with the Central London pricing scheme, the Mayor introduced 200 new buses to be added to the current transportation system, adding 10,000 extra seats.
The program, expected to begin on February 17, 2003, will charge 5 pounds for cars to enter the capitol’s inner ring road. More will be charged for heavy goods vehicles. The charging period will run from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Emergency vehicles, motorbikes, mopeds, buses, and coaches will be exempt from charges.
Residents of Central London will receive a 90% discount, while disabled drivers, black cabs, licensed minicabs, firefighters, and other crucial staff will receive a 100% discount. Alternative fuel vehicles and breakdown and recovery vehicles will be eligible for a 100% discount but will be required to pay an annual registration fee of 10 pounds.
The Mayor expects this measure to reduce traffic by 10-15% in Central London and to reduce traffic queues by 25%. The city expects to raise between 130-150 million pounds per year, which, by law, will be spent on improvements to the transportation system in Greater London. This program is just one of the many commitments that Mayor Livingstone has made to improving transport in London.
London, like many employment-center cities, made fundamental errors by not investing in their transportation infrastructure over the last decade. Because of this and a growing population, they have experienced gross overcrowding, mechanical problems, and breakdowns leading many people to turn to automobiles for transport. This only added to London’s congestion problems.
The Mayor’s first Manifesto spoke of his desire to invest in public transportation, making it reliable, accessible, and environmentally-friendly. By encouraging drivers to use public transportation, either because of the congestion pricing Order or because of improvements to the transportation system, the quality of life of those who live and work in Central London will vastly improve.