Survey data collected from an organization of approximately 500 businesses in London indicated that 69 percent of respondents felt that congestion charging had no impact on their business, 22 percent reported positive impacts on their business, and 9 percent reported an overall negative impact.
Fees are collected from approximately 110,000 motorists each day (98,000 individual drivers and 12,000 fleet vehicles) and payments are made via the Internet, by phone, at automated payment booths, and at designated retail shops. The program requires motorists to pay by the end of the day, or be fined £80. The fine is reduced to £40 if paid within two weeks, but increased to £120 if not paid within a month. Enforcement is achieved using a network of fixed and mobile video cameras that record images of vehicles in the congestion charging zone. Optical character recognition (OCR) technology and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) computer systems interpret and decipher the license plate numbers and map them against a pay list. If the system shows a payment is outstanding, the image is checked manually to confirm the vehicle make and model matches the license registration before a penalty is issued. Images of vehicles in good standing are removed from the system.
In February 2003, when the program was initially implemented, the daily charge was set at £5 and the system was projected to generate £138 million per year in charge revenues and £22 million per year in penalty revenues. However, recent reports have shown that charge revenues are much lower than expected, and penalty revenues are much higher. Data from the 2004/05 budget year indicated total revenues of £190 million (£118 million in fees and £72 million in fines), with an overhead cost of £92 million and a net revenue of £97 million. Data from the 2005/06 budget year indicated that when the daily charge was increased from £5 to £8 in July 2005, net revenue increased to £122M per year.
The introduction of congestion charging in London included a five-year monitoring program. The following customer satisfaction benefits were highlighted.
- In May 2003, members of the London First business group were surveyed, a group of approximately 500 business. The results indicated that 69 percent of respondents felt that congestion charging had no impact on their business, 22 percent reported positive impacts on their business, and 9 percent reported an overall negative impact. Many industries supported the charge because its direct costs were offset by savings and benefits, such as faster delivery times.
- Immediately after the program was implemented, many smaller businesses in the city center were more skeptical. In March 2003, a survey found that many goods retailers in the area thought the pricing program reduced sales.
Author: Todd Litman (Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
Published By: Victoria Transport Policy Institute
Source Date: January 2006URL: http://www.vtpi.org/london.pdf
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