Question for the Brits among us

My DH and I were watching Top Gear last night and Jeremy was driving a 26 mile course through London in a competition with a guy who was running it to see who would get to the finish first due to the congestion in London during rush hour. He got to a certain section of town and had to stop to buy “congestion pricing”. What is that? I’ve heard of Mayor Bloomberg (in NYC) trying to institute this same thing, but we don’t understand why he had to stop upon entering this section of town to immediately purchase this. If someone would explain that would be great.

Also, they had a few shots of a very complicated looking traffic light set up. Holy Moley!! I don’t think I could drive in the UK!

the congestion charge is basicly they make you pay to drive through london, because you dont already pay enough in road tax etc. its another way for them to get even more money out of the brits tbh (and i dont live there anymore thankfully).

the trafic lights, i havent been to london in years, but im guessing that there basicly the same as they were when i last went. they are ok when you get used to them.

i dont know what you guys have in america to compare them tbh though.

i didnt think of top gear going to you guys, dont know why as the hamsters just georgious hehe.

I saw that episode a few months ago! I’d never seen Top Gear before; I saw it on Comcast’s On Demand feature.

That race cracked me up and I had to make the DH watch it because he has a bass boat and would love to be able to drive it to work, and he actually does ride his bike to work every day. I think it was cool that the bike guy got there first!

The congestion fee is supposed to make people use the public transportation more in order to ease on the traffic, but it doesn’t work, from what i understand. Am i watching too much Top Gear, 'cause i’m not even British :teehee:

Although I don’t live in London, I do think the congestion charge is a good idea and wish they’d implement it in other cities. I know we pay a lot of road tax and so on, but when you’re driving in places as snarled up as London, and everyone’s in their own cars, it can take two hours to drive a 20 mile journey. It’s not good for the area, for the cars, for anyone’s wallets, and particularly with the hikes in petrol prices, people are going to have to start getting public transport a lot more anyway.

The one issue I have with it, that’s true of all our cities, is this - if they want us to use public transport more, it has to be reliable. People have to be sure they’re going to get to work on time if they’re going to leave their cars at home, and at the moment, that’s just not true. So I support the congestion charge if it’s used to pay for upgrades in public transport, but if it’s just another money-making scheme for the city, not so much.

I guess my question, though, is WHY did he have to find somewhere right away that sold “congestion pricing” and WHAT is it? A sticker you put on the car or in the window showing you’ve paid it for that day? Or is some sort of coupon or token that you have to deposit somewhere while leaving town? I’m confused about WHAT exactly was purchased.

I think if you are cought in one of the congestion zones without a token then you get fined. So you can by a pass that is useable for a certain length of time (or a day or long term etc etc). From what i remember they can be picked up by scanners as well as having to be visible.
Considering the congestion in London i dont know if it is working but it does meen that if the pass is only detecable visually there are enough times when you are stock still that it could be spotted if you have one or not.

It was a good race. It was dont over the London Marathon route (which crosses in and out of central London, hence the need to stop when he got inot the zone). I think technically you can buy them in advance though especially if you know you are going to be in it regularly.

Since the Congestion Charge scheme started, London has seen:

Traffic entering the original charging zone reduced by 21 per cent
An increase in cycling within the zone of 43 per cent
Reductions in accidents and key traffic pollutants
Public transport successfully accommodating displaced car users
Retail footfall now outperforming the rest of the UK and returning to a pattern of year-on-year growth
No effect on property prices
£123 million being raised, in the financial year 2006/07, to invest back into improving transport in London
In comparison with 2002 conditions, congestion in 2006 was 8 per cent lower, but this is misleading about the scheme’s performance. When compared to conditions without charging, Congestion Charging is continuing to deliver congestion relief that is broadly in line with the 30 per cent reduction achieved in the first year of the scheme
Initial results from the monitoring of the western extension suggest that traffic and congestion have both reduced in line with our expectations

this site tells you exactly what you have to do, where when and how.