Fleet News

Government says businesses will welcome road-user tolls

THE Government believes the introduction of road-user tolls throughout the UK will be welcomed by the business community, which is prepared to shoulder the additional cost for the benefit of reduced congestion and more reliable journey times. The clearest commitment so far from the Government to road tolls was given at the electronic tolling and congestion charging seminar, organised by the Institution of Electrical Engineers at its London headquarters.

Representatives from local authorities and road tolling technology providers heard Michael Goodwin, administrator for the Department of Environment Transport and the Region's road-user charging project, charging and local transport division, say it was not a question of if road tolling were introduced, but when. And such was the importance of the issue that the success of the Integrated Transport Policy white paper, which details plans to allow local authorities to establish their own road-user charging schemes, rested on their successful implementation.

Trials in Leicester and Bristol had shown the improvements to traffic flow as a result of the introduction of road tolls with simultaneous roll-out of new, or enhancement of existing, park and ride schemes. But Goodwin was confident road-user charges would be accepted by at least one motoring sector. He told Fleet NewsNet: 'The representations from the business community have been quite positive about pricing. Business people see it in terms of improving the reliability of journey times and believe that if charging can contribute to that they would be satisfied. Being delayed by congestion and arriving too late can cost a business a lot more money than a road toll.'

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