Fleet News

Pay as you drive plan to cut traffic congestion

BRITISH businesses could face huge additional costs to their bottom lines under new proposals to tax vehicles by the mileages they cover.

This would see fleets bear the brunt of new road charging proposals due to the high mileage covered by essential user company cars and vans.

The proposals are outlined in a Commission for Integrated Transport (CIT) report, called Paying for Road Use, which argues that a radical new system of direct charging could raise £5.7 billion a year and reduce congestion by 44%.

The CIT insists that much of the cost of paying for the charges would be offset by removing Vehicle Excise Duty and lowering fuel duty, but many fleets or their drivers would still see the cost of motoring rise by hundreds of pounds.

Charges would vary, rising at peak times and dropping during less busy periods, with average costs of 3.5 pence per mile. Typical charges at busy periods would see a vehicle incur charges of £3.40 to travel from London to Rugby, £7.40 from Birmingham to Manchester and £4.50 to drive from London to Oxford.

In one case study, it claims that a salesman covering 30,000 miles a year would incur £1,800 a year in congestion charges. This would be offset by a £600 reduction in fuel tax, while the CIT claims he would save five days a year, worth £2,000 in extra business, through reduced congestion.

Professor David Begg, chairman of the CIT, said: 'We have reached the point where congestion is seriously blighting our lives and we cannot build out of a problem.'

The CIT proposals are designed to follow the Government's 10-year transport plan and would involve massive investment in technology. Cars would need to have telematics systems, which automatically registered a charge every time a road was used. Begg added: 'Our proposals are designed to complement the 10-year plan and could not be introduced until the technology could be rolled out with confidence, along with public transport improvements.

'The truly anti-motorist policy would be to do nothing.' For copies of the report, log on to www.cfit.gov.uk

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