Fleet News

UK road pricing support waning

SUPPORT for the Government’s road pricing proposals has waned, according to a new survey.

The poll showed that less than 50% of respondents favoured a charge to drive on the roads, a fall from three quarters who would have been happy to pay in 2002.

The RAC Foundation, which commissioned the survey, claims motorists accept that paying for the roads by time would be fairer than the current tax on fuel and vehicle ownership, but do not trust the Government to run such a scheme fairly.

The foundation says the Government needs to change the type of debate and move to calm suspicion about how the pricing structure would work.

Fleets have already called for any systems to be simple and universal to help them administer charges incurred by their drivers.

David Holmes, chairman of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘Motorists struggle every day with rising congestion and every time they fill their tank, high fuel prices dent their wallets. Many of them recognise that road pricing could be one of the weapons for tackling congestion, but they are worried about the impact of charges on their own work and family journeys.

‘They do not trust governments to operate charging fairly.’

Holmes said ministers needed to take a stronger lead as scepticism increases. He said: ‘If the motorist is to be won over, the Government needs to demonstrate that pricing will be part of the solution to their needs, along with investment to make the roads better and safer, and not just another means to raise money and price them off the roads.

‘There has to be an open dialogue with motorists, whose support is essential.’

The survey of 500 motorists also showed that 80% of them want an independent watchdog to stand up for their interests. Where road pricing is concerned, privacy is a big worry.

Fears pervade that satellite monitoring to administer road charges could be an infringement of personal liberty.

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