Fleet News

Mixed reception for city toll zone

Plans for a London-style congestion charge zone in Manchester have been welcomed by the majority of people living there, but not by businesses.

A survey by polling organisation Gfk NOP found 57% of local people supported the idea of charging cars driving into the city in a bid to reduce congestion.

But only 47% of employers felt the principle of a road pricing – in return for a £3 billion investment – was worth it, and only 41% agreed with a £5 maximum charge.

David Kershaw, operations director at Bury-based fleet management and leasing firm Lloyds TSB autolease, said: “Overall, I think the introduction of a new congestion-charging zone in Manchester city centre is a good idea.

“It will certainly help to reduce congestion and, with fewer vehicles stuck in traffic jams, burning unnecessary fuel, will reduce overall emissions in the north- west.

“If, as the plans indicate, significant investment is made before the scheme is introduced, business drivers will have realistic alternatives to driving in Manchester’s city centre.”

Mr Kershaw advised fleets to start planning now.

“Some companies will do nothing, but others may decide to choose new driver policies, as many businesses still demand that their employees drive a certain amount of business miles before they are allocated a company car,” he said.

“Some businesses will be investigating new methods of transport and others will take even more drastic action such as moving their premises outside of the catchment area.”

The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, which is made up of councillors from the 10 Greater Manchester Authorities, voted last week to adopt a scheme that could see drivers paying up to £5 to take cars in and out of a zone 12 times bigger than the original zone in London.

The scheme will make £3bn available for improvements in public transport from the Transport Innovation Fund, £1.8bn of which will be repaid from tolls.

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