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Exclusive to Confidential: Sir Howard Bernstein wants your questions on Congestion Charging

Dear readers, your chance to ask a £3bn dollar (er...pound) question

Published on June 17th 2008.


Exclusive to Confidential: Sir Howard Bernstein wants your questions on Congestion Charging

You, our lovely readers, have been chosen to quiz Sir Howard Bernstein about the bid for the Transport Innovation Fund, aka Congestion Charging.

Apparently our comment boards frequently offer the best level of debate amongst the public and opinion makers in Manchester - honest. So we've been invited to gather questions on your concerns about the proposed 'revolution in transport'.

These will be answered by Sir Howard Bernstein. Yes, him. This gent might be well known as Manchester City Council's Chief Executive but he's also a Passenger Transport Authority boss in Greater Manchester.

So whatever your preferred method of transport, this is an opportunity to find out from the horse's mouth, so to speak, what you can expect from the TIF package.

How will an extended Metrolink network, improvements to the bus and train services and the imposition of a congestion charge affect you and your business? You might want to have a look at this link first - .click here

A new dawn for Manchester?

To put your question to Sir Howard enter it into the rant box below by Tuesday 23 June. We'll then put readers questions to him for a response

But please the object of this exercise is proper debate. A screaming, frothing at the mouth blast of bile masquerading as a question will not be considered. A clever bit of sarcasm either pro or anti might slip through, but on the whole keep it clean and keep it measured.

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279 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Irlam Lil'June 17th 2008.

I live in Irlam & shop at my nearest shopping centre the trafford centre, (lots of shops & free parking)Will I be charged for driving 1 mile to my nearest shopping centre?

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

There is a lot of talk of phase one of this CONgestion charge, but nothing being said of phase two, which could follow as soon as twelve months after phase one. As I have read, this will encompass a much larger area and making it impossible to even go to the local shops without being charged. We were also told at one point that vehicles would not be tagged and now we have heard different. This charge is quite obviously a money making cow and nothing else.

Howard BJune 17th 2008.

enough for a new car

John MacJune 17th 2008.

Congestion charging is just about increasing council revenue. No matter how well planned, the levels of conjestion will return to status quo once the honeymoon period expires. Most of the congestion experienced today has been engineered in, very recently, by the closing of side roads, narrowing of existing arterial roads and reducing of the proportion of green/red light ratio.You have only to look at recent rants re. tram service to realise this is not an effective alternative.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Dave Telford - not just the city centre mate. A34 at Parrswood. 3 sets of lights within 500m - all out of phase. Coincidence that they lie on the edge of the proposed outer zone?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

how much did they pay you to get you on side?

Salford lassJune 17th 2008.

How can we be sure that the promised investment in PT will be made BEFORE the congestion charging comes into effect? At the moment, I am driving to work (within the outer ring for the charge) because the PT transport is so abysmal, that I cannot guarantee getting to/from work in time using it! And what about people who live in the outer ring, and also work in the outer ring - do they have to pay?

Sanita (Manchester)June 17th 2008.

my comments and views on the congestion charges are as follow:- 1, this is unfair to the working class people like myself, it is hard enough to maintain life with the income i get and then to be charge extra money to travel into work is just ridiculous.2 - In my opinion I do not think there is that much congestion within the town centre, the traffic light make the traffic flow in a reasonable manner I hope you take all view posted into consideration.Thanks Sanita (Manchester)

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I would like to know why every day I have to squeeze myself into a tram on the way into work and on the way back from work. Over Christmas and New Year there were a number of double length trams running over peak periods and the journey was infinitely more pleasant i.e. I didn't have my nose in someone's armpitt.Why can this service not be rolled out throughout the year at peak travel times in order to prevent Manchester Trams becoming like the London tube where every day is a battle?For safety reasons I feel that in it's current state it is an accident waiting to happen.May I also add that I have no problem with the frequency of the trams. The issue is that everyone wants to get into town at a certain time in the morning and already all the trams servicing that period of time are full and by full I really mean 'how many people can you fit in a tram?'I fully support public transport, but I am dissappointed by what is on offer already in Manchester. How can we encourage others to take public transport when all we can offer is a smelly, squished and overpriced journey as an alternative to taking their car.(Also as an add on - no bike lanes AND you can't take your bike on the bus or tram!)

EwanJune 17th 2008.

Integrated regulation to design and control and integrated public transport network is the way forward. London and many other European cities provide excellent examples. Integrated ticketing via an Oyster type card (incorporating concessionary fares) would also be a huge improvement. Manchester is desperate for a 21st centuary public transport system to allow continued economic development. But part of the systsem has to be reduced car congestion and appropriate funding through congestion charging.

Avid Fan!!!June 17th 2008.

There you go Mr Burnstein, an overwhealming majority in support of your plans - Go for it (there all just poor working class winging porpers anyway)You just keep thinking of the bonuses and the ass licking you will get from other corrupt councils and city leader who want to cash in teh world over!

Cody RyanJune 17th 2008.

Look at the amount of comments against this bl**dy charge - noone wants it so stop forcing it upon us.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I live just of the a6 in stockport, I cant work out if this charge applies to me everytime i leave my house at rush hour, even if i am not going into the city centre. I am worried that the charge will come in and I'll have to pay just to leave home. It is also not clear if and when the charge comes in have 'improoved' will puplic transport be? Do we have to pay first and then get a better service years down the line? These are very scary worries for a resident of greater manchester and to honist makes me wonder if i would be better off moving to smaller town rather than living in the outskirts of a city. I wonder how many other people will be considering moving?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

the council cannot even formulate an integrated recycling service, so how are we to expect them to form an integrated transport system?There has only ever been one system that worked, Newcastles, then what, they privatised it, surprisingly it doesnt work anymore

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

What if you live in the city centre - just the other side of trinity way - will I be charged everytime i pull out of my own driveway?What are the plans for city council workers - I work for the education department and my job is peripatetic so it involves travelling out of my drive onto trinity way and then to several schools all over the city every day. I cannot do this job without a car because there are just 15 minutes between appointments so will you plan for certain exemptions depending on a) your job and b) who you work for?

Sunny DJune 17th 2008.

The GMPTA writes about the 6000 polled (around 0.24% of the population)there are around 2.5 million that will be affected so this 6000 is hardly a representive number.Most of these 6000 thought in general it was a good idea we are told. Proof of this statement sorely is needed.Over the last few years more and more road narrowing, bus & cycle lanes have been incorporated. It certainly gives me thought that these "improvements" are deliberately there to impede themotorist's.A sample of this, while driving along thro' Sale Moor, the bus laybys have had the pavements extended out to the edge of the road making the buses stop on the road causing a huge tail backs. There are many signs of this deliberate policy to impede the traffic across Gtr Manchester.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

What public transport improvements are planned beyond Greater Manchester. I would love to commute by train but a 2 hour journey from Colne (40 miles away) is unacceptable. What plans have Manchester for those of us who live in on the East Lancs border - or do we have to take our expertise to the Yorkshire Cities. Professional worker and tired of Commuting.

Simon AJune 17th 2008.

Just a very simple question, as it has been proven that synchronised traffic lights improve traffic flow and hence ease congestion, when will Manchester make sure that the traffic signals are synchronised.

RGJune 17th 2008.

This whole process needs clear and deliberate planning. I am not happy with councillors with no specific planning credentials being given the opportunity to appropriate £3bn of cash around the region. Sir Howard is obviously a clever and successful man, and I hope that he and others involved such as Sir Richard Leese go out into industry and search the world for some specific industry specialists to tell us what we need, not see it as a way of going on an expensive shopping trip with government, i.e. taxpayers money, playing a very expensive game of road planning. I very much doubt Manchester has any experts on this kind of project therefore bring some experts in early and avoid assuming what Manchester needs. This congestion charge will happen whatever the will of the Gtr Manchester people, our focus should be to make sure it is successful and appropriate for our city. Just remember guys by the time they are talking about installing this charging system, none of us will be able to afford petrol anymore anyway, we will be longing for the days of 116.9p a litre !!!! over to you Sir Howard & co.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Will health workers be exempt from the charge?

daveJune 17th 2008.

hi,both myself and the missus travel from the outer to inner m60 zones to travel to work but then cross back from the inner to outer zones just before we arrive at work. are we going to be charged twice per journey?thanks, dave

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I work for the city council and my job is an essential car user post- how will this work? Will I be reimbursed?

PatriciaJune 17th 2008.

It would be ok if the power as be made public transport alot cheaper for people to travel into Manchester.

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

As a blue badge motorist, I appreciate that we are to be given free passage, but I still strongly feel that the public should be given a referendum, and until this is done, I will object most strongly to the CONgestion charge. There has still not been any response to the proposed phase two.

Carole MBJune 17th 2008.

I travel to and from work each day either by bus or bike. The biggest cause of congestion in Manchester city centre is the number of buses, especially on Portland Street & Oxford Road. Therefore charging motorists isn't going to achieve anything except money into the council coffers

Clued UpJune 17th 2008.

Can that people who are against CONgestion Charging (like myself) have a pot of money to run an TV and ad campaign against these proposals. I have not seen anywhere how much they intend to use of the £3Billion in set up costs. You the motorist will need to buy a tag to allow you to be charged - where does it mention that in their glossy brochures. If they intend to reduce congestion, how will they manage to repay the 30 year loan. If they stop car drivers coming into the city then funds will not be available so congestion, if it exists will always be required. AGMA and GMPTA are spending OUR money to tell us that they unjustifiably want some more of our money. Can we have some of our money back to tell them where to stick their proposals, it is simply just another stealth tax. Maybe the £millions of pounds they have already spent submitting the TIF Bid and the money they now intend spending informing the public about the dubious benefits during the "consultation" period would have been better invested in public transport. If this had been combined with the PRIVATE transport companies reinvesting from their huge profits then we would already be on our way to improving the poor excuse we have for a public transport system, without the imposition of a CONgestion charge. Another point I picked out of their informative leaflet is the resurrection of the MISguided busway from Leigh to the City Centre. How is taking out yet more roadspace going to reduce congestion. Also you will note they persistently talk about 2007 prices. Charges will certainly be increased before this scheme ever sees light of day. How come every other City in the World can manage an efficient, safe, comfortable and reliable transports service. Are the Manchester powers-that-be totally incapable of running a successful and profitable system. If so they should all be given their cards the same as Ex Councillor, Roger Jones. His pigheaded attitude "you will have a CONgestion Charge whether you like it or not" caused him to lose his seat and his Chairmanship on GMPTA. Oh no we won't have a CONgestion Charge. These shakers and movers are comitting political suicide - you only have to think back to the Poll Tax - when the people get angry they will show exactly what they think of the CONgestion Charge. Demand a Referendum now!

paul hJune 17th 2008.

Vote labour out at the eariest opportunity!! they tax you until the cows come home, always have always will.Vote labour out now or we will all be walking round stint.

Zoe SibleyJune 17th 2008.

I am sick of being late for work, cos the trains are crap, and then walking through the disgusting dirty streets, and breaking my heels on shoes cos the cracks in the pavements are not fixed. And you want people to pay to come to the city, standards are well and truly slipping in this city and workers and commuters are bearing the brunt! Its a challenge most mornings just to get to work!! got only knows what it will be like when more people have to rely on the terrible public, third world transport system Manchester City has to offer

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

What is your favorite flavour crisps?Might as well ask this question as charging us in one way or another is inevitable. We live in a fools paradise and as soon as the opportunity arises I for one will be away from this country.

Mr Harry EartheyJune 17th 2008.

Since the public find that they cannot rely on the present pathetic transport system to get to work on time, and have to use their cars, the expected improvements of the transport system are very welcome to bring us into line with other places (e.g. London), But, How many years will we have to pay the congestion charge before we get the money back in the form of the improvement to our public transport ?

hoochboyJune 17th 2008.

Can Mr. Bernstein guarantee that once the congestion charge has been introduced the zones won't expand to include even more of Greater Manchester as has recently happened to london's congestion charging zone!

adam baJune 17th 2008.

I think that the whole of GMPTE should be restructured to be like Transport for London, with full control over fares and services on trains, busses and trams. Then they should introduce an oyster card type prepay system with three pricing zones. Zone one within the inner ring road, with free public transport, zone two out to the m60 at a flat rate depending upon what mode of transport you use and zone three for outlying areas, beyond the ring road.

Burt CodeineJune 17th 2008.

I'm a little surprised at the backlash this scheme is receiving, which raises the question why has the most negative aspects been allowed the publicity to dominate? If at current levels (ignoring the one sided 'polls') this project goes to a referendum then it wouldn't stand a cat in hells chance.The 'yet another tax' on people is the major fly in the ointment and as for the '£3 billion' for public transport I just can't fully accept that, on the strength of our current metrolink and bus services, they're going to get this right. Is it too little for charges price certain people if this gets the go ahead? It would make my day/year/decade if Manchester got the public transport network many, many other European cities already have (Berlin is a good example). As it stands, I'm sorry to say, Norwich and a few other smaller UK cities have much better public transport. Will be interesting to see the positive campaign (and questions answered) over the next 3/4 months. Really interested in the cycle proposals too.

redbullJune 17th 2008.

what proportion of the money would go into public transport as opposed to going into funding the congestion charge system itself (admin and enforcement of it)?Wouldnt it be much more efficient to add the charge onto everyones council tax as everyone will be using the public transport and it will save a massive amount in admin and enforcement costs?

Sarah CJune 17th 2008.

I live just outside the M60 (Worsley) and work just inside (near the trafford centre). There is no public transport currently or planned that can take me from home to work in working hours (there is an occasional trafford centre bus after 9.30am). I have to use the motorway so it is not safe to cycle. When there is no other option and I am not actually going into the city centre why should I be charged?I am also very concerned about house prices in my area. How are people who live just outside the M60 going to be compensated for the fact that no-one will buy their homes because if you move a few meters inside the M60 you wont be charged to work in the centre.

DanJune 17th 2008.

Although congestion charging will directly affect me I nonethless welcome the proposals with open arms. I'd like it even more if far higher standards were imposed on some of the city's bus companies...is it just me or are 'Magic Buses' just knackered old buses that should have been taken off the roads years ago with a just a new coat of blue paint? It really isn't good enough and hardly a persuasive and appealling alternative for car owners.

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

Can we not simply charge council tax to the unemployed dole-scum and that can pay for any improvments in public transport. In that way, the local economy will not be adversely affected.

Steve CJune 17th 2008.

My wife works 50 yards within the M60 - why should she have to pay £2 per day?

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

Will the the smoking [in a non-smoking area of the commenwealth games], Mr Bernstein be looking forward to his legacy beinght edistruction of Manchester's economy?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

info for eunice kelly - you won't be charged to actually use the M60 if you're travelling straight onto the m61, it is only charged for crossing the m60 to get into the city centre love....there's a few pamphlets out there that give more info on this...don't work yourself up into a uneccessary fury lovie

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

Dave Telford, have you thought that the dolite scum will be in the pub with the 24hr opening times and won't be going anywhere during going to work hours but in bed sleeping off another hangover.

Going to have t sell my houseJune 17th 2008.

£15.600 year wages. Gross1,300 a month- 30% TAX & NI= £910.00-£250 (HALF of INTEREST ONLY MORTGAGE)=£660-£55 (HALF of COUNCIL TAX)=605-£12 TV Licence (why do we have this?)=£593-216 month car park (£10day for 5 days not 7)=£377-108.33 (MIN £5 petrol a day for 5 days)=268.67-108.33 (min CONGESTION CHARGE)=160.34 A MONTH= £37.00 a week! A WEEK! TO LIVE ONNot including food, clothes Oh, sorry I forgot my water rates = £60.00 monthGas, elctricI'm NOT on minimum wage..............Can someone please give ME a council house for freeCos I'm bustin' my a** trying to survive=377

emmaJune 17th 2008.

Is Manchester sustainable and/or green...???? the answer to both is no!!! the congestion charge will unhinge the hard work done by many to regenerate the city centre, as businesses and other people will start to use out of town shoppping centres and business parks again. small buisnesses will suffer the most and these are the businesses the council are supposidily supporting. The most important factor here is to deter people from their cars and onto public transport... the congestion charge will fail miserably. Trains to nearby suburbs and rural areas such as the high peak are served by late runninng, cramped and very very expensive fares..how will this deter people from driving..many will choose to stay in their cars... the ultimate goal is for manchster to be a green city. Unfortunaltey a congestion charge won't improve the cities situation because the council and private transport companies aren't investing enough pride in public transport as an alternative... improvements need to be made to public transport first. As a commuter myself, if trains ran on time, if i had a seat in the morning and at night and most importantly i wasn't charged ridiculous prices for "peak" travel i would use public transport. surely reducing the fares at "peak" times would encourage many to leave their cars behind. As far as i can see the congestion charge is yet another costly extra in an already inflated country.....to me such a scheme cannot be implemented in isolation, for the impact to be positive many other steps must be taken. Many cities are now advocating being "green", there are many ways to do this, and a congestion charge is surely a last resort, i don't rememeber any other solutions being put foward first do you???????

ConcernedTownPlannerJune 17th 2008.

Although a congestion charge may be a good idea. GMPTE keep stressing that it will benefit the whole of Greater Manchester. However, the effect it will have on the local economy will be huge:Doctors/dentists - you will no longer be able to attend appointments before or after work as it may cost you to get there. As a result you will need to take a day off work to avoid the charge.Local shopping - Local shops who rely on passing trade will struggle as it will no longer be convienient to use them. This will result in businesses closing down as people are forced to go for the large stores who are usually open later and can be accessed by car. (Tesco et al will be loving this idea).Other services - for example hairdressers. Trade will be minimal in the mornings and afternoon congestion period. It will also have a knock on effect as people will be want to avoid any chance of getting caught in it. Thereby creating a blackout period for businesses on either side of the congestion charge.Markets - We need to support local businesses and markets. These rely on trade from the early morning when they open. however, the congestion charge will stop any business at this time.The arguments could go on. I think GMPTE need to look further into the impacts of the congestion charge. We are not like other European cities which have shops and services on our doorsteps and often have to travel distances to access them (for example NHS dentists). Finally, there has not been public transport for years, what we really are doing is funding an overpriced, private system some of which were promised to the City many years ago (think Commonwealth Games) but instead was given to the Cross-Rail link in London.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I travel to the city centre every morning,part by car and part by bus along the Wilmslow Road corridor between 7.30 and 8.00. The only congestion at that time is created by buses such as the 43 standing at bus stops because the running time is rediculously long and they are not allowed to arrive in the centre too early.Why is it proposed to levy the congestion charge as early as 7am when there is hardly a car on the road and why increase the bus services when they create the congestion in the first place.The metro expansion would not help south manchester commuters either.

LouiseJune 17th 2008.

A lot of the new metro lines look excellent for me. however - the majority seem to be possibles and maybees. When will youknow for sure which ones will happen and which ones will be scrapped? And will the public know before the end of the cosultation as this could make a big difference to some peoples support.

poor manJune 17th 2008.

for those of us who ae so poor and struggling with debt and life its just an other thing stopping e from attending clinics and taking more from what nots really available any way

EmmaJune 17th 2008.

I can understand and appreciate the concept of having a congestion charging zone for the city centre, as the public transport links throughout the city are excellent. However what I can strongly disagree with is the concept of an outer zone. Not everyone works in Manchester city centre, and subsequently there isn't necessarily a public transport provision. I appreciate that the idea behind the charge is to improve public transport, but again most of the new routes will go directly into the city centre, not around it. Anyone needing to cross the outer boundary to anywhere other than the city centre will be paying to improve transport links that they won't benefit from. It's completely unfair.

baggioJune 17th 2008.

i live in sale and work in birchwood (not by choice, the job recently moved there). it is my understanding that, because i use the m60, i will be subject to a charge. there is no real alternative for me to get to work. it's either 25 minutes by car or over 2hrs by foot, tram, train and bus! please explain how this is fair!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Not a regular driver round Manchester will I get charged multiple times if I get lost and go in and out of zones on the one trip?

Dave SimpsonJune 17th 2008.

What happens to the "loan" element from the government as part of the £3bn deal once it is repaid do we still have to pay a percentage ongoing and also do we have to pay interest on it.

sonia cockramJune 17th 2008.

My other half is a GP in Eccles but we live outside of Manchester. Will he still be liable to pay the Congestion Charge for passing through the M60 boundary?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

As someone who is based in salford, lives at the end of the M66 ( in a village with one bus an hour which ends at 6pm!) and has to use her car several times a day visiting vulnerable clients in their home all over Greater Manchester, I cannot see how I can realistically do my job on public transport. My employer is a charity so they will not be able to subsidise my congestion charge. I suppose this means it's time to move to another part of the country!!

ScottJune 17th 2008.

What a load of rubbish, I live in Tyldesley and the fact you are only offering a "High Speed" bus is a joke. I will continue to drive to work but I will not pay your charges, I will find a way round them. This is all so you can get revenue back in to the country due to the smoking ban. Yes, I agree something needs to be done but charging people for using the roads, which is what Road Tax is, and you more than make up the revenue with the amount of fuel duty the government makes. Lets just hope you listen to what the people of Manchester say, but then again, you probably wont.

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

The cost of collecting the tax (in london at least) is in excess of £3 per vehicle. As the outer band charge is less than £3, does the cigar smoking [in a non-smoking area of the commenwealth games], Mr Bernstein not think this is incedibly stupid?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I live in the East Midlands and the major airport available to us for international flights, especially long haul, is Manchester. Not only for personal travel but for friends and relations who need to be taken to and collected from the airport. The final section of my route is: A57, M67, M60, M56 - exit 5 for Manchester Airport. Will this route incur the congestion charge? If so, alternative plans will have to be made because it will be the final expensive nail in the coffin

beebulJune 17th 2008.

Are we going to get a referendum, or do the fat cats not consider us worthy.Come the next elections GET LABOUR OUT!

What congestion?June 17th 2008.

It's great that you're planning on extending the Metrolink etc, but what are you going to do about my safety? If I wanted to avoid extra taxi charges to and from town I would certainly, as a woman, be far too frightened to get the Met home after dark. Firstly, there is really no control over who gets on the Met and nobody to stop any bad behaviour when travelling. Secondly, most of the stops are quite dark once you leave the main platform and feel quite secluded.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

What with the prospect of increased mortgage payment I am having to re-think the idea of having a child. If the congestion charges go ahead then I can kiss goodbye to ever having children. It will cost me an additional £100-£125 a month

D MooreJune 17th 2008.

What incentive will there be for me to leave my car at home? The buses from where I live are currently old, frequently break down, are never on time, I don't live near the train station and there are no buses to it either.

Dan RennocksJune 17th 2008.

How are you going to persuade the populous that the benefits of the £3bn funding ‘carrot’ outweighs the cost of the CC, when the majority of it is to be spent on public transport improvements and most would rather continue to travel in their cars?

christine lawJune 17th 2008.

I can empathise with the theory behind the congestion charging. The main concerns I have are that the money will be spent evenly across the region to ensure everyone can choose public transport over car travel whenever possible.Could we run a metrolink down the side of the A580 and all other major routes in to town?Improve out of town parking and provide efficient park and ride solutions?Offer clean, efficient,safe and cost effective alternatives to car travel?I am also concerned that vast sums are paid to all the consultants who jump on the gravy train and we are left with poor alternatives and a congestion charge.I suggest you have a Greater Manchester Rate Payers committee drawn from volunteers across all areas to oversee and comment on expenditure decisions or open forum debates on proposed expenditure and plans with a true ability to listen and adapt to concerns raised not merely a lip service approach.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I agree! I'm from London and believe me, I haven't actually noticed any congestion here.

Jo SJune 17th 2008.

I would like to know if the public transport infrastucture will be put in place prior to the congestion charging coming into force. If public transport is not improved first then people will simply have no choice but to carry on driving (and therefore pay the congestion charge). On the other hand if the congestion charging comes into effect after the improvements then presumably there will be fewer people travelling by car and therefore a lot less money being generated from the charges.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

The Transport Innovation Fund is the goose that is promised to lay Manchester's golden egg. Other cities have never needed a goose to provide better public transport. In any case the track record of GMPTE suggests that they will not succeed in providing what the whole area needs this time either! You need only travel to (say) Bradford Interchange bus station and compare it with Shudehill bus station to see what other PTEs have already done. In Merseyside, Liverpool South Parkway is a shining example of a successful park and ride scheme, implemented only two years ago by their PTE. Nothing in Greater Manchester can compare with it. Metrolink has been in operation for 17 years, and GMPTE still cannot provide a decent public information system for its users!! Perhaps the goose should be shot before it's too late and another £3bn has been squandered.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

The problem with Manchester's public transport system is that it way too over priced. I had to get rid of my car at Easter and to get to work it costs me double than petrol because i have to use a bus and then a tram. To be fair since using public transport its been fairly efficient. But its the cost which is a problem. Why not have £10 weekly tickets for unlimited travel on an integrated system (at the moment its £25!!). I'm sure that would tempt most drivers. But i doubt that will happen, its all about making big money.Also i've noticed during school holidays traffic is a lot less. A lot of congestion is taken up by the school run. Maybe the council should look at discouraging parents driving their kids to school with mini bus pick ups, more cycle lanes etc.

Cyclist says NOJune 17th 2008.

Having lived in London I know that the congestion charge is not required in manchester, clearly a money making scheme for the Council. Proper policing controls would assist a few minor congestion zones during peak times. The A6 through Levenshulme / Longsight is a prime example. I actually cycle in / out of Manchester, more people would be encouraged to do the same if roads such as the A6 werent such a hazard (someone will get hurt along here), the alternative of taking the cycle route via Gorton is even more intimidating. Sort these aspects out first.

DeniseJune 17th 2008.

I live in Droylsden, will this mean I have to pay every time I want to go into my own city centre via car? the bus takes ages, it would be great if the Moorside end of Droylsden actually had a train station, maybe this would encourage us to leave the cars at home, seems only fair as the Market street end will be serviced by the tram. Surely more money should be spent setting up these alternative modes of transport first? Maybe we will all get a massive 10% pay rise to help us out? lol

John SJune 17th 2008.

Clearly The Darling Treasury does not want to improve public transport. It wants to increase our car dependence. Why, because it raises approximately £45 billion from taxes on road users, this figure has increased substantially with rising fuel costs. Only a small proportion of this is spent on public transport, about £17 billion. To punish those councils that dare to attempt to reduce car dependence they are being punished by central government through local taxes, sorry a congestion charge.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

How much more deception are the politicians going to use to try to get this scheme in place? The TIF announcement was made in Rochdale to try to keep the Rochdale Liberals on board as one of the 7 supporting councils. The Liberal leader of Rochdale Council has since been promoting the TIF scheme with a sign reading "Metrolink-Rochdale Town Centre". The small print of the TIF announcement shows that this is TOTAL DECEPTION. The Department of Transport has rated the Rochdale and Oldham Town Centre Metrolink extensions as of low priority because they would give poor value for money. They have actually been excluded from receiving ANY benefit from the TIF money.

Si MaddenJune 17th 2008.

Can somebody please clarify this.As a city centre resident, will we be charged for leaving and returning to my home in the proposed system of charging?

ClareJune 17th 2008.

Can you guarantee that there will be PT (buses) available for people who commute into the city centre from remote towns with no tram/ train links? I used to get the train from Marple and still rave about that service, quick, cheap, local but since moving out of my parents home to Rossendale I have the expensive tram which is a 25 min drive away in Bury. We can't all afford to stay living where we grew up so when we fly from the nest we have to venture somewhere more affordable, it is just unfortunate that the only rail link in my town is a tourist steam train!!!I know the investments into PT will not stretch so far as to provide new rail links to every town, but express coaches/ buses could be the way to get to remoter towns.It is unreasonable to expect that people will take the current buses when they add up to at least an extra hour each way. Burnley & Pendle have some good express buses that take about the same time as it does to drive in (approx 40 mins), but none of them pass through my town (Ramsbottom) for the times that I work. My job does not allow me to be flexible with my working pattern I have a set 0930-1800, therefore I cannot get the express bus as the last one home leaves the city at 1740, not very commuter friendly, and the current alternative takes 2 buses and up to 2 hours to get back.With this in mind would there be support from the council to encourage employers to allow flexible working patterns?

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

Would it not be easier to re-programme the city centre trafic light to return to optimum trafic flow rather then how they are now which, was changed some years ago to create congestion.

noelJune 17th 2008.

Strange how the dudes who have thousands of badly designed city centre flats [ and continuting to build them!!! ] are over this like a bad rash . They know it should kickstart sales again . Sir Howard , ask the public want they want . not what you and your colleagues think . You know what the score will be , dont you

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

I've seen nothing in the plans for a real Park & ride scheme. If Bernsein and his cronies are serious about cutting congestion and not simply raising cash, the answer would be to Build huge free multi-storey interchanges at every point where a train line crosses the M60 (for which there are many) - introduce fast 24-HOUR services in and out to these hubs and he's done. By combining with shops (you know private investmetn) the cost would be far less and no need to fleece the working man.

Avid Fan!!!June 17th 2008.

There you go Mr Burnstein, an overwhealming majority in support of your plans - Go for it (there all just poor working class winging porpers anyway)You just keep thinking of the bonuses and the ass licking you will get from other corrupt councils and city leader who want to cash in teh world over!

Jonathan Schofield - editorJune 17th 2008.

Just a note. Please label yourself some way. It's going to be hard to distinguish between all these anonymous readers when we get to send Sir Howard the questions.

MattagainJune 17th 2008.

Can we have quiet zones on the tram, pre or post the congestion charage? I am sick of having to listen to other people's mobile conversations.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Just one more reason for people who are struggling to live all ready to stay at home and live of benefits.Another way to punish people for trying to make a living, as if its not bad enough working to pay taxes that pay for the people sat at home doing nothing.

BigfishJune 17th 2008.

Like Kev P, I support the congestion charge. However, as I said to you last week Kev – You are also trying to brainwash people. Everyone knows your stance on it – like myself you’ve posted enough saying you’re for it.I will not be brainwashed. I am for the congestion charge for my own reasons but if other are against it – fine. I joined the Facebook group in support, but my support for your way of going about it is dwindling (i.e. constantly sending PM’s to Facebook users begging them to push your point of view on them). And I know I’m not the only one!

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

What is the situation concerning Motability drivers? Will they be exempt or be given a discount. I have to attend Hope Hospital and always during the charge period, and live in Ashton-under-Lyne. What about people who need their cars to run their business, but are not big earners, will there be means testing? Probably not.

AndrewJune 17th 2008.

I live near Knutsford and would be interested in seeing the details of the upgrades promised in public transport. A reliable train service running to time with space for bikes would be a simple starting point but experience suggests this will not happen because there is no Central Authority which can put this in place. If Sir Howard can get all the right decision makers together on the same platform (no pun intended) and inform the positive side of the debate I would be thrilled.

LolaJune 17th 2008.

I work in an inner-city school. Many of my colleagues live outside the city, some coming in from as far afield as Liverpool, Warrington, Chester and Bolton areas. Most nights we stagger to our cars with piles of books to mark and other work,which would be difficult to carry on public transport. Trying to use our current public transport systems would also massively increase the journey time of many of them. Moreover, I fear that the heavy congestion charging would be an onerous burden - particularly on my younger colleagues, many of whom are struggling financially. All these factors could well encourage many of them to look for jobs outside the city. This bodes ill for city centre schools.

1973June 17th 2008.

I personally see this as yet another charge to limit/exclude the poor from living their lives with ease. I'm a single mum, I live in Warrington and work for Salford City Council at the Civic Centre. I travel by car each day after dropping my daughter off at school. I often use my car to travel to other offices in the day, so I need it for work & I also feel happy that should there be an emergency with my daughter in the day, I have my car handy and can get to her school within 20 minutes.There is no direct transport link from my house to Swinton Civic Centre - the journey would involve travelling into Manchester by train (which incedently is so packed you're lucky if you can get on) and then a bus journey out of Manchester. This would take significantly longer than the 20 minutes it takes me currently.I think this charge is a disgrace and yet another opportunity to take money from people who can least afford it. We're all already struggling with higher mortgage rates, increased fuel prices - so now we are going to be charged to go to work? It's a joke!!!

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

As city centre employers will see their wage bill increase £2,400 p.a. per employee, what plans does the cigar smoking [in a non-smoking area of the commenwealth games] Mr Bernstein have in place to cope with the huge increase in unemployment that will logically result from his leaching scheme?

StaceyJune 17th 2008.

REFERENDUM!

jdwoodJune 17th 2008.

As a south manchester resident who currently travels by PT to work each day for £10 per week, why should I want to buy a car??For some popsters - travelling out of the area DOES NOT result in charging - only into it between 7 and 9.30am and out between 4.30 and 7.I agree and empasise with many of the posters here from other areas of Gtr Mcr that their current PT service does not allow or convince them to leave the car at home. I cannot agree with the CC though that people working in the Trafford Centre & Trafford Park to receive discounts - why?? why not pick nurses,teachers, police officers, firemen - I'm sure council officers will find a way to exempt themselves??For people who commute 20+ miles from Warrington, Burnley etc to the city centre - there has to be frequent,safe & secure park and ride systems provided (running from say 7am to 8pm)which will allow them to travel from just outside the M60 to the city centre - or does the CC want them to drive in and pay off the loan?Also the cost and provision of PT has to be examined....some areas within the M60 get just 1 bus every hour into the city centre, and the trams are too expensive and there are too many safety concerns.Also, the sth mcr extension of the tram network towards stockport seems to be re-using several of the existing cycle lanes built over old Beecham-closed lines. Are they to remain alongside the new tram lines?I must agree with other posters though - how can so many European cities provide a clean, frequent, safe, cheap public transport network - yet we in the UK cannot do the same, without it always coming down to the same issue: "we havent got the money"?Also, please remember that many people commute across the region - not simply into the city centre - what public transport improvments are they likely to see?

GeorgeJune 17th 2008.

No to congestion charging. Stockport Council have already voted against it. We will get 1/60 of the investment needed from the Govt. The rest comes from the 'Congestion Stealth Tax'.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Will the thousands of people who commute from outside the Greater Manchester boundary also be formally consulted?

Mr TJune 17th 2008.

If this works, and actually does cut traffic, clearly the return won't be as high as if everyone just 'got on with it', paid and drove as normal. In such a case,m are there any plans to expand the scheme to cover cyclists and pedestrians?

JennieJune 17th 2008.

1. Your proposed new scheme does nothing to benefit the area in which I live, so does this mean I don't have to pay the charge? 2. Can you guarantee that the improvements to public transport will be made BEFORE the charge is introduced? 3. How much of the fund is going towards making public transport safe to use, especially at night? 4. My rail line to manchester requires more trains, more often and later at night, how can I find out whether this is going to be delivered? 5. Are you allowing a vote on the charge? 6. Do your plans include sufficient FREE parking plans at the park and ride places? 7. Why are we not entitled to a decent public transport system courtesy of our existing taxes rather than having to charge the people of manchester for it? 8. We don't actually have that much congestion compared to say Birmingham, how come they don't have to pay this charge? 9. How will you be ensuring that people actually pay for public transport when they use it (i.e. trams and trains are notorious for free journeys), and how will you ensure that all the crafty people who work out how to avoid the congestion charge actually have to pay up?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I live just within the M60 boundary near to junction 23, how is this going to affect me traveling in to city centre. I work for a charity and my base of work is just at the end of the Mancunian Way, near the Hulme Arch, will I be one of the 1% who will have to pay up to £6 per day? Myself and my colleagues have been discussing the implications and we have ALL come to the conclusion that we will have NO ALTERNATIVE but to look for other jobs. We need our cars for work as the main part of our job is visiting disabled people at home (they have NO WAY of coming to us), therefore the wider implications of such a charge are very wide reaching, a congestion charge will effect the job that I do and other people such as distict nurses etc and will have an extremely detrimental effect on service users lives, they will be disadvantaged by the congestion charge and they do not even hold a driving licence. The area that I cover spreads from Gorton over to Wythenshawe . . . I don't think that I can really bus/bike that!As for the so called 'Public Consultation' period . . .PAH! we might as well just bend over backwards and take it up the . . . I think you know what I mean!

Richard greenJune 17th 2008.

This is a tax on the poor, plain and simple. There are no differentials whether you earn 100k or 10k a year. There are contractors involved in this scheme who are set to make a lot of money if it goes ahead. They are the ones lining the ministers pockets who are driving it forward. I travel on the A34 every day from Cheadle to Levenshulme. I travel in rush hour and it takes me 20 minutes to travel 5 miles. THERE ARE NO CONGESTION ON MANCHESTER ROADS, THEY ARE CREATING AN ILLUSION SO THEY CAN TAX US TO DEATH. WE ALREADY PAY OUR ROAD TAXES. THIS WILL COST ON AVERAGE AN EXTRA £1000 PER ANNUM.STAND TOGETHER FELLOW MANCUNIANS! STOP THESE CRIMINALS BEFORE THEY GET THEIR BALL ROLLING!!

Martin RaynerJune 17th 2008.

I would use the trams more if there was a link from Worsley. We need to be assured that 100% of revenue from congestion charging goes into building up the transport infrastructure.

andyJune 17th 2008.

Totally agree with the above. For my question, can we improve the roads for scooters? I have one, but riding it to work with the current traffic, bus and road chaos would be certain death.

RuthJune 17th 2008.

I simply cannot afford to pay congestion charges. The public transport needs to be MUCH, MUCH BETTER then I would be happy to use it.

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

Ou chinese supplier has told me we simply need an LCD cover for our number plate which will avoid our cars being identified and subsequently chrged for this C-Charge. He's sending me a sample and can supply in bulk at a ridiculously cheap price. Can the cigar smoking [in a non-smoking area of the commenwealth games], Mr Bernstein let us know what will happen if people simply avoid paying his silly charge.

jhoviangohdJune 17th 2008.

Many people commute via car because there is no other realistic alternative for them. Do people think that commuters actually enjoy being stuck in a traffic queue and paying so much of their wages on petrol? Not everyone is near enough to cycle in, close enough to buses/trams/trains or has 'flexi-time' so it doesn't matter if any public transport is late or cancelled or whatever. Why can't an improved public transport system be put into place and run before a congestion charge is even considered. Surely, if that reduces congestion, then there wouldn't be a need for a charge?

Regen08June 17th 2008.

I think the principal of vastly improved connurbation-wide public transport, part funded by a congesion charge is sound. Improvements in public transport on the scale proposed will reduce the effective distances between people and businesses allowing everyone to carry out their business more efficiently. Highly developed infrastructure is key to bringing about economic growth. The biggest, most affluent and most successful cities around the world are those with the best infrastructure, so I wholeheartedly applaud AGMA's bold plan to bring about a step change in the city's transport infrastructure and ergo its economic competitiveness. Its just a shame that central government pour a disproportionate amount of their resources into the capital's transport infrastructure over and above anywhere else.My question, therefore to Sir Howard would be, what are the alternatives to the congestion charge for funding these improvements, have AGMA investigated every possible alternative (including those that might need a change in the law) and how do each of the different possibilities compare with the chosen route of congestion charging?

claireJune 17th 2008.

If public transport is improved to such a degree that it is a much more logical choice, surely the only people paying the charge will be those who have no option rather than those whi are benefitting from the investment???

Levvie LadJune 17th 2008.

Does Sir Howard think that reducing the A6 from 2 lanes in each direction through Levenshulme to single file traffic might have created congestion. If so can some of the £3bn be used to give us our road back?

heaton cJune 17th 2008.

I live in Heaton Chapel which will receive no benefit from the confirmed or proposed improvements to public transport - in no man's land if you like. I currently use the bus to go into the city centre which is slow and the prices went up recently by 25%. To travel by public transport from here across to Didsbury and Chorlton is even worse, the extension between Stockport Town Centre isn't confirmed and even then I'll still have to travel to Stockport first. I use my car as little as possible already but am concerned that congestion charging will affect me every time I need to drive anywhere from my house. I have two small children and an elderly mother in a remote part of wales so I need to use my car sometimes. Can you offer me any good news?

DarrenJune 17th 2008.

What proposals do you have to make cycling appealing and will common sense be employed when rolling out new cycle lanes, for example ones that do not stop and start repeatedly, ones which do not have to stop for traffic lights and ones that are swept and not just rubbish traps.

Mrs MJune 17th 2008.

Manchester public transport network is put to shame when you visit other cities even London with it's hot underground system. Will there be an integrated transport system which allows the introduction of an Oyster card system? Will there be discounts for people who car share? How will the council ensure that the charges are paid as London seems to have problems collecting the majority of charges? If they can't collect the fairs how are the council proposing to repay the loan? Don't you think this is black mail that Manchester can only receive the transport system that it deserves if it introduces a congestion charge?

Man ManchesterJune 17th 2008.

Why do some people think they are exempt because the work for the NHS. We all contribute to this city. If super special NHS person needs travel by car all over the city, then aren't the people who make that car and work at the petrol stations also essential as the NHS super person wouldn't e able to do their job without them. What if I make the food that keeps a super special NHS worker alive, can I get a free congestion pass. Stop thinking you are better just because you work for the most criticised, innefficient and low quality pulic service in the country.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

no, no, no..... forget the city drining tax, get public transport so good that we don't want to drive!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

How will this charge affect those of us that live in the city centre? Will we be charged everytime we visit family and friends (many of whom live way beyond the M60)?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

How will Salford commuters benefit?A few more painfully slow trams or buses that go all around the world? I need to get from Boothstown to Salford Quays which is 2 buses and a tram (pitiful)I want one bus please - can you fix it for me?

ResidentJune 17th 2008.

Do we really need congestion charging? The traffic is not that bad. It has got a bit worse recently as the radio adverts tell us - but has anyone noticed that half the roads in Manchester are being dug up at the moment! That is what is causing the problem. It is just yet another tax! The council want more people to live in the City Centre - this is not going to help the property situation at all!

Need to be flexibleJune 17th 2008.

Depending on your circumstances this is either a. A great idea, will make travel much easier or b. Completely impossible, will put you out of business. We live in Salford, I work in town and get the bus - which is such a good service that I've just sold my car. My husband is a self-employed, works from home but needs to do site visits which could be several a day all over the Greater Manchester area. These are generally to people's homes and on spec ie. to give them a quote. It means the consumer is going to have to either pay for him to visit - or he'll just lose the business. There will be a terrible impact on self-employed, micro-businesses - all of which I thought were meant to be encouraged? Not everyone gets shipped to their place of work 9-5, Monday to Friday. All the examples given in the brochure (propaganda) we received last year were laughably unrealistic. I'm all for forcing people's hand as far as saving the planet is concerned but please consider the real impact of this policty on livelihoods and families. It needs to be more flexible or it will fail.

OvertaxedJune 17th 2008.

I commute daily from Altrincham into the centre of Manchester down the A56,one of the busiest commuter routes into the city. I travel at peak times between 8.15 and 9.00am. This journey on average takes between 40 -50 minutes and a lot less when the kids are on holiday. Where is this traffic congestion you refer to??

Richard in ChorltonJune 17th 2008.

Do we need all the extensions that are being proposed? Chorlton has excellent bus links that provide a fast, relatively cheap method of getting into town. The airport has an excellent train service already (albeit contingencies if the the trains are down are inadequate). My question for Mr B would be what is the purpose of the congestion charge? It seems to be a method of funding the Metrolink extension - i.e. a tax. Should they not just look at methods of getting people onto public transport via regulated fares / season?

YoungandPoorJune 17th 2008.

Why are the ever increasing council tax, fuel tax, road tax and income tax we already pay out of our wages not enough to cover such schemes? Why must we pay for every bright idea the council have? I feel robbed by the council and now I will not have the right to drive my car into my own place of work (city centre) without being taxed yet again. The public transport system will never be able to offer the same independence and security as my car. I feel completely let down by my own city.

polkybJune 17th 2008.

Can we have your guarantee that the charge zones will ot expand OR increase in price beyond that of inflation?

otieJune 17th 2008.

I would appreciate sources of info about transport policy and practice other than GMPTE publicity-which is inevitably biased. Things I'd like to know before I can think about this usefully: I know some routes out of town are busy-M62/M56 especially but our rush hour does'nt come close to the congestion in London. I'm not convinced congestion charge is the only good idea around.Can anyone explain why there is not a case for some kind of g.ment subsidy of transport systems - on present reckoning the private sector is not making a good job of running an effective system - generally it's slow,dirty,uncomfortable,unreliable, expensive and really poorly serviced so many people feel too vulnerable to happily use it. Bus systems have been made worse since privatisation ie loads of buses on some routes and non on others, no proper services at night(how great was it during the commonwealth games when trams ran to 2 and 3am).There's a total lack of integration between bus, tram,train etc. It's hard to work out what goes where and when - cf Barcelona's brilliant system. The tram seems to be rapidly deteriorating despite being privately run. Is this because profit goes back to investors and not into maintenance and development of the system. Who knows. anyone.Where is the evidence of the effects of existing congestion. I'm not convinced. Great transport has to be of massive benefit to the local economy as well as to quality of life so don't we have more options-more ideas in the mix to bring this about-what about more flexible working hours/home working, decentralised institutions- do we really need everything concentrated in one place in these days of cyber contact,a really workable cycle system, better park and ride systems,less developments like the Traff-on it's own responsible for clogging one of the busiest bits of M.way in the area.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

My wife and I both work at the same business in Trafford Park and travel together from Dukinfield, each day. Recent arguments that we have heard in favour of the congestion charge say that those paying it would find some form of saving as the rodas would be quieter. Alternatively the charge would encourage people to use Public transport as a cheaper option.Firstly, congestion charge would cost £5.00 a day, essentially doubling our commuting expenses if we continue with the car, as we have to travel 110 miles each week to commute to work.Secondly, Public Transport would entail 2 fares on 3 buses/trams or trains; each way, every day taking at least 1.5 to 2 hours in the morning and again in the evening on bus routes with such tight schedules that there is a 1 to 2 minute "window" at each route change to get the correct bus to arrive on time (last bus to door at work arrives at 9.00am - no further service until 5.00pm (and that finishes at 6.00). If you miss the connection, you walk or catch a Taxi).We are not the only people working in this area and living on the other side of Manchester - where is there any benefit whatsoever for those like us??

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I agree with more bus shelters, in my area a homeless woman has to walk for ages to find one to sleep in?Now I dont want loads of stick for this point , but actually i agree with taxation, however i dont agree with being taxed in this way so that private companies, are able to get massive over payments for themselves and their shareholders to improve our transport system which has been obliterated since deregulation. Why wont our current system of taxes pay for a good public transport system ? Is it because its all been sold off and companies only want higher paying routes, why must we keep on this privatisation merry go round where there are always losers - and they are always the poorest.

LancastrianJune 17th 2008.

What provision for consultation and what service will be provided for those people (like myself) who live outside the Greater Manchester Councils (Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire) amd have to drive to within the M60 to find free parking before then facing overcrowded public transport systems? Are there any plans to consult long distance commuters?

Carl RobsonJune 17th 2008.

Just wondered, who will pay me the missing months wage a year I will lose paying to come into the very edge of Didsbury/Heaton Mersey from Warrington.I don't live in Manchester, and I don't even work within the boundaries of Manchester, but I'm going to have to pay even though I work in Cheshire, and live in Cheshire.Still, I guess I could always move my skills to Liverpool, where they don't yet plan to introduce highway robbery.I can just see the centre of Manchester looking like the the centre of Detroit looks now, a no-go area abandoned by people unable to afford to live there, with companies unable to afford to base themselves there because hauliers won't deliver to them.A tram is no good to me, I used to use the train to work, but 2-3 hours each way is more than double what it takes me now by car, even allowing for the traditional daily M56 car park.Cheers Manchester.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I travel into the area to work but am outside any proposed public transport developments. At the income that I am on, if this comes in I will have to find alternative employment outside the charging area. I cannot arrange flexible working in my job which would avoid the charging times.

Nick, Northern QuarterJune 17th 2008.

A lot of this cash will be used to buy new buses and trains, which the private operators can then use to cream off more profits for their shareholders. What will they have to contribute and will their fares be capped? How will you control the quality of bus services, particularly in areas where First have a monopoly and therefore no incentive to provide a reliable service? We need proper planning, the opportunity to boot under-performing bus companies off vital routes and most importantly of all, intergrated ticketing (with sensible pricing) across all modes of transport with a simple zoning system.

jill ebreyJune 17th 2008.

I'm in favour of the congestion charge but only if all the money is redirected towards public transport. I live in Chorlton and the 86 bus is a nightmare in terms of the time it takes to get to town (everyone paying) and the quality of the ride (smoothness, comfort)...we should have new buses and PLEASE an oyster card equivalent...this would improve Manchester's productivity by some per cent. Bike lanes should be improved by penalising heavily ANYONE who parks on them. At the moment they are a joke. I would like to ride my bike but don't feel safe.Good luck with yr campaignBest Wishes,Jill

WrenieJune 17th 2008.

What will the local authority do if people start working hours that fall out of the current proposed chargrd time.? I.E 50,000.00 people agree with their employer to start work at 10.30am and finish say at 7pm. Would the council then look to extend the charge time. Also how afordable would the alternatives really be. Trains are already very expensive and never on time. Buses are not good enough and trams are shocking. Give the people of Manchester a vote on this DO NOT JUST BURDON US WITH ANOTHER TAX.!!!!

DanielJune 17th 2008.

This is just another way for the Goverment to take money from the people who work. If they want to save money why not stop giving it to these people who don't work and just sit at home all day. As if it wasn't expensive enough with the price of petrol going up, now we are going to have to fork out more money.

B an Oldhamer!June 17th 2008.

I live in oldham & work in Manchester city centre & have been commuting for over 12 years.I travel everyday by bus which are not reliable at peak time despite the statement of First bus that they're every 10 minutes or better! (Bus route no 82 /83).Bus lane, well i'msure everyone will agree they don't really make a difference as they only last 2 minutes once your on it. why not have a continuous lane all the way to manchester during peaktime? What i would like to know is,has any of these people who suggest these changes travelled on a bus? i would think not! so how about trying out these journeys for a couple of weeks to get the real picture? Also trams in oldham! what a laugh, unless you commute through the centre there is no point as the trams will be running on the current oldham to manchester line and these are no good to people like me who live off the A62 & would have to walk 30 mins or get a bus to get to a station! so why not just put extra carriages on. Duh!Further point- why don't you connect oldham to Stockport or the airport - there is no direct connection other than M60 or numberous buses changes! think & think like a average working person who already pay through their nose! don't waste money, spend it wisely is all is say which will be appreciates much more.

DarrenJune 17th 2008.

Why not put a well thought out transport system in place first using the money we already pay in varying road, fuel and council taxes, ONLY then should you penalise people for not using it with a congestion charge. And some people would rather use public transport but need a car to work not just getting to and from it.I personally would use public transport when I can if it could be relied upon to provide a decent service. There are places in europe we could learn a lot from in terms of public transport. Some cities in Germany have FREE PT and everyone uses it.Maybe our road, fuel, council taxes etc should pay for this!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Why are the pta pushing for trams where there is a perfectly good train service, surely the idea of trams should be to go where there is no current service. Oldham and rochdale and ashton are all well serviced by trains. This appears to be a further grab by the council for a bigger slice of rail revenue, as when they took over the bury and altrincham lines.

PodJune 17th 2008.

I think the congestion charge is just another way to tax people. The transport system won't benefit and it won't reduce traffic. Why don't they let the people who will be paying decide and have a vote or perhaps they know what the answer will be.

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

How are they going to implement the free blue badge system, considering that the badge can at present be transfered to any vehicle?

SollersJune 17th 2008.

It is not the principle that I wish to query so much as the proposed implementation. The outer ring that has been proposed is far further out from Central Manchester than the boundaries for the London Congestion Charge; not only does it include a huge area of Greater Manchester, but it cuts through Metropolitan Boroughs. I have a friend who is a care worker employed in Tameside. As far as I can make out, when she goes out to make a breakfast call to a client living a mile away, she will be liable to pay the charge - in the interests of reducing congestion seven miles away. A man living and working in Tameside might come home in the evening and decide to take his children to the cinema at Ashton Moss - and pay the charge to reduce congestion in a part of Manchester that he has not been near all day. My main questions are as follows:Why was the boundary drawn so far out?Will residents of boroughs such as Tameside be liable to the charge if they cross the boundary while still remaining in their own borough?If not, how can this be managed? If there is to be some kind of "season ticket" it is still a monstrous imposition to make people pay to travel within their own borough, many miles from where any actual congestion (which I would differentiate from simple heavy traffic) happens.It could be argued that the charge will only be made on certain routes going in and out of Central Manchester. In the nature of things, the other routes will become rat races, and presumably will eventually also become chargeable. How will the increased cost of "policing" all the roads that cross the motorway ring be handled?

AlfJune 17th 2008.

Why can people in government or on councils never think of anything that will not cost us any more money ?

HazelJune 17th 2008.

Will local authority vehicles be exempt from the charge? i.e. Will Sir Howard's chauffered car be charged? Will local authority workers cars be charged when travelling on local authority business - social workers, computer technicians etc.

robert cohenJune 17th 2008.

congestion charging - it's another tax. what about single occupancy vehicles that can't share, or the people who work in town and the public transport won't help - and lets face it, there is no way short of miracles, that any improvemnts in transport will help sufficiently. No to more road taxation.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Why do we not speak to the major employers in Manchester and ask them to consider a change to working hours. If half of the city started work at say 7.30/8.00 am and finished at 3.30/4.00 pm and the other half started at 9.30/10.00 am and finished at 6.30/7.00 pm we would not have the congestion in the first place. This would also give parents more time in the morning or evening to spend with their children before or after school.

StaceyJune 17th 2008.

How did Manchester and its congestion cope when there was little inner city living before all the apartment blocks went up? Wasnt this scheme suppose to cut all the commuter travelling? im sure it has so why start charging now?

kathyJune 17th 2008.

The cost of petrol is already pricing working class people off the road. If people as I suspect 'can't pay, don't pay' and they use the satellite towns for shopping and public transport for travelling to work - will the debt to the government then be raised by increases in bus and tram prices?second question - why can you not extend the train services from places like Dean Lane and Moston station, these trains are cheaper than buses, hence they are used well and are often overcrowded. People often go through town because the accross routes are cheaper by car eg North Manchester to Ashton or Stockport. South Manchester to Wigan and Bolton!! Trains go to limited places and could be extended without the massive investment of a tram network. Dean Lane used to go through to Wigan and Bolton in the good ol days ...thridly - who will own the 'improved public services' will it be a cash cow public coffers or shareholders?taKathy

The Hidden TruthJune 17th 2008.

No socialist council should support to imposition of a regressive tax. Get the money off the goverment as an investment not a loan. Regressive taxation is stealing from the poor.

sonyaJune 17th 2008.

I think the congestion charge is ridiculous. Again you are taking hard earned wages off the people who make this country function; the workers! It's bad enough that we have to pay more to get public transport to reach our working place and now with how much it's costing us to run a car- do you think this is fair? If this country stopped pumping all it's money to those who don't work maybe this wouldn't be an issue.Stop treating the people who work so unfairly! We've earned our right to drive without the congestion charge!

Darren SellersJune 17th 2008.

I'm encouraged to use public transport and the trains are to full to let me ride with my bicycle on the train at busy periods. I've been catagorically told by the conductor I'm not allowed to get on to trains with my bike during rush hour. Surely if your encouraging people to get out of the car, cycle and take public transport you must make more room in your carriages for bikes. 1. Will this no bikes during busy periods rule be changing if you get this extra money? 2. Are you doing anything to increase capacity in the curent overcrowded lines and by what percentage between 7-9 specifically? 3. Are you implementing electronic signs at all stations? If not why not? There is much criticism for these being missing. 4. Are you adding any bicycle security stands. Every time I go to one of these around Manchester, they are always full and you can never use them. Are you adding any more bicycle lockers at regional stations?5. I remember when I previously got the train from Bury to Manchester before they put trams on it. It's not better than before, the trams hold less people even though they are newer. On these routes you replaced trains for trams, what increase in passengers did you see on these lines? 6. Are the people constructing the current Metrolink extension sponsoring any council events this year like all the current building companies are?

Drew PeacockJune 17th 2008.

....And don't get me started on Northern Rail!!...23 trains cancelled EVERY DAY!. 8000 trains in a year!!Let's hope they get their act together.And what's this park and ride in Romiley!? Park where?...If it's on the station car park which is at present FREE...Does this mean it will be payable when this scheme comes in?.. Cos all people will do then is drive to Bredbury, adding to the traffic already fighting to get to Stockport and beyond.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

1) There is hardly any congestion worth talking about and so why the charge?2) How does this benefit the region? The technology and manpower required to run the congestion charging will have a hefty cost of upkeep but will not generate any revenue other than from the pockets of local people. We need to bring revenue in, not drive it away and discourage businesses and tourism!3) The costs of enforcement will be an added financial burden. Technology can always be circumvented and officers charged with enfocement could potentially be induced to turn a blind eye. Why add all these extra costs to the local economy with no vision for bringing in any real financial benefit?

Stacey SykesJune 17th 2008.

People driving in and out of the city unneccesarily should be charged, businesses that have no choice but to drive into the city centre should not have to pay as this will increase their costs unfairly. If i was a small business and this scheme came in i would relocate to the Trafford Centre. Also, would residents that live within the city centre that have a car, have to pay whenever they want to leave or arive to their inner city apartments?If this scheme does go ahead, the money that is being gathered must only go straight into improving the public transport system, there should be better transport routes available that go right out to the more rural areas surrounding the city more frequently, so people that have no choice but to drive in because of the current inadequate transport system, have a more frequent transport system. The transport system at the moment is not adequate for the spread of the city. Park and rides are effective and would also generate money and less traffic, although they must only be built on brownfield land, Howard Bernstein has a thing for having historic buildings demolished and destroying anything that has anything remotely attached to our heritage when they get in the way of Manchester's economic prosperity - sorry had to get that one in!

JinkiesJune 17th 2008.

Wonder how the council plans to fill the gulf. Like Simon says (hehe) everyone wants the improvements, but nobody is willing to pay for them. This country's getting too american, everyone wants everything for free

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Will permits be available for business vehicles?Will larger personal vehicles be charged more?Will fees be means tested like income tax or a flat fee for all?Will viable alternatives such as additional buses be available immediately?Will more bus shelters be provided?Will the buses and trams be properly policed?Can they guarantee that there will be no more sexual assaults on the buses?I don't think so.

Paul CuttsJune 17th 2008.

Having tried to commute from Styal to central Manchester without a car every day for five months last year (two trains a day, the last returning before I finished my busy job!), I can understand people's anger at the congestion charging. As Manchester is a major catchment for employment, it is vital that regional as well as local transport links are radically enhanced. I have no problem with being charged to drive in the city if there is a reliable, affordable and frequent alternative...it's worked here in London and there's every reason to believe that central Manchester would benefit too (and those living in the city centre would also notice a marked improvement in life quality). Rather than build more housing destined to collapse in value, though, why not provide lots of free car parking space on the outskirts and lay on courtesy buses and trams? That would enable people in bus- and train-free zones to reach work and leisure opportunities without being unduly punished.

kevin pearsonJune 17th 2008.

I think the congestion charge is another way of ripping the motorist off.I am sure most people will avoid going to the city centre unless there is some kind of free parking scheme set up so we are not being charged twice!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

My question is about the consultation process. On the one hand alot of money seems to be going into advertising what a great thing congestion charging is and promoting the decision that has been made, yet at the same time there is a so-called "consultation process." I can't work out what we are being consulted about if the decision has already been made, there are no options and no specific questions....

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I think it is desgusting that we are being charge to drive into oud out of manchester, especially with the way petrol prices are at the moment how much do the government want from us!!!!!

hazel currently in seattleJune 17th 2008.

Even with a properly integrated and effective public transport system which we are light years away from in manchester there will be people who by the nature of their work need a car to carry heavy equipment and often have multiple destinations in one day. these people will be stung heavily by congestion charges. A proper car pooling system or a system of neighbourhood /workplace car sharing - eg people taking it in turns to pick up others in their area and fill their cars would reduce congestion dramatically as well as a proper investment in a regulated local authority owned transport system and putting more freight on trains and canals - about time these were revived as a form of transport for heavy goods.

HellersdadJune 17th 2008.

I have carefully read the leaflet GMPTE have put out, and whilst the proposals look wonderful, careful reading shows it to be full of if's,but's and the future. There isn't a cat in hell's chance that all the wonderful improvements will be in place by 2013. Even the much vaunted Metrolink track renewals are a dog's dinner and haven't even been completed Sir Howard! Just outside Victoria Station (a real asset gateway to Manchester) the old tracks are still in use with the new lying alongside. Many stretches weren't renewed and the trams rock and roll along these. The new ticket machines promised, did somebody forget about these? And let's not talk about the disgusting state of most of the stations. Manchester and it's environs has a disjointed expensive public transport system with many old clapped out buses and how can any right minded person have any confidence that GMPTE will deliver apart from putting out their glossy leaflets which promise the earth and will deliver nothing apart from another level of taxation.

chris wJune 17th 2008.

some valid points raised above which echo what i have thought about the congestion charge-1)manchester public transport right now is terrible. maybe if you sorted that out before the congestion charge introduction then people might be more positive2)the london model works well, with the oyster card and zoning but relies heavily on the tube which we do not have and the metro is so far a poor poor (and expensive, infrequent) relative in comparison3)some kind of arrangement must be made for people living and working in the city. again though, if the idea is discourage the use of the car, some of these arrangements may mean improving the public transport system or introducing work schemes4)if congestion charge is the way forward and we are esentially going to be taxed for going to the city centre...are businesses and retailers going to suffer given the proximity of trafford centre and liverpool; are the already extortionate privately owned car parks going to be made public and either made cheaper or putting the money back into the public transport pot??5)why is it that we have been talking about metro extension for what 5 or ten years???? and the money that was promised to the scheme by the government now looks set to come from our pockets via the congestion charge?? (i bet the congestion chrage does not take as long to initiate)6)If congestion charging comes in, can we make an effort to put a bit more open space, green space and pedestrian space in the city centre and stop throwing up hideous apartments, office blocks, car parks (delete as appropriate)So....congestion charge not all bad, could be used to change the city for the better but see the bigger picture and sort out transport system and city centre generally first

Bob LomasJune 17th 2008.

Can Sir Howard advise as to how much income will be lost through the decrease in business rates, the lower income from car parking fees and the damage to retailers within the congestion zone, drawing to his attention the fact that the City of Westminster have hads to resort to variable charging rates for car parking from as little as 10p per hour as a result of the lack of demand for parking places which has reduced by 57% overall?

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

As the C -tax/charge is to encourage commuters onto public transport, I'm assuming commercial vehicles (light vans, lorries etc) are not being charged as a builder is unable to get his bricks and tools on a tram. How is the cigar smoking [in a non-smoking area of the commenwealth games] Mr Bernstein going to manage the dispensations to these categories?

Jonny FJune 17th 2008.

As a Whitefield resident, would I be charged if I crossed the M60 to visit the local Tesco/shopping center in Prestwich during peak times?

The ColonelJune 17th 2008.

Congestion charging is an imposition on personal freedom. There would be no need for congestion charging or many of the other direct and indirect taxes on personal transport if there was adequate investment and decent design of our road systems. Years of under investment have left this country with a road system not fit for purpose. Congestion is a direct result of this under investment. The government and local authorities will not be satisfied until we reach the point where people have to pay for individual permits for journeys. My occasional forays into the realms of public transport are always a disappointment (even though it is now free for me with my Old Duffers Card). Let the public see some return on their taxes. Proper investment in roads. Are we ever going to get the SEMRR? A more obvious, desperate need for a road would be difficult to imagine and yet after over 30 years there are still no funds for it. Give the road systems the investment they deserve and no, congestion charging is not the appropriate way to raise the funds to do that.

PaulaJune 17th 2008.

Maybe power to the people by looking at more homeworking opportunities. If the revenue doesn't match what the authorities want to raise isn't adequate, they will have to look at new ways of raising revenue, instead of adding just another tax on top of tax we have already paid twice, pay, vat. ~There is always more than one way to skin a cat.Anonymous from Boothstown: my son works at Salford Quays and drives through Boothstown, if you find a way to contact my email or his, please get in touch. He has ranted on here under the name of Scott.

Karen McDonaldJune 17th 2008.

I'm worried about ringers and other fraudulent methods of getting round the congestion charges - what safeguards will there be?

marie thompsonJune 17th 2008.

i now have to leave a job that i love as i live in rochdale and work in salford. i am a single person living on my own and will not be able to afford to come to work so thanks to the government i may have to go on the dole the planned improvement of public transport will not benefit me or anyone else for that matter as there still will be no diect link from rochdale to salford and as part of my job i have to move around salford so car is needed.thanks gorden brown role on the elections i for one will not be voting labour ever again

flatbrokeagainJune 17th 2008.

Plaease can you tell me whether this is sham consultation. the overwhelming sentiment is anti-chraging but will Howard Bernstein and his ilk take any notice of the working person. I doubt it. My suggestion is simple lets have referendum on this.ANy takers ??

fluffyJune 17th 2008.

Have the sequence of traffic lights at some of the larger junctions into town been changed? I believe so. There are several set of lights now that don't last anywhere near as long as they did 1-2 years ago. They cause more traffic. Is this a conspiracy to "create " more traffic to make the CC more appealling?

emJune 17th 2008.

How can we have any faith that we will get the extra public transport anyway? About five years ago the council said Wythenshawe would get a tram system from the city centre to the airport. People had to move out of their homes as houses were demolished for the tram system then low and behold the plans were cancelled. Brownly road is still undeveloped in that area. Thanks Manchester City Council.

AndymouseJune 17th 2008.

Will the scheme rely solely on cameras, if so, will a well placed bit of mud mean I don't have to pay? (I live near the countryside and frequently have muddy number plates)

S WarhurstJune 17th 2008.

How dare the government /Council try to blackmail us into the congestion charge, Manchester Residents pay car tax and are entitled to this money besides it is their responsibility to ensure adequate, affordable public transport. Less affluent countries have much better services. The government need to learn how to balance the books and stop looking to the British public to bail them out. This scheme will maybe cut congestion short term but it will make peoples lives a misery. People are travelling at these times because (a) They need to get to work (b) School or college (c) They drive for a living. The majority are not high income earners yet these are the people it will affect the most. An idea would be to co-operate with companies to see if they could stagger start/finish times for work, do the same with schools and colleges, improve, increase and make public transport more affordable/available and give incentives for people using it.Another bill is not what the British public need right now or in the future as this is driving down satisfaction and squeezing the enjoyment out of British life.

JoanJune 17th 2008.

Just to point out that some of the more straightforward points are easily answered by going to http://www.gmfuturetransport.co.uk/default.aspx and to remind everyone that there is no charge for travelling against the rush-hour traffic.

LouiseJune 17th 2008.

How much do companies such as stage coach (who will profit from both the improvments and the increase in passenges)have to invest? and will there be any controll over fare costs? my bus ticket has increased in price 3 times in the last 12 months.

Chris RoughneenJune 17th 2008.

1) Any guarantees that the costs or coverage of the scheme will not massively increase shortly after implementation?2) Any truth in the rumours of a 'Phase Two' with pay-per-mile road charges being implemented once Phase One is running?3) Any plans to offer fuel-efficient vehicles (say VED band A or B) a discount or exemption?4) Any plans to ever include orbital journeys on the M60 in a chargeing zone?5) Will motorcycles be exempt?6) How much will it cost to set up the whole Congestion Charging system?7) How much will it cost to run the Congestion Charging system per annum?8) What happens if the revenue from the Congestion Charge is not sufficient to cover the loan repayments to government?9) Is a charge REALLY needed with fuel prices already regulating traffic levels and further increases in price highly likely?Cheers.

LeeJune 17th 2008.

I welcome the improvements the public transport and am just hoping that 'improvements' cover frequancy, coverage, reliablity, reducing overcrowding and general plesantness of experiance.Will there also be anything cone to reduce the cost of travelling by public transport? Particually with regards to getting rid of the greedy peak time charges?

Phil HardmanJune 17th 2008.

I am a lifelong resident of Manchester. I would like Howard to explain how it is fair for me to pay around £800 per year to drive just less than 1 mile from my house to exit the congestion zone to go to work. I work 20 miles outside Manchester but spend the majority of my money in the good city of Manchester. I don't contribute to congestion as I exit Manchester, in fact I'm doing much to avoid it. As the morning rush surges into Manchester I'm travelling in the opposite direction and likewise in the evening so I am not contributing to a congestion prolem whatsoever. As a loyal Manchester resident, why are you penalising me? The scheme is so unfair for the residents, we built this city with our hard earned cash and now you are taking it away without offering any benefit to me.To use public transport to travel to my place of work would involve a bus and tram journey into the centre of Manchester before boarding a train to my out of town location. I will be contributing to increased load on the public transport during the morning and evening rush only to leave the city completely. It would also cost many times more than the congestion charge to do this journey so it doesn't discourage car usage whatsoever. I can't win either way but I know that continuing to use my car for the 1 mile exit out of Manchester will contribute the least to congestion in Manchester yet I will be fined £800 for my considerate attitude!Howard, I'm asking on behalf of all residents of Manchester that you allow us to travel freely among the city we all created and helped become so successful. Just because this Labour council failed to improve the road and public transport network I have now to pay a high price. I even welcome the public transport changes that are proposed but would like to remind Howard that these were once proposed several years ago and scrapped when the Labour government withdrew the funding. Now we are all being asked to pay for what should rightly be ours anyway.How about you give all residents a free pass to travel and charge the non-residents of Manchester for using our fantastic city. Please listen to your valued residents before creating the largest toll road in the country!By the way I am happy to pay the toll charge for the M6 motorway for example, because it actually saves me half an hour or more. In Manchester I will see no benefit for paying.

AntJune 17th 2008.

Will motorcycles be exempt from the congestion charge?

caroline cleggJune 17th 2008.

forcing freelance artists to pay congrestion charges for working in the city, when often they have to go in and out of the city 2 or three times is ludicrous. if manchester prides itself on being a culturaly rich city then the council should think about those who do not have a 9 - 5 existence, those that have to carry instruments, pieces of set and scenery, costumes in order to work, try that on a bus if you have a gig in town then, sale, then town and back to ashton!!! congratulations manchester, a great way to stop artists working.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I live in Burnley which is approximately 30 miles from manchester cc.....as you can imagine the fuel costs are going through the roof at the moment, i would use public transport but the train would cost approx £15 - £20 per day return and i would have to leave the house at approx 6.30am every day to catch a train to get me into manchester on time after changing twice, ridiculous, and the bus just takes too long, i need to be in the city centre for at the latest 8.45am every day. More costs are going to urge me to start looking for work elsewhere as it will just become unmanageable, and after 5 years I will be very sad to do that !! I think Manchester will lose a lot of business if this goes ahead.

UninspiredJune 17th 2008.

Isn't the congestion charge a way of raising money for things which the council & GMPTE should have secured directly from the government long ago. Metro links to Stockport & Burnage etc. etc. Due to the incompetence of elected officals the residents of Manchester and its neighbouring boroughs have to fork out again. Has the negative impact on tourism to our fair city been measured??

BlandJune 17th 2008.

Where do i buy one of these Blue Disabled Badges that allows me to park my Bentley free all day on Deansgate?

Kev PJune 17th 2008.

I've set up an online group on Facebook to try to give people the facts about the bid and the charge but so many people seem to have no idea what is really going to happen and are being brainwashed by the anti-charge lobby and their scaremongering. What will the Council and the United City campaign be doing to get the real message across to people and try to make them understand why this is a good thing for us all?

MelissaJune 17th 2008.

I live in Irlam where traffic congestion is a major problem. Apart from improvements to the station, what benefits or improvements will the ‘congestion charge’ bring to this area?It appears that it will cost me £5 per day to travel into work with no additional benefits other than to have an aesthetically pleasing station that only a few people use due to the inefficiency of the service.Why is the tram not being brought to Irlam? Particularly in the wake of the Salford Reds development and the imminent ‘Port Salford’ which will only cause to heighten the already significant congestion problem in this area.

Howard RatcliffeJune 17th 2008.

Most commuters will agree that the traffic during school holidays is not bad at all. That being the case, I take it the council will be considering not charging a congestion charge during these periods. If so, why???

rick_xJune 17th 2008.

Are we being blackmailed? For example if the people of Manchester say 'No' to congestion charging will we see all future funding for public transport withdrawn?

rosieJune 17th 2008.

to "anonymous",how dare you compare congestion charging or taxation in general to rape.it is a disgusting metaphor to use and hugely offensive.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I have noticed that over the last week my journey time has almost halved, I guess due to the current fuel costs. If there is no congestion then will this still go ahead? I currently car share with my partner and the congestion charge plus even making petrol £2 per ltr will still be cheaper and a lot quicker. Where is my insentive to use public transport?

JoelJune 17th 2008.

Is there a website where we can put in our departure and destination point and it works out the charge?If not, why not?

Drew PeacockJune 17th 2008.

Will the trains get rid of peak and off peak fares. If you get charged for travelling into the City at peak times...and then are pushed onto public transport to pay peak prices...isn't this a bit of a rip off?..ONE PRICE THROUGHOUT THE DAY PLEASE.And I don't mean a peak price!!. More customers paying off peak fares at peak times will also require more rolling stock. When will this arrive, 2020?

cloudhuggerJune 17th 2008.

What i would honestly like to know is, what congestion?????? where is it???? we have; like most towns and cities rush hour traffic,so the only people that will be penalised will be workers, I already pay road tax, food tax, council tax, clothes tax, and tax on anything else that parliament can come up with to take us back to the middle ages, there will be bringing back tax on beards next......When i drive into work I bring 2 sometimes 3 passengers with me, I pay for petrol (also taxed) and parking, which we share between us....If we had to get public transport, the buses are constantly full, and either too hot or too cold,also full of unwashed and abusive people and this trend is getting worse........if we try for a train in the summer they are full, in the winter if raining they are frequently cancelled, and the same in snow......so will the goverment pay for a new tram to be put in from Bolton????

CarlaJune 17th 2008.

2 reasons why congestion charging is the wrong solution: 1) Manchester is not London. Companies have to have a presence in London whereas Manchester is a location they choose. This will make Manchester less desirable and will detrimentally affect our local economy. 2) Public Transport is too expensive & too stressful for many to use. As a driver who has already given up my car I am now dependent on public transport. But, I recently started asking friends to drive into Manchester on Saturdays after my local bus fare went up from £2.50 return to £4.20 - it is cheaper for two people to drive to town. This also avoids the stress of the bad and often scary behaviour of other bus passengers. Public transport has to be too cheap to refuse for people to choose it over their cars. Manchester already costs £5 more to shop in (due to parking/transport costs) than the Trafford Centre, hence the shops are already relocating. Please don't 'drive' everyone out of the city centre - you will kill our city.Some alternative solutions: 1. Allow public subscription to pay for part of the metrolink expansion. I would like the opportunity to own and have a say in how my local public transport is run.2. Add a public transport fee to the council tax - if everyone paid it could be possible to then have free buses & cheaper metro. It would encourage people onto the buses rather than forcing them & it would be a big, bold & radical policy more in line with Manchester's individuality rather than a copy of the solution to London's (unique) situation.

Simon TurnerJune 17th 2008.

Referendum? Ask the public if they'd like to be able to get to work without waiting in a pollution-filled traffic queue for an hour, and they'd say 'YES'. Ask them if they'd like public transport in their area to be massively improved and they'd say 'YES'. Ask them if they could possibly make it to a bus stop for once in their life, or persuade their kids to get out of the 4x4 and walk to school, or find somewhere to shop that wasn't some supermarket three miles away, and they'd say 'NO'. You can't expect the great British public to have joined-up thinking. They hate paying for anything and they've inhaled too many petrol fumes.

Simon TurnerJune 17th 2008.

"There are no congestion on Manchester roads" (sic, and sic again); some of your correspondents live in a well weird world.

Tameside, GBJune 17th 2008.

Manchesters Public Transport infrastructure is just a joke and I am against this congestion charge! I would like to know why there has not been any effort or even an attempt made, to bring Manchesters PT in line with Londons (Tubes, buses, zones, oyster cards) before enforcing this disguised form of stealth tax? Surely, if there is better and improved transport links across the NW, it would get more people out of their cars?! Why do we have to this funding in the form of a bribe? (£3bn for PT improvements etc in exchange for Congestion charging?)I am lucky (at the moment) as I live close to a train station which is the only mode of PT I need to get me into work (City Centre). If I were to look into moving further afield, I would probably also have to look into getting a job locally aswell as the cost (if todays bus and train rates are anything to go by) would leave me penniless!!! A monthly zone 1 & 2 pass in London (about 4 yrs ago) used to cost me c£75 and gave me the freedom to travel a huge area. Imagine my shock when I moved to Ashton and paid c£64 from Ashton to the Quays and told that was the only route I could travel considering what I paid to be packed like a Sardine in the train to Victoria and then wait for broken down Eccles bound trams.I have found that if you are lucky to live near well-run train stations (we are few and far between) but it a vey small minority. Why can PT not be bought up to scratch and then, if there is STILL 'congestion', that it is tabled and bought forward for debate in 10 or so years (as previously mentioned)?(PS I would agree with another previous comment that 'congestion' needs to be defined).

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Bernstein is just another old man trying to leave a legacy. I have lived in London and Manchester and it will take more than a few quid from central government to get us anywhere near the standard of London's transport network. To acheive London's framework here is not logistically possible. If they are so confident that we are all in favour then let us vote in a referendum and stop speaking on our behalf. And for all those people who are stating it may be a good idea, lets see how good an idea it appears in ten years when they have eaten up all the cash in pointless consultancy fees and we are left with the same stinking buses and a extra £1000 tax bill every year. Open your eyes. We are being raped again by this failing Labour government. This plan will choke the life out of the Manchester we have all worked to achieve and fill the pockets of government for years to come. Your children's children will be forced to pay on every road in this country if you don't act NOW.REFERENDUM!!!!

Eunice kellyJune 17th 2008.

I live in Urmston and travel to Warton, Lytham St Annes every day so I travel away from Manchester. Even so I use the M60 to get to the M61 so I will be charged going to work and returning home even though I live 8 miles outside Manchester city centre and travel away from Manchester. Will there be a debate on these issues, as there are numerous people like me, or will it just be a blanket charge, ie use the M60 and pay up?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I would like to know where the idea for the outer charge came from and whether there would be adequate (free) park and ride facilities made available outside this area. At present, to travel to work by PT I would need to catch a bus (irregular service that I believe ceases at 6pm) then a train to Manchester and a train from Manchester to Didsbury. How I would get home I have no idea. The £3B fund (ie loan) would, I assume, only cover the PT within the inner and outer ring so therefore everyone living outside and working just inside the catchment area would be peanalised. BTW I currently live circa 12 miles from work and it takes me circa 20 mins so I dont even believe my route has a congestion problem!!!

Bloody fed upJune 17th 2008.

Tax,tax,tax,tax.Why don't we just send ALL our wages to the government/council & let them send us some spends.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I TOO LIVE ON EAST LANCS AND AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT BUSES - FEW AND FAR BETWEEN - ONCE AN HOUR FOR US - I TRAVEL IN BY CAR - ARE WE EXEMPT AS WE ACTUALLY LIVE ON THE EAST LANCS ROAD??

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

just to say once again it will affect low paid workers mostly.as i myself work in the transport industry so i would need to use my car quite alot as it is shift work and no public transport would be available for myself because of start times and finish times ,so it would cost me a small fortune in and out of the city.also we need good safe alternative transport and we have a long way to go to get this right believe me not the public transport system now are already carries enough nutters ao a daily basis who wants to travel and feel safe with all and sundry.do these people in power actually use these mode of transport daily and in the evenings . i think not,to busy going by taxis.

Stalybridge GirlJune 17th 2008.

I am lucky in one way, I am near a train station to take me to the City centre BUT extremely unlucky with the buses, as the bus & train service from Stalybridge to my present employment in Droylsden is extremely limited. When the company I work for moves to Miles Platting, it will be no better. It is a long journey in the morning and evening when your bus & train service are usually around one every hour. Come on, give the working class people some help here, the Government need to put the money in first, then be proud to invite people to leave their cars at home, they would have no excuse to use them! The cycleways are spasmodic and the canal unsafe, soon I won't be in a position to afford the new proposed Congestion Charge, pay rises are not annually for everyone as they used to be in the good old days. How much more can we be taxed before the working class person decides it isn't worth going out to work for? Local businesses are nearly extinct in towns like Stalybridge & Dukinfield so changing jobs just is not an option. Generally, working class people basically cannot take on another tax. Is the Government taking notice of it's electorate? Do they hear us?

Dave TelfordJune 17th 2008.

I suppose dole-scum will get dispensation from the C-charge.

Ron PiddingtonJune 17th 2008.

My wife doesn't drive, and works in Salford Quays. We live in Denton. I take her to work and back, so I cross the M60 four times a day. I object to this scheme because all it will do is stop Mancunians crossing local boundaries to go to work, as it will be too expensive to do so. It will make places like Tameside a virtual economic disaster zone, as the high number of people who commute out of the area to Manchester and beyond will be disincentivised to do so. I would love to see Tameside MBC's 'reasoned' argument in support of such a scheme.

secret squirrelJune 17th 2008.

RE light sequences. Have a look at Newton Street/Portland Street for a classic example of how to create regular jams through stupid phasing. Deansgate is another traffic planning f*** up. SS

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Ah, so I'm not the only one that's noticed that many of the traffic lights in the city centre seem to be set up to create congestion. And there was me thinking I was just being paranoid.

JohnthebriefJune 17th 2008.

(1) What will the arrangements for city centre residents be - are they to be taxed for driving to and from their homes? (2) Have the council considered reversing the policy of making it impossible to find anywhere to park in the city by double-yellowing every available bit of road space? Perhaps if you removed all the people circling round looking for a space you may find congestion would ease by itself. (3) When can we have a public stoning of Neil Swannick?

paulJune 17th 2008.

Will the Members of GMPT, MP's, Councillors and public officials be able to claim this back as expenses?This charge is almost universally hated and will be ignored and not paid. I will not carry a tag around like some common criminal and any attempt to charge me will be ignored. With the huge increses in costs and taxes already and more to come which the average person has to pay i just dont know where the £1540 per year would come from. Stockport gets a new transport interchange out of this though!! what a joke. Proceed with this at your perlil it affects rich, poor and all people, even if you dont drive the costs will increase(business costs and general prices) We need a referendum on this with a simple yes or no question.( no sly questions just yes or no) The time has come to say enough is enough, dont try and walk over the public the consequenes will be like nothing you have seen before.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

will all bus stops get a shelter PLEASE?

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

Can Jinkies explain to the motorists which part of driving is free apart from it being germ free and thug and junkie free, that's about all that's free. Open your eyes and see who's being ripped off.

Rosalyn DawsonJune 17th 2008.

Manchester's conjestion is not bad enough to merit a congetsion charge, I honestly think it is an excuse to bring in another scheme to take more money from the public. At present we pay road tax, this has gone up as everything else in the UK at present. The thought of more monies being asked of on a daily base is disgracefull. What will happen to those who live in the city centre - I live in the centre and work in Preston, my family live all around Greater Manchester - what will be the true actual cost of this? Do we not get penalised enough financially to live in the city? Higher council tax, ground rent, service charge etc. when will it end? I do not think it should go ahead at all.

RealistJune 17th 2008.

Collecting any charge would surely be a logistical nightmare. How are vehicles with foreign number plates to be charged? What about the enormous lorries from all over Europe? People from other parts of the country just passing through?Everyone who mentions traffic light sequencing is dead right. The lights outside Shudehill interchange cause great congestion at ANY time of the day!

Burt CodeineJune 17th 2008.

"...Magic Buses' just knackered old buses that should have been taken off the roads years ago with a just a new coat of blue paint?"Yup. The have an aroma of an ancient museum locked in a cupboard with a 100 fags a day, nappy wearing dru advisors nk. We'd better hope that the TIF isn't dressed up the same i.e. once the ('if' it gets the go ahead) various monies are siphoned off by the advisers and private greedies we're not left with a frankly poor transport system with a fancy lick of paint to appease us. The rants on here for the Metro system do not heed well for a well run system in the UK (or at least outside the capital)...an oxymoron if there ever was one.I see Bristol are set to bring in a huge cycle scheme to their city (looks very similar to the plan suggested in the TIF proposals) without any such congestion charges.

DJ Aesthetic HeartbreakJune 17th 2008.

People sat in their stupid cars need to look at this logically: In rural or inaccessible areas cars are essential to move around, play some tunes and have a nice day. Here there arent many cars or people so the effect is minimal. Plus you could never get a tram or affordable bus up to Blea Tarn in the Lake District. In cities however, there are MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people - and cars - all wanting to concentrate and go to the same place. Problem. Trams and buses are therefore the natural solution and are the impressive backbone of successful cities. If they can do it many european cities why cant we? Is it the same bizarre illogical correlation taht also affects our ability to drink alcohol and behave properly? With an amazing public transport system you wouldnt have to buy as much petrol...the car could be a welcome treat to visit Blea Tarn and oh god I'm nearly 30 maybe BnQ, but not the every day plague (see Ben Elton Gridlocked). Perhaps if insurance was reduced to mirror reduced car use...i.e. you paid your respective premium at the end of the year based on how many days use you had not sure how this would work but it would also be an incentive. I am sick of mixing in this backward country where selfish people prevail becuase they want to drive their stupid cars all the time - its a hangover of that witch Thather. I suppose there shouldnt be community either...

S WarhurstJune 17th 2008.

How dare the government /Council try to blackmail us into the congestion charge, Manchester Residents pay car tax and are entitled to this money besides it is their responsibility to ensure adequate, affordable public transport. Less affluent countries have much better services. The government need to learn how to balance the books and stop looking to the British public to bail them out. This scheme will maybe cut congestion short term but it will make peoples lives a misery. People are travelling at these times because (a) They need to get to work (b) School or college (c) They drive for a living. The majority are not high income earners yet these are the people it will affect the most. An idea would be to co-operate with companies to see if they could stagger start/finish times for work, do the same with schools and colleges, improve, increase and make public transport more affordable/available and give incentives for people using it.Another bill is not what the British public need right now or in the future as this is driving down satisfaction and squeezing the enjoyment out of British life.

mezJune 17th 2008.

If congestion charging will do what it says on the tin and reduce the volume of traffic in the city centre, then I support it. Whilst I sympathise with those people who have no alternative but to drive (and I suspect that there are many who do), for the long-term health of our city this could be an important step. My questions are:a. will money raised from this not just fund public transport improvement, but also be used to make the city centre a cyclist-friendly environment. I cycle, but know many who don't as they are intimidated by the car-dominated streets.b. Having lived in both London and Birmingham, both of which have a single bus network, I am astounded that such a large and important city as Manchester has allowed deregulation of the buses to such an extent that the profits of private operators are put before passenger needs. So, my second question is, will the money raised be used to create an integrated transport system, including a single bus network?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

When successive local councils have sold off the provision of public transport in bite size chunks... how can they justify charging us again. When I started using the bus into Manchester in 1990 it cost 12p one way for an hours journey. The local council gave up control of the network and it skyrocketed! Now there are fewer buses, less frequent and once you are on them you feel vulnerable and intimidated by the groups of youths with the driver powerless to do anything about it... and for this you pay £3.50 one way. Is it any wonder I bought a car... why should I be penalised for the council's stupidity yet again!!

Cody RyanJune 17th 2008.

If you are investing so much money in public transport that's all fair and well, but that wont stop annoying children playing their music loud on their mobiles, and aggressive youths causing havoc to other passengers - talking of which, once the transport has been improved, it's only going to be brought back to the same state it was in beforehand by those who have no respect. Why not just let us travel for free in our cars and stop extorting us at every opportunity?

Sally GunnJune 17th 2008.

My question is, have ANY of the people actually proposing this congestion charge driven ANY of the routes that they are proposing starting charging on at the times they are proposing charging from. I like just outside the M66 in Bury, I work in Trafford, I share a 2 seater vehicle to get to & from work, I start work at 7:45 travelling straight down the A56 through the city centre down Deansgate. I can assure you that at 7:30am when I and my travelling partner reach Deansgate at that time the road is NOT congested, the traffic flows freely Even the recent gas works did not cause a delay at that time in the morning. Before I worked in Trafford I worked in offices on Deansgate. Deansgate & the surrounding roads are far more congested from 8:00am - kiddy school run time - than they ever are at 7:30am. The congestion charge is a penalty for all workers noth in terms of cash and our ever decreasing personal time. If I were to use public transport it would cost in the region of £20 per day(£3- 3.50 each way for the taxi to the tram station £5.50 each for the return tram fare plus 3 vehicle changes) for the two of us & our journey to & from work would take three hours instead of an hour (I know this from experience of having done it a handful of times when the car hasn't been available) We had to buy a house in Bury because we couldn't afford to buy anywhere else, now we are heading into a recession how can we afford to leave secure jobs in order to avoid having to pay extortionate fees simply to get into work.Congestion charging is fine for a heavily populated & densely built up city with a practically door to door public transport service & a rail stop on every other street. But the geography of Manchester is vastly different & that is why congestion charging won't work.

Mad MaxJune 17th 2008.

So Andymouse, save yourself a few quid by muddying your number plate and see how much you are fined by the police for it. What a pathetic way to live. Apparently you live in the countryside which explains the mud on your plate. Can you tell me when Whalley Range moved to the countryside? No wonder nobody sorts your bumpy roads!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

Anonymous from Duckinfield - Yes, but the public transport system will be improved by the time the c charge kicks in!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I also live outside the Manchester area and my office is in Sale, which falls within the congestion charging zone. Currently my journey into work in the car from Warrington takes around 30 minutes. The public transport alternative would include a 30 minute walk or expensive taxi to station as there are no buses in service at appropriate time, a 30 minute train and 25 minute metro journey at a cost of over £10 a day. Due to the location of my home and workplace I will not benefit from the investment in public transport but will have to pay towards it - how is this fair? The result may mean a change in job to a location nearer to home thus narrowing my career prospects due the field of work I am in (most businesses in my industry are Manchester based)

Man ManchesterJune 17th 2008.

Carl Robson deserves to be charged double if he thinks Didsbury isn't in Manchester. It's people like you who don't want to live and contribute to our city but regularly congest our roads that should be targetted. Go and take your skills to Liverpool and let a Manchester resident do your job instead. You have a choice and you choose to work in Manchester, like it or lump it.

rontoJune 17th 2008.

Is “congestion charging” considered to be a time & location-specific addition to the basic vehicle road tax for access to our road network? If so, then it would seem sensible to properly unify road tax policy by having the proposed charging take account of the engine capacity of vehicles entering the city.

ShriggersJune 17th 2008.

Yet another tax! Road tax is based on your engine size, we are taxed on petrol in various ways, which due to engine size you will pay more if you have a high performance vehicle! Congestion charge is going to impact not only those working & living in the City centre but those of us who have to recruit staff, who may already be having to pay a hefty bill for car parking. I understand the idea is to get cars off the road but until public services are improved and made safer to use, shift workers who tend to be on the minimum wage will be forced to carry on using the roads which will make them look for alternative forms of employment outside of the City. Employers will then have to increase salaries to entice them in, so the Government wins again as they will pay more tax!

Mark & JacquiJune 17th 2008.

if according to the gmpte future transport own web site only 20%; of drivers will pay the tax.. so how long and how much will it take to repay the loan take to repay just the interest and then how much and how long will it take and cost to pay back the captial also in their own publications we all ready have the best and biggest transport network in britain ??? why is the people who use public transport NOT paying this tax too ”

JinkiesJune 17th 2008.

Realistically, how does this council expect to survive the fallout of the congestion charging plan? Clearly it's a good idea, but with so many people so consumed by the 'car is best' mentality and ignorant to the times and areas it will affect, most of the city appears to be against it, how does the council plan to change these peoples minds?

fluffyJune 17th 2008.

I am concerend that, although Manchester is a rapidly growing city, there is still a huge North/South divide with regards to peoples wages. We have smaller businesses and lower wages and I'm not sure that our city can cope with the added charges. For expample, transoprt agencies will have to charge more to deliver and with the added extras of the fuel price rises, it's making is impossible for some smaller businesses to operate. We already have to suffer a 9% fuel surcharge now with our couriers.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

The provision/spread of public transport as an alternative to using the car is just not good enough at present and i am not confident it will be in place before congestion charging takes effect. I would really like to travel to work in Manchester on public transport, but I am travelling from East Lancs and whilst there is a great road system I reckon it would take 5 hours a day on public transport because there isn't a train route, there isnt a tram and the buses are few and not very direct. There is also a definite safety issue as well. What is going to happen to address these issues? There are lots of small businesses on the outskirts of the city centre and they are going to suffer greatly - not everyone works in the city centre.

SJune 17th 2008.

I am a young working class person with unavoidable student debts which costs me £120 extra every month, no pension cos i cant afford it, no children because i cant afford them, not married cos i cant afford it, i have to rent cos there are no houses cheap enough to buy, i have to save up to have a night out. What are the benefits of me working? The working class people in this city are just trying to make a living. You are already pushing people to their limits. Where is all the money going that you are earning from the taxpayers of Manchester? and Manchester economic prosperity? Why do i see so many unemployed doley people roaming round the city with an army of children? Are the working class people fools paying for this countrys mishaps and greed? Working class people we are fools you will beneift more to claim off this government rather than pay into it! We are slaves to this country! all the while the unemployed are cashing in! PS-I wouldnt trust this council to arrange a fart in an arsehole!

Elaine M BrignallJune 17th 2008.

WHY CHARGE US FOR 'LEAVING THE CITY'?????????

Southern SoftieJune 17th 2008.

I would like to know how the decision to implement a congestion charge for Manchester was made and on what criteria. The congestion charge in London is based on huge traffic problems, where cars queue bumper to bumper on all the roads leading in to central London. In my experience, this simply is not the case in Manchester, where 'rush hour' is far shorter than in London and traffic moves comparatively freely. The decision to charge Manchester comes across as a plain and simple money making scheme (yet another one) from our current government.

RashidJune 17th 2008.

I beleive it is another form of taxation. Travelling to Trafford Centre for work will cost????

DaveBJune 17th 2008.

I live in Knutsford and it's one train home every hour for me currently and in the future by the looks of it according to the map! Can I just assume it's the stick with no carrot for me - because I don't finish work until around 6:15/20 I either drive and get home at c7:00 or get the train and get home at 8:25 - some choice!

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

My 2 kids go to a local school, but its just too far to walk too and they need to get the bus. That costs me £2.80 per day, which is ridiculous, while kids travel mostly free in London. I have had to constantly complain about the bus which runs late, early or not at all. My complaints are just forwarded onto the tin pot bus company, on one occasion GMPTE just gave me their number and told me to ring up and complain directly. You can imagine the response! When the bus doesnt turn up i have to take them to school in my car to prevent them being late. I would pass through the congestion zone doing this.I also need my car for work and i work within the zone, travelling about for my job in and out of the rush hour times. How is this congestion charge goingto help my family? Are my kids fares going to reduce? Will someone ensure the bus company operates effectively? will my employer be offering me financial help to pay for the congestion charge ?I live in Bury.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

How will Howard Bernstein by getting to work?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I never realised that certain areas were to be exempted and it's outrageous to exempt a shopping centre. I think that shoppers at the Trafford Centre and all the out-of-town shopping centres should be charged at least an extra £5 to park as part of this Congestion Charging scheme. Traffic going to the Trafford Centre causes major congestion on the M60.

Mike SlatteryJune 17th 2008.

To what purpose does the public consultation stand, when the decision to implement the CONgestion charge has already been made by the Manchester autocrats? We are supposed to be part of a beurocratic country, since Labour came to power this has been diluted to next to nothing, think the Lisbon Treaty!!!!!

Margaret TysonJune 17th 2008.

I agree with everything Barry Miller has to say...he is completely right. He mentions concessions for delivery vans - this should be extended to small businesses giving services especially emergency repairs e.g to electrical and gas installations.....

Mike HallJune 17th 2008.

I completely agree with Simon A, don't you think that the council needs to look at re-phasing the traffic lights in and around Manchester first? It wouldn't surprise me if they've messed around with them just to cause more disruption and hence have a weightier argument for the congestion charge.

HCB1959June 17th 2008.

I already commute in to the city centre by train, as I am fortunate enough to live within easy walking distance of a station with a regular service. However, many of my friends would have to walk 20-30 minutes to their nearest station. They cannot drive, as there is nowhere to park once they get there. Before implementing the charge, car parking needs to be addressed, particularly at gateway stations.

Chris HeapJune 17th 2008.

Like many people on this site, I do not believe Manchester is congested. It is certainly nothing like London. Is this not simply a tax to fund public transport improvements? If so, is it not more fair to raise taxes from the general public as a whole through council tax, rather than simply taxing people who happen to drive to work in Manchester. Surely everyone will benefit from improved public transport, so why not tax everyone for that benefit?

AndymouseJune 17th 2008.

Thinking on, I live near Whalley Range and the road surfaces are horrifly bumpy. Are there any plans to improve the roads too with this money?

ShaunaJune 17th 2008.

I think it is a great idea in principle, but I am concerned how this will be priced. Will transport prices go up? I personally think Manchester public transport is highly priced and the costs for users should be lowered. It also irritates me that I have to pay £14.00 per week to travle 15mins in from Salford on First, while those who live in Didsbury can pay £5. Will these inconsistencies be looked into - the people of Salford are being ripped off and their weekly ticket is as expensive, if not more so than taking the tram! I am all for this if Manchester can be fair accross the board with public transport and think of their customers for once.

I.W.June 17th 2008.

It's just another way to rake in money from already over-taxed motorists.

Barry MillerJune 17th 2008.

I think City Centre road charging is fine up to a point. However it should be based on engine size, length of vehicle (including trailer) concessions for over 60s, disabled and blue badge holders also multi occupancy vehicles and deliveries. Private vehicle drivers with no passengers should be charged the most. Secure 'Park and Ride' facilities must be increased significantly as should the tram system.The whole thing should be carefully thought out and lesons should be learned from the London scheme.Barry Miller

JoJune 17th 2008.

I really can't see the point in bringing in a congestion charge with the cost of fuel prices that we have. I'm not really speaking for myself as I walk to work but IF I did have to travel in by car or PT then I think I'd have to choose the latter. If this is the case for many others who drive at the moment then why a congestion charge? If more people are being priced off the road by the rising costs of fuel...where is the congestion arguement?

JCJune 17th 2008.

I am a city centre resident, and recently have had cause to go out of town across the M60 in the early evening rush hour a couple of times. My journey times were amazingly different, by a fact or of 2, clear evidence of congestion. I also have had cause to be on the M60 in the early evening rush hour and it resembled a car park. There clearly is a case for congestion charging at this time to reduce car traffic. There is evidence from the London experience that congestion charging works and produces more reliable journey times, and there is evidence in the TIF bid that there will be significant improvements in the public transport network of routes. However, my questions are about two things - deregulation of buses and park and ride schemes. Will re-regulation of buses be necessary to achieve a more comprehensive bus route network and how will this be achieved?Does Sir Howard see Park and Ride schemes as a possible solution to the problems that many ranting commuters have cited and where could Park and Ride termini be?

LucyJune 17th 2008.

Will ALL of the £3bn of transport improvements be in place BEFORE the congestion charge is implemented?How will people who come from Chester be charged...in the same way as in London via a camera or will non-Manchester dwellers also need to have a device fitted if they wish to cross over the M60 boundary?Will city centre dwellers be exempt entirely and if so how will the cameras know who lives in the centre and who does now?Will you be getting the bus Sir Howard?

I love cyclingJune 17th 2008.

Please can we have proper cycling lanes into the city, its the only genuine non revenue earning and healthy option for those within a 12 mile radius.

filthymickJune 17th 2008.

I'm sceptical. I wouldn't want to pay anything extra unless I could be guaranteed that ALL of the proceeds were being used to fund the infrastructure and service improvements that are so desparately needed. Alas, my faith in local government is such that I fear nearly all of the revenue generated would be swallowed up by the cost of new, inefficient computer systems, greedy consultants to sell them and other budgetary black holes. No thanks.

AnwarJune 17th 2008.

Fair enough put the charges but first do something about the roads and the constant digging up. All they want is the extra money to beef up their wages.

Simon TurnerJune 17th 2008.

Referendum? Ask the public if they'd like to be able to get to work without waiting in a pollution-filled traffic queue for an hour, and they'd say 'YES'. Ask them if they'd like public transport in their area to be massively improved and they'd say 'YES'. Ask them if they could possibly make it to a bus stop for once in their life, or persuade their kids to get out of the 4x4 and walk to school, or find somewhere to shop that wasn't some supermarket three miles away, and they'd say 'NO'. You can't expect the great British public to have joined-up thinking. They hate paying for anything and they've inhaled too many petrol fumes.

Simon TurnerJune 17th 2008.

"There are no congestion on Manchester roads" (sic, and sic again); some of your correspondents live in a well weird world.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I live in Haslingden and will therefore be outisde of the area which benefits from improved rail links. I would be happy to travel into Manchester to work if there was the right provision to do so at the right price. Will any real thought go into providing low cost parking facilities at those metro stations which are at the edge of the Manchester boundary so that people like myself can drive to the nearest metro and get into manchester centre with ease?

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

If you were charged, surely your company would pay fot it...

Mike, ChorltonJune 17th 2008.

Effectiveness of new Tram lines - journey times ..... there are TWENTY stops between Chorlton and the airport line. The Oldham line also has many. Why oh why are there THREE between Chorlton and Sale Waterpark (an area mainly made up of the Waterparks): St Werdburgh's / Hough End / Barlow Moor Rd / Hardy Lane should just be 2 stops not 4. Similarly around Wthenshawe- at least 2 stops should be removed. What is the expected journey time from Chorlton to the Airport ? (I dread to ask about City Centre to the Airport - but in my opinion the Tram would not be as good as the existing Train for both journey time and luggage space).Finally, how will you decide the Inner Ring ? It's ridiculous that this would be anything other than the Mancr / Salford Inner Ring Rd (including Mancunian Way) - but I've seen maps disecting Chorlton, ie just a mile from the outer-ring. D'oh !! I know you want to include the Tradgic Centre, but please don't ruin a logical pattern just for that.

AnonymousJune 17th 2008.

I've gradually got used to the idea of charging here at Manchester, and I am now resigned to the fact that it is going to happen. The new revised plan is v much an improvement - I like all the park and rides. But we need to be aware of: Charging for public transport in Manchester needs to be improved - West Yorkshire offer zoned Metro cards which include all trains and all buses within the area at a very reasonable price. This should happen here tooAlso haven't there been problems with the C-charge payments in London - people forgetting(?) to pay within the 48 hour window then getting charged alot more money etc? How will people be billed?

DescartesJune 17th 2008.

I heard an advert for the congestion charging and info about the investment this afternoon, but the ad said "investment up to 3bn", why suggest less money will be spent? Surely if we've got 3bn to invest then all of it will be spent, not just some of it?

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