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Sir Richard Leese replies to Graham Stringer on Congestion Charging

The Leader of the Council takes on the former leader of the Council

Published on July 9th 2008.


Sir Richard Leese replies to Graham Stringer on Congestion Charging

The view from Westminster often distorts the reality of life here in Manchester. I’m sure that must account for MP Graham Stringer's strange intervention into the consultation on the proposal for a £3 billion boost to public transport in our city (click here for the Graham Stringer article).

Those of us advocating this package could, as Graham infers, have ducked it. We could have avoided the controversy, taken a safer course. But I don’t think that’s what I’ve been elected to do. I’m here to tackle the tough decisions, not hide from them.

Reading Graham’s article last week I found it genuinely difficult to understand whether he was backing the unprecedented investment package for our railway, bus and tram services, or opposing it. It’s clear that he objects to the concept of a targeted congestion charge scheme to both tackle the growing blight of congestion, and boost the £1.5 billion being committed by Central Government. But how we are expected to help the 'hospital cleaner', who, 'is unlikely to have any alternative to a car', or deliver the 'investment in tram and train expansion', that Graham advocates, without seizing the opportunity presented by the Transport Innovation Fund is a mystery he seems unwilling, or unable, to solve.

According to Graham a Congestion Charge would be, 'inherently unfair, as many of the people who will end up paying for it will be those who have no public transport alternative'. But it is precisely because too many people do not currently have access to a good quality public transport alternative that we are looking to introduce this vital public transport investment package. Similarly, how does it assist those who continue to rely on their cars for us to sit back and do nothing whilst levels of congestion continue their inexorable rise?

I know the concept of a Congestion Charge is contentious. The credit crunch is hitting, taxes are rising and people are hurting. But the people of Greater Manchester are already paying a Congestion Charge. They’re paying it in the cost of wasted fuel as they sit in the lengthening traffic queues. They’re paying in the lost investment opportunities and lost jobs. They’re paying through the impact on their social mobility.

Doing nothing is not a cost free option.

Equally inexplicable is Graham’s apparent opposition to a Greater Manchester referendum allowing you your say in whether the investment package and c-charge proposals should proceed. Having spent months calling for a referendum, opponents of the package are now crying foul and claiming it 'should not be binding' on all authorities. That’s a strange take on democracy. A minority of votes should act as a veto purely because of the geographic area in which they are cast? It’s like saying Graham and his colleagues should not be elected as MPs unless they win a majority of votes in every ward in their constituency.

Just what is it about consulting the people of Manchester for their views that so terrifies the opponents of this package?

There is one area where I do agree with Graham. This is a massive policy decision, and it will shape this city for decades to come.

And those of us advocating this package could, as Graham infers, have ducked it. We could have avoided the controversy, taken a safer course.

But I don’t think that’s what I’ve been elected to do. I’m here to tackle the tough decisions, not hide from them.

I think this investment package and, yes the Congestion Charge component, are right for Greater Manchester. And I’ll continue to put my case.

No doubt Graham will too. Whatever it is.

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

Taxin' JohnJuly 9th 2008.

And another thing: I've just read that the govt is currently subsidising the old British Rail network two and a half to 3 times more than in the good old days. Where's the extra money going? Well, under BR, it wasn't going to shareholders and directors. I'm not against a capitalist approach, where real risk and investment delivers competitive services but this sclerotic mess which passes as competition is deeply fawed.

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Why doesn't the scheme just go for the £1.2bn cash, spend that wisely and forget about the loan and congestion charge bit? That would get rid of the costly consultations, cushy well paid appointments for leese an Berstein and it will serve the region far beter than risking the local economy.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

From my point of view congestion is worse but in my paranoid mind it appears to have been engineerd in lots of cases, ie, Barlow Moor rd through Chorlton, the new layout at Brookes Bar, Reddish lane and numerous other Quality Bus corridors.Buses stop to pick up and hold up masses of traffic which has a knock on effect.As for "public" transport unlike London all our bus operators are chasing the dollar since dear old Maggie's deregulation.Remember they need congestion to pay back the loan !

truemancJuly 9th 2008.

Leese's inability to understand Stringer's article smacks of cheap (and not very effective) posturing; it's abundantly clear to anyone with a modicum of intelligence what he supports - and Leese really ought to wake up to the fact that Stringer is voicing what most people think. I have not met ONE person who is in favour of this ludicrous idea so it's Leese who is badly out of step with the majority. Nor is his decision to back this remotely "brave"; rather it is the cowardly act of a man who puts his new labour London masters' demands for the folk of Greater Manchester to test out whether people will pay a new tax before the views and interests of this City's residents - for proof of this look no further than his timid withdrawal from the much -vaunted legal challenge on the supercasino; was it 'brave' to give up 3000 new jobs for local people in return for the privilege of sitting about talking to the likes of Hazel Blears about a set of initiatives that -in true new labour style - had already been 'announced'? We'll be lucky if that nonsense generates half a dozen jobs - so, the reality is this 'Leader' is someone who has sacrificed 3000 new jobs for Manchester residents simply to keep in with his London cronies. Going back to the article, I find it very telling that Leese blatantly ignores Stringer's point about buses. The FACT is that, under the TIF proposals the two major operators - First and Stagecoach - will be paid (probably more than they extract from the public purse now) to run services that the transport authority has no control over i.e. they will continue to focus on the profitable main road routes (with, incidentally, more limited and non-stop services so, as with Metrolink now, if you actually live in Manchester, your chances of boarding at peak times will be slim, that's if you can get to the stop in the first place, as it may be some distance from where you live!) and they will continue to raise fares several times a year (as a non-gambler I'd bet money on bus and tram fares being only slightly lower than the con charge). Everyone who has no option but to endure the miserable experience of using buses now (not Richard Leese, clearly) knows how appalling they are and we really ought to be questioning the lies being peddled about TIF improving the situation - all that these proposals will deliver is even more profit for Scottish millionaires Brian Souter (and his sister) and Moir Lockhead. More generally, £1.5bn is peanuts in transport terms; the crumbs from the table that feeds London where -while everyone in Greater Manchester is at loggerheads over a pittance - the Government is quietly getting on with investing billions of OUR taxes to expand and improve their already fantastic public transport system e.g. £20bn on Crossrail and Thameslink on top of the 80% of the national transport pot that already goes their way . Sir Humphrey must be laughing his head off at our gullibility! And the idea that only £3m is being spent between now and October should be corrected too - read the 'TIF Programme Entry' report to the so-called AGMA Leaders last month (http://www.agma.gov.uk) and you'll see the REAL figure is a staggering £34m (yes that's £34m), £14m of which is coming from Greater Manchester's coffers and will go straight into the bank accounts of the army of fat-cat private sector 'consultants' working on the bid (check out KPMG's annual results next time; practically all their business comes from the public sector and they always report an enormous profit). £34m in three months for something that may not even get the go-ahead - just think about what that could buy that would actually be useful and worthwhile. Perhaps, though, I'm too optimistic/naive in believing this is a genuine consultation - Councillor Bernard Priest's pathetic attempt to justify a free car park for Councillors (MEN letter earlier this week)perhaps let the cat out of the bag in saying "WHEN the TIF Bid is approved". Shouldn't that have been "If"?? Final - but fundamental - point. Lots of people have bought into and so simply repeat the 'congestion is getting worse' mantra. It's a smokescreen. The road I regularly drive down at 08.50 is no more congested than it was 20 years ago. Check out http://www.trafficmaster.com as well; they monitor traffic flows 24-7 and can EVIDENCE the fact that traffic levels across Greater Manchester have fallen, month-on-month for the last year. Even Greater Manchester Transport's own published figures show that journey times to ALL centres in Greater Manchester have reduced over the last few years - so where's all this congestion, apart from on the motorway box which won't of course be subject to the congestion charge. Why doesn't Leese be genuinely brave and admit this is an additional tax to fund public transport because the Government won't. This country's a joke.

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

I commend Richard and the rest of the council for not taking the easy option and thinking long-term about the needs of Manchester and its residents. Graham's position (I couldn't figure our what it was either...) is very odd and he should be working with the council on this issue. What we need now is a referendum with a strong and coherent yes campaign giving the people of Greater Manchester the FACTS about the bid and the charge and confounding the ridiculous scaremongering being led by Peel Holdings. An anti public transport company which cares not a damn about the people of Manchester, simply about boosting the profits of its billionaire owner who lives in a tax haven on the Isle of Man.

TomJuly 9th 2008.

I'm pro charge. I know a load of people (not everyone, of course) who could easily change their travel plans to get in to work. Giving them a bit more incentive to carshare (or cycle or get the bus) and improving the poor quality of public transport seems to me an excellent idea.

PolkybJuly 9th 2008.

"Just what is it about consulting the people of Manchester for their views that so terrifies the opponents of this package?" - erm... The lies, the false truths and the half truths which are being delivered as "the way things are" by the proponants of this charge.To be fair, you should give half of your £3 million "consultation" budget to MART so that the people of Manchester can hear BOTH sides of the story.

Taxin' JohnJuly 9th 2008.

Spend the cash wisely? Get rid of costly consultants? Blimey, Dave, get a grip: you're nearly talking sense...

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

Sneering and attempting to belittle doesn't help the argument... I read Graham's article and thought it struck a chord because it was thoughtful and considered. Unlike this which is just nasty. And very New Labour... He'll be accused of having mental health problems next or struggling with depression (as was done with Mo Mowlam and Gordon Brown - although in his case...)

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Kev P, just look at hte debate on any of the sites, the majority are not in favour. OK, that may be a snap-shot but it's a good guide. It's all very well usrging peopel to ignore the flaws in the porposal and then vote yes, sadly it doesn't mean the flaws magic away. The economic problems the propoasal will cause are undeniable and not worth enlarging Bernsein and Leese's bank balance for. As for Congestion rising, you chose your words carefully, congestion may be rising (I don't know) the amount of cars in hte City is falling so something else is to blame.

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

The problem with train systems are the static tanure of the investment. You refer to the Newcastle Metro which is very good except the design of the layout and siting of stations were set up in the 60's, in order take thousands of workers home after shifts etc. By the time the thing was finished, the ship-yards had all but gone and the staions were hardly used. The same with Manchester, economic geography changes and transport has to adapt. Private transport adapts much quicker, buses follow and trains take a long time in coming. That is why the once in a generation opportunity that Berstein and Leese talk of is rubbish.

HayzoozJuly 9th 2008.

Jesus this site is changing. In a few days it's had Graham Stringer, Bernstein and Leese all jumping on board. The funniest is this one with a surprisingly peeved Leese. Valid points but a very superior tone. Labout scrapping amongst itself is great fun.

SimonJuly 9th 2008.

The point is to get you out of your cars you lazy, selfish SOBs!!!

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Mikey, I'm afraid your conclusion is wrong. Whilst car ownership has gone up, less cars enter the central CC zone now than 7 years ago. Public transport usage has risen significantly in this time. With car usage falling yet speed of vehicles (highlighted by Leese & Bernstein) This suggests the traffic management has been tampered with to cause congestion. As the scheme is to avoid congestion, surely it is better value for money to optimise traffic management and save £3bn. You see, public sector people don't think logically or have the intellect to deal with these things.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

Nothing selfish about using PT. What's selfish is accepting all this money and expecting someone else to pay it back!

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Dave - because Peel Holdings don't give a damn about the people of Manchester! If you look at their planning applications - Jacksons Wharf for example - they put in a design that was totally out of keeping with Castlefield, with NO consultation from residents. This was wholly rejected by people from the area and the planning committee. They then came back with basicall the exact same design and when that was again turned down they appealed it nationally! They operate in a way that shows no regard for the opinions of the public and their anti-charge campaign is because they are anti-public transport in general, not because they have the remotest interest in defending the people of Manchester!

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Polkyb - Well that simply isn't true, congestion is rising! Perhaps you're reading pamphlets put out by Peel Holdings Inc?! Dave - they seem to have a majority of Mancs on board? Evidence? We'll find out the answer to that if the anti-charge councils agree to a referendum which they are all bound by and the people vote no. At this stage you or I have no idea where the opinions of a 'majority of Mancs' lie. I'd like to think that if given all of the FACTS people will vote yes. Obviously with the 'CONGESTION CHARGING WILL MURDER YOUR CHILDREN' arguments being put out by the anti-charge groups then people are bound to respond negatively - the referendum will be the opportunity for people to respond to the issue based on a full and reasoned assessment of all available information.

polkybJuly 9th 2008.

"Why people always assume that they are being lied to I'm really not sure." - Because, acording the official figures, the amount of cars entering Manchester in rush hour has been falling for eight years straight. What do you hear about that in your glossy mag? Car ownership is rising! Congestion! We're all DOOMED!

Taxin' JohnJuly 9th 2008.

Phil Griifin sums up my previously-aired worries: There's Congestion + Something Ought To Be Done = Let's Charge Everyone More!Don't you realised we're already being taxed / charged for this sort of service. What happens now is that the money spent on fares HAS to go up because there are more people to pay out to: directors and their bonuses for doing well, and shareholders. Wow! They've taken a real risk in running a transport company that the government wouldn't dare let fail.Who actually realises that it's so simple? We shouldn't be blindly paying more: it's the 21st Century - we should have clean and comfortable trains, running on time and affording competitively priced travel all over.I don't want to sound harsh on 3rd World Countries but our supposed 21st Century system is 3rd World.

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Polkyb - your conspiracy theories would be better suited to an episode of The X Files. Why people always assume that they are being lied to I'm really not sure. EVERY household is getting a detailed 24 page booklet explaining all aspects of the TIF bid and the congestion charge and for those who still have questions there is a dedicated phone line and a website, plus a big pile of supplementary information that answers every possible question even the most annoying person could think of! What do you think anyone has to hide?!

StarJuly 9th 2008.

For me, its a half hour walk to my nearest tram station, then a 10 minute walk at the other end. In winter, not good as I have to walk down a dark lane. My nearest bus stop is a 10 minute walk away and there is only one bus every hour from where I live and that doesn't always arrive. When the charges kick in it'll cost the same amount as driving into work.

pat finnJuly 9th 2008.

Its damn simple , I dont want to pay and I dont want my elected council borrowing 3 billion pounds and my children paying it back .OHH , and stop that annoying ex has been Corrie actor from trying to brainwash the great unwashed and finally who is paying for the TV ads ?

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

The Lib Dems will sit and wait for the outcome of any referendum and then go with the popular opinion, that is what they usually do! And the tories, well... luckily we don't have any elected ones in Manchester!

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

"Yes, the public transport into the centre is failing." - No it isn't, it is outstanding if you take into account the price we paid for it. Adding another tax to car users while letting off the people who are actually benefitting from this is like robbing peter to pay paul.

MIkeyJuly 9th 2008.

fair points from Dave Telford and Truemanc on the operation of the scheme - First and Stagecoach have got poor records on robbing the public purse and not providing the service required or promised. Leese will have to get his arse in gear to ensure they meet standards of service. However, with car ownership increasing whilst motoring costs decline, it is obvious that congestion in the hot spots around the city (try the M60 at 8am or 5pm) will only get worse. this not only effects pollution levels but also makes local business inefficient. by getting more commuters onto public transport, the CC will actually improve the competitiveness of many businesses who wont spend hours locked on the crumbling road network across the city. more cycle lines will make the city healthier too - a cleaner and more shapely Manchester? hurrah!

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

Simon - car drivers are not automatically lazy or selfish. The whole reason the charge is creating such a debate is that every single person's circumstances are different. Not everyone can live close to a tram stop, not everyone has enough time in the day to increase their journey time (which is generally what happens when you use public transport), not everyone can go about their daily business on the bus or train, not everyone feels safe using buses late at night/walking home in the dark from a train station etc etc.

Taxin' JohnJuly 9th 2008.

And so we sleep-walk into another stealth tax.

JennyJuly 9th 2008.

Since Boris hates the bendy buses can't we get his fleet of these on the cheap?

GordoJuly 9th 2008.

right, we've had enoug of that ugly bugger on the top of the page, move him down!

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Leese is hot under the collar isn't he. I thinks He & Bernstein view the cushy appointments form this scheme as their pension.

polkybJuly 9th 2008.

I wonder if this is just an exercise to prove that you actually CAN fool some of the people all of the time?

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Yes Tony, that is exactly what is happenning - there is a mass conspiracy between the councils and the utilities companies to dig up roads and pretend to replace ageing pipes in order to purposefully create congestion. I don't know how we couldn't have seen it already. Someone should call the MEN, they'd have it on the front page tomorrow.

Tony TrehyJuly 9th 2008.

For anyone who lives in the city centre, the cause of the increased congestion over the last few years is obvious: the Council itself plus the Utilities profiteers have been closing city centre roads for various roadworks. These knock on into congested traffic trying to enter the city when key roads are blocked off. As the consultation starts, we should all be watching what key arteries miraculously need roadworks by coincidence.

Kevin LeeJuly 9th 2008.

I really can't understand what some of the commentators on this site and article have been reading. Richard Leese has simply made the case for the TIF bid investment and congestion charge - the rants attacking his use of taxpayers money for writing an article? I doubt it cost the taxpayers any money and surely we want to hear from the leaders involved in this major issue. He's hardly attempting to sneer or belittle, simply putting the other side. It seems that now the pro-TIF side are putting the case, the anti-investment side are getting all upset, perhaps because they've had all the airtime for so long. Now the going's getting tougher the antis, having called for a democratic mandate now don't seem to want to abide by the people's decision. At least sensible politicians like Graham and Richard are debating (no sign of the Tories or Lib Dems - as usual, ducking the difficult debates and decisions).

The Elder StatesmanJuly 9th 2008.

I really hope everyone who lives in Manchester chooses to use the public transport, that would leave the congestion income far below that expected, then when the government call in the loan it will have to be added to council tax of those same people.Lets see how long the elected council members stay in power then.Me, I'll change my job to one in Liverpool or Stoke or Preston, I don't live in Manchester so I won't see the loan put my council tax up.Exodus. Movement of the people.

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Kev P.. why do you think Peel holdings are wrong in what they are saying, why do you discredit them?

keithJuly 9th 2008.

I come from Manchester but have lived in London for the last 6 months, whenever I come back to my spiritual northern home I am now ashamed by how poor our public transport is. In London, where beer and everything else is more expensive, I can get a bus anywhere for 90p or spend an hour on the tube for £2.50 changing lines as many times as needs be.Something has to be done in Manchester to bring our bus service up to a decent standard, I sympathise with the cynics who think that nothing can be done due to previous experience, but the potential congestion charge is a massive opportunity to provide a first class bus, rail and tram service. However if it is not done properly, with the right investment made, and services do not improve (while becoming relatively cheaper) then its failure could spell the end for progressive politics within the city (imagine Manchester as a conservative strong hold...).I back the charge and am interested as to how a referendum would work. Personally I do not think such a referendum should, however, take place as people are inherently self interested and will never vote for anything that they believe will cost more money for themselves in the short term, i.e. drivers will be angrier and more vocal than bus users.

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Even if there were a justification for a CC, I don't think the public sector / Quango should be trusted to operate the scheme. Let's be honest, people who work in local goverment are essentially the willing unemployable and shouldn't be trusted with the complexities of dealing with a £3bn budget.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

The point IS, Simon, what if you have no alternative than to drive a car in to work? Maybe they should just add a fiver on to the cost of a bus/tran/tram ticket as well... After all, it's your selfish lot that would reaping all the benefits.

Taxin' JohnJuly 9th 2008.

The concept of a congestion charge isn't contentious: it's unnecessary. We've been rail-roaded (ha!) in to this position by governemnts - who have allowed transport to go from being a service to a for-profit business, where shareholders and directors will be more importnat than mere customers...er...travellers - and big business - who have destryed town centres with out-of-town shopping centres, only attainable by cars (and a skeleton bus service).We are now having to be charged again under the banne of "being green" to fund transport so that they can over-charge us for using a service that should be far more price-competitive, user-friendly and user-useful.

DrakeJuly 9th 2008.

I'm with Gordo. How did Mr Griffin get those paras in?

PolkybJuly 9th 2008.

"Well that simply isn't true, congestion is rising!" - Do you have any proof of that? I can proove that the amount of cars entering Manchester in the morning is FALLING, so how can there be congestion unless it's engineered by restricting the flow? So far as I know, Peel haven't released any pamphlets and if they have, I haven't seen them... My sources are the councils own documentation on their own website where you can see the councils own traffic report which has the information I'm quoting from in it. If you don't believe me, go ant take a look yourself.

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Dave - that is the point! Encouraging drivers to use public transport or alternative routes, thus easing congestion! I'm glad you made it for me.

Phil51July 9th 2008.

I am against congestion charging but in a referendum would vote for it.Strange as this sounds, It just means that I will no longer go into Manchester at any time (I often stay longer than I intended) I will go to Altrincham or Stockport. Many companies will move out to these areas resulting in huge investment outside of Manchester centre

Ali McGowanJuly 9th 2008.

Why don't we ban ALL transport of all forms and invest the £3bn into teleporation*? Then we won't have air pollution and we can turn all the roads into gardens. We could make the M60 the biggest circular garden in the cosmos! Nobody can argue against anything I'm suggesting because it's just such a damn good idea. *if teleportation needs a little bit of electricity to power, we could set fire to all the cars we won't need any make some energy from that instead.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

Further to my posing before 'I am like many Mancunians' and in reply to Kev P - I live 10 mins walk from a sub train station and it takes me 15-20 mins to get to the City - the problem is the 'connection' with the metro to Salford quays nr the outlet - I would be better walking! I don’t think these cash injection would solve mine and many others situation much who have to cross town and make multiple connections as the metro is slow. The majority of people are HAPPY to do something within reason about congestion etc - but I feel this will make peoples lives even harder and take them away from their home lives fro longer which in turn causes social problems. Why cant we just address the problem at the root and encourage home-working - many people are capable of this but employers fail to put in the structure.As for Simon’s post - don’t assume people are lazy! I used to cycle a 20 mile round journey but I draw the line at that - esp with no shower facilities at the work end - another consideration for employers!

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

I think Dave is saying that because the CC pushes activty out of the zone, more people will be heading out and accessing just outside the periphery from the M60. So with all clockwise trafic turning left and visa versa we will get Jams. I assume the Trafford centre and other retail places just inside will build private spurs off the M60 so shoppers there won't have to pay the fee.

GordoJuly 9th 2008.

well said Phil. How did you get those para's in?

Paul, Whalley RangeJuly 9th 2008.

The congestion between Whalley Range (which is in the inner congestion zone) and the City Centre is minimal. I can drive into the city centre in 10 minutes during peak hours and 5 minutes off peak. The real congestion is in the suburbs and around the M60. It is interesting that the areas suffering the worst congestion are also the areas objecting to the congestion charge.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

I’m sure I am like many Mancunians who have to travel to work - the bottom line decision on this comes down to time and money.I whole heartedly agree that we need to cut down on single person car travel to ease congestion and hello the environment but is this really the answer? A joint Train and Metro journey for me takes me twice as long and costs me twice as much. An extra 10hrs a week on travelling and an extra £20 a week worse off leads me to think I may just move somewhere else when and if this comes in. I couldn’t imagine how I would cope if I was on a less than average wage and had child drop offs and pick ups to do! The Transport system just isn’t good enough at present and I doubt the cash injection will make it much better. The Metro was a poor idea that is too slow, expensive, unreliable and not frequent enough which is a poor show for a relevantly new mode of transport in this city (we all have come to sadly expect it of the train systems). Why did we not consider a London like underground? Although initially costly, can be integrated with the trains, is faster, more far reaching & does not contribute to the city congestion. Liverpool have a little one and so do Newcastle – why didn’t we opt for this?

BojanglesJuly 9th 2008.

I still can't understand why we just can't have an upgrade on the Rochdale/Oldham/ Manchester train line instead of pjutting trams on which will be single file in places. It will take a hell of a lot longer for the journies with no toilets! You can't take your dog on your bikes on the trams either. The people who don't have the tram service will be paying for it and not getting it. Does anyone hope that Manchester Corporation will buy out all bus services rather than make us use private companies for thier profits and benefits, not the populations

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

KEv P, the problems will not be fixed under the scheme. More Metrolink tams in hte centre will be a isaster, taffic has slowed since their introduction.Why do the pro's get excited about interchanges? All they are are bus stations next to rail stations, that does not cost £3bn.

DrakeJuly 9th 2008.

I'm with Gordo. How did Mr Griffin get those paras in?

Ali McGowanJuly 9th 2008.

At least Mr Stringer's article made some valid points - such as the Metronet fiasco [how come London gets such big piles of cash yet we have got a half baked, creaking tram system] and the fact that Manchester needs better bus regulation... [we need more buses, we need night buses, we need 'Next bus due in x mins' signs at every stop]. What point is Mr Leese trying to make? He's wasted tax payers' money writing an article that doesn't add much. Now, given that our city council promised to have Metrolink transporting passengers to the Commonwealth Games 6 years ago, I've little faith right now that the £3bn isn't simply going to be frittered away... so instead of wasting time, our money and your energy arguing with each other, how about delivering on promises instead? Chop, chop! :)

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

Yes, the public transport into the centre is failing. Hence an overhaul of the public transport system and a charge for continued car users

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Anonymous - All the problems that you point out - an unreliable metro system, journeys on trains and trams taking longer - will be fixed under the TIF scheme! More tram lines, double trams during peak hours and transport interchanges at key train stations allowing smooth transition from train to tram to bus will make journeys quicker and more comfortable.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2008.

The guided busway planned runs through the only green space left in LEIGH.It will destroy the peace and quiet of Lilford woods in order to save a few minutes travelling time.An ill thought out schemeand the congestion charge will certainly encourage me to shop in other towns rather than Manchester

Taxin' JohnJuly 9th 2008.

...Like my spelling.

Harry EartheyJuly 9th 2008.

We need to have an improved transport system working before we talk about masking a charge. By the time a new system is running the value of the pound will be a lot less, and so the cherge figure will be double or more than the amount quoted today.People who live adjacent to the outer ring find that it would be unfair for them to be charged for local journeys, and to overcome this there should be two rings about a mile apart that you have to cross before you are charged.

garretJuly 9th 2008.

So smug in his dismissal not only of Mr Stringers points but also of the opinions of Mancunians, no doubt he'd respond by saying he's spoken to all the Mancunians he needs to while he was in Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn...

DaveJuly 9th 2008.

maybe wasn't clear - but I mean that people will want to avoid driving though the zone and paying the charge and will use the M60 to do this - causing congestion

DaveJuly 9th 2008.

Why is the get to work charge area so big? Charging people to get off the m60 IS RIDICULOUS and must have a massive impact on the viability of loads of businesses which people dont have a public transport alternative to reach. It also seems to me it will increase congestion in the only place where Manchester only has any real congestion problem at present - on the M60 itself.I could almost accept a charge based on the inner ring road - but the outer one - no way!also - is there any comitment to reduce the cost of public transport? I havent seen anything - Any commitment to suspend the get to work charge on footy nights (no way to get public transport home then)

MorrisJuly 9th 2008.

As was the case in London, for a long time, it will end up being cheaper to pay the CC than to use over priced public transport, especially the privtised buses. Graham Stringer's point about the deregulated bus services was a serious point completley over looked by Richard Leese. More people on buses, more profit for the bus operators who will only increase services in the most populated areas.

Kev PJuly 9th 2008.

Dave: "it will increase congestion in the only place where Manchester only has any real congestion problem at present - on the M60 itself"... A congestion charge at key congested points will INCREASE congestion? Interesting logic!

PeteJuly 9th 2008.

Could you explain what is selfish about using public transport?

Dave TelfordJuly 9th 2008.

Yet they appear to have the majority of Mancs on board re. the CC. Isn't the TIF ignoring local opinion, applying nationally to railroad schemes that are bad for Manchester through?

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