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The revolution in regional transport

Confidential has a couple of ideas to immediately sweeten the bitter pill of congestion charging

Published on June 9th 2008.

The revolution in regional transport

So the government has approved the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF, aka the Congestion Charge). This will eventually result in a £3bn treasure trove for Greater Manchester public transport which supporters say will give us a 'world class' public transport system.

Is this a carbon friendly smoke screen of 'green' issues which is being used to give Manchester's transport a massive boost? And if so, does it matter? This is politics after all, and good politicians want the best for those who elected them - and not always with free child care thrown in.

There are hurdles to leap before the money is spent. Principally there will be twelve weeks of public consultation (and a welter of opinion polls and surveys proving this, that and nothing by the pro-lobby United City and the anti-lobby Greater Manchester Momentum Group (GMMG)).

More importantly there will have to be approval from seven out of the ten Greater Manchester Councils. Currently Bury, Stockport and Trafford say no which leaves the bid one short. Maybe the £3bn carrot dangling in front of their cash-strapped eyes might encourage a change of opinion. A key factor here will be that Bolton Council say they will hold a referendum on the issue. This should play right into the hands of GMMG: it's not hard to foresee that the phrase 'stealth tax' will be used to terrorise the locals.

It's also worth remembering that the money won't come from government without a congestion charge being imposed. But it will be a limited one, and this is something the supporters will have to emphasise and re-emphasise.

Congestion charging will run Monday to Friday 7am-9.30am into the city, and 4pm-6.30pm out of the city: you pay nothing travelling the other way. This is through an inner and outer zone. If you do the journey once each way at these times it'll set you back £5, or multiplied by five days a week, £25. Moreover congestion charging will arrive in five years time, after the investment in public transport is well under way.

One of the confusing aspects of the whole TIF issue is whether it's all for dubious and difficult to measure 'environmental' reasons: or whether it's to prove if a provincial capital's public transport can be radically improved and become a model for other city regions (which would, of course, result in an attendent reduction in car travel and presumably an environmental gain).

In other words is this a carbon friendly smoke screen of 'green' issues which is being used to give Manchester's public transport a massive boost? And if so, does it matter?

This is politics after all, and good politicians want the best for those who elected them - and not always with free child care thrown in.

Either way Confidential has an idea. Why not sweeten the bitter pill of congestion charging with a couple of gifts?

Number one, get rid of public transport peak rate premiums before 9.30am in the morning. Let travellers pay the same on trains and trams after 9.30am as they do before. This already happens on buses in any case.

Secondly, let's free up parking in the city centre. We should greatly increase the number of on-street parking bays and perhaps charge a flat rate of £1 for three hours: enough to go shopping, get a good meal or attend a business meeting. At present, as shown on the parking meter we've photographed here, the charge is a rip-off £2.40 an hour or £4.40 for two hours. The NCP car parks should look at lowering their rates too, although this is less likely to happen. Confidential also thinks we should reduce the on-street charges after noon every weekday and re-apply free unlimited parking all weekend. Or if not these specific measures something similar.

The cheaper public transport and the cheaper and easier parking would be an immediate gift to those who travel into the city centre at peak times on trains and trams and a gift to businesses worried about congestion charging. Short term it would encourage those who have given up coming into the city centre by car to return. Then when the TIF innovations have taken place those drivers might be persuaded to seek an alternative. For promoters of the £3bn investment it would send out a welcome sign that this whole process is about making the lot of the travelling public a happier one.

However, if people still exercise their choice to use cars (they might live outside the TIF area, need to pick up heavy goods, have children and so on) we shouldn't cause businesses to suffer and the city centre to lose its appeal for vehicle owners (and push more of them to the Trafford Centre or Cheadle Royal). One thing is certain. Cars are not going away, their flexibility, and the personal freedom they allow people have become a modern basic right.

Used cleverly then, the eventual £3bn investment will transform public transport without hurting the motorist too much.

After all TIF is surely about that word 'encouragement'. Through greater efficiency, frequency and access, public transport in Greater Manchester should become the logical choice for many more people. TIF should make it daft not to use public transport. It should categorically not be a weapon with which to force people out of their cars.

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

GMPTE MediaJune 9th 2008.

Most confusion seems to have been sorted by now, but if I can clarify:• No charge if you don’t cross a boundary.• No charge travelling against the flow of traffic. i.e. no charge outwards in the morning, no charge inwards in the evening.• No charge in travelling in any direction outside of peak times.• The vast bulk of investment will be in place before a charge is introduced.I trust that helps.

BigfishJune 9th 2008.

Apart from when they are ridden by maniacs!

GraceJune 9th 2008.

Can enough 'rants' force a referendum?Jinkise, Drew, Dave and annonymous seem to represent a fair cross section instead of the council 'debating' and 'consulting' in hallowed rooms of the town hall, how about asking people from this rant to consult with them? And what about the those without a voice, the pensioners who are already isolated and without transport who often rely on relatives or friends to drive them into town, who will end up having to pay more? MCC, you need to listen to your residents. You may be desirous to have an international city to show off, but we need to see some benefits of living here and be encouraged to feel proud of living here and welcoming international and national guests for whatever conference or festival you want to throw money at. A city that is fair to all is a happy city, thats what attracts visitors and business, not new statues, 3 day drink fests for debatable sports fans and ugly new tower block hotels on Deansgate. The old adage of the friendly northerner, the welcoming Mancunian built up over generations is at the heart of Manchesters sucess, not council edicts. This TIP tax is simply disrespectful to everyone.

LeeJune 9th 2008.

Thank you! I've been concerned that through all the coverage it's only mentioned improving public transport (sonmething I am throughly in favour of) but never making it more affordable.I think it's awful that they can get away with charging more at the times when most people want to travel. The off peak fares obviously cover the cost of providing the service and include for normal profit, having higher peak fares is blanent opportunism.

TramtasticJune 9th 2008.

GMPTE Media - still nothing about increasing cycle lanes / safety for cycles to get in from further out than Chorlton? What about people who have to navigate the canals or back roads just to be able to cycle in to work - only to get knocked off their bikes on the Princess Parkway ....!?

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Ollie, your argument makes no sense - You are complaining about the state of public transport but opposing £3 BILLION of funding to improve it radically... Open your eyes!

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Forgot to add - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17193979785 - Sign up if you support the charge!!

Railway JohnJune 9th 2008.

This why I quite like the idea of starting our own revolution. The sooner we all realise that transport is no longer run for our benefit - less-frequent trains, over-crowded carriages, increasing prices - the sooner we all make the connection and do something about it.there is absolutely no green credentail in this form of taxation or charging: I'm not an expert. But I can see that all the alternatives now prove to be cash-generators for council and govt alike. They're so short of money, these people who ran our economy so well but couldn't predict this current downturn that they'll tax us but not quite enuff to prevent us going to work.

johnJune 9th 2008.

£3 billion is a drop in the ocean for public transport and won't make the difference this city needs. It took £3.5 billion to extend the jubilee line in london. We've been given a **** choice- if we want to make a small difference to public transport we have to pay a fortune for the next 30 years (which is how long it's going to take us to repay this loan through congestion charging). A decent public transport system is a basic right to those living in any major city. We should demand the government pay for decent public transport (alot more than £3 billion) and scrap the congestion charge after all its their council that are responsible for the poor planning and management of it.

JanieBJune 9th 2008.

It's just another way to extract hard earned cash out of ordinary people who need to use their cars. The green issue gives a fabulous excuse to do this. I don't believe this so called world class public transport system will be delivered. How do we know that it's not going to pulled at the last minute due to some excuse like they used for the metrolink extensions.

Dave BJune 9th 2008.

Living in Knutsford with one train an hour home I don't see any planned changes for me other than paying up to £1,200 in tax. Also would love to know where the rest of the £50bn taken from motorists already goes - it's a naive question to ask if it should be re-invested in transport I suppose!

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Just encouraging people to sign up!!I'll stop now, promise :oD

Jonathan SchofieldJune 9th 2008.

Simon, as far as I understand things, you won't be paying a penny.

SimonJune 9th 2008.

Because you should be getting out of your dirty, smelly, noisy car and using said transport, that's why!!!

ktfairyJune 9th 2008.

I want the transport inprovements and am happy to support the congestion charge to make them happen. Although as I live in the city centre and walk to work neither will affect me at all (not costs nor benefits), I can still see it is a good idea.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Thanks for those clarifications JoJo, very helpful :oD I find it really difficult to understand how people can't understand the information - It really is rather simple!

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Glad you agree Ellie, go sign up! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17193979785

HumphJune 9th 2008.

Personally, I think that the congestion charge stratagy sounds pretty good as it stands, however I have my doubts that it will remain this way and will inevitably become another tool of control and funding for the govenments gain rather than benefitting the environment and the people of Manchester.As for as improving transportation goes the simple fact is, is that this won't happen unless it is brought back into the control of the public sector and run as a service to the tax payer rather than a profit tool for private business. The fact that the transport system in manchester is so fragmented and inconsistent is just another demonstration that profit driven services don't work.I would propose a system which was controlled by MCC and run by a private company which was then rewarded by MCC on performance relating to fulfilment of opperation rather than profits.A decent park and ride system would also nulify any winges from people travelling into the city for any decent reason.

Simon TurnerJune 9th 2008.

So all this is going to take place based on how whether more people have signed up for the pro or anti Facebook groups? I don't think so. If decisions were going to based on the size of Facebook groups then Keith Chegwin would be Prime Minister by now and Snickers would have reverted back to their original name; Marathon. I'm guessing life is a bit more complicated than we imagine...

Railway JohnJune 9th 2008.

Can't seem to open your link, Kev P.

JinkiesJune 9th 2008.

What I want to know is will all the councillors that are so in favour of this have to pay their own charges, or will it come out of our council tax?

oilmanJune 9th 2008.

When oil peaks in anything between 2 and 12 years (not just the doom-mongers saying that but the oil companies themselves) and the cost of everything, never mind petrol, goes through the roof (whilst simultaneously leading to huge job losses - i.e. stagflation) will those who are saying no to this investment and wanting us to turn it away please hand us the money they will owe us? Will the nefarious hand of that company whose only interest is in getting the Councils to sell Manchester Airport so they can consolidate their own airport empire be ready to hand over their cash to me and my kids? What a bunch of complete and utter selfish b******s some people are. Reckoning it is a right to drive their car wherever and whenever they please. I've got news for you - you are going to have to change. Not because a politician says so. Not because there is a charge for you to drive your precious extension of your miniscule ego but because the planet says so. It only holds so much resource and you, my idiotic friend, will be last on the last to get it when it starts running out. "Why didn't we invest in public transport" they will say. "Why did we squander it all in cars to allow increasingly fat people to drive short distances?" they'll cry. I for one will ignore your crying then.

Irlan PedigreeJune 9th 2008.

Living in town I'm personally in favour of the CC as it will probably cut my journey home time quite significantly. However I do agree three lots of motoring tax (petrol/tax disc/CC) for those living outside of town is very harsh indeed. Also, will £3bn really be enough for all these improvements? This government is notorious for underestimating the cost of large scale projects (estimated cost of the NHS Database likely to more than quadruple to £30bn / ID cards likely to triple to £18bn etc). It wouldn't surprise me if only half the intended benefits actually come to pass while the motorist bears the cost of the underspend and profit margins of all the private contractors and transport providers in full...

Ali McGowanJune 9th 2008.

Sorry to be so utterly negative but we were promised the Metrolink extension to be whisking visitors to the Commonwealth Games 6 years ago... forgive me for having zero confidence in MCC + GMPTE/A to be able to deliver any significant public transport improvements. Manchester will never have 'world class' public transport [nice vague description too] until the current Council and Authority gets off it's collective arse and delivers. Our buses are passable but trains and trams are bollocks. Rant over.

oilmanJune 9th 2008.

Railway John says "I'm not an expert. But" - and therein lies the problem. Why is it that simply because people drive in traffic they assume they understand traffic light sequencing, induced demand and traffic flows better than those who study it day in day out? I don't understand it and would never profess to but those who do. those who spend their lives devoted to solving these issues do and they paint a very different story from the ranters on here. Would anyone take the opinion of a heart attack victim over a cardiologist?! They may have some worthwhile advice but for solutions I will stick with the doctor thanks. The rise and rise of the "I'm no expert but" brigade is alive and well in the UK - they get everywhere and solve nothing.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

This is my last response because I'm tired of arguing the toss now! Anonymous - It doesn't mean agreeing with me, it just means knowing the basic facts about the issue! Some of the claims made by people on here and completely untrue and clearly they have not read any of the actual information about the TIF like the excellent GMPTA website mentioned by Joan above. At the end of the day it'd be great if everyone agreed with me but unfortunately that is never going to happen! I'd just like to see more people arguing the issue based on the facts rather than getting information from inaccurate and misleading sources or simply making it up! End of my rantings!!!

DarrenJune 9th 2008.

The cost of fuel has driven me to ride in everday on a bike, surely if this keeps going up that will be enough of an incentive. And on the topic of cycle lanes (dirt traps) can someone with half a brain, or even quater of brain please design a cycle path that is worth using, that would solely help more people move to bikes as oppose to the car.Maybes employ the person who designed the one and only useful cycle lane (out of Casltefield and up Chester Road) to do some more Alternatively say you suffer from depression, get on the social, get free car, tax benefit, housing benefit, free council tax, taxi's paid for, fuel allowance, someone to wipe your ass...........................

Burt CodeineJune 9th 2008.

Will any of the 'promised to look into it' Northern Rail hub costs, recently mooted by a govt body be part of the (t)IF funds? Bangs go half if so.I'd like to hear more of the proposals for cycle routes. It's as quick to bike into town than it is on a rickety old 'museum' bus (the one's with the archaic smell...old ciggies and 40 years deceased dog aroma). Of course it's much more dangerous (although the top deck of your bike never gets set on fire or do you get 'junior gangsters' giving you their 50mm stare).I personally don't know how people can afford to park in the city now anyway - NCP have done a right fleece job of late. It seems to be going up by the week adding huge petrol prices on top I'd probably hedge mt bets and take a massively improved public transports system (unified as with Berlin's system and I'd be happy).I think people are genuinely attracted to the city as it stands (it warrants it's TIME OUT franchise) so can't see them taking themselves to a weekend break/shopping day out in Birchwood as an example. But I think MMC need to really demonstrate that the promises of a 'world class' transport system are not just fancy 'docs done up on a computer' and are in fact concrete proposals.

RobJune 9th 2008.

Great idea. All for the congestion charge, reduce number of cars in the city and get some money into public transport

DaveJune 9th 2008.

There's so much disinformation about what this is, it seems like a good deal to me. GMPTE really need to emphasise that it's ONLY at peak times Mon-Fri, and ONLY if you're going IN in the morning, or OUT in the early evening. Some cast-iron guarantees about future CC price increases (and price reductions on trams & buses) and operating times might help? Also the last time I looked, the commitment to investing in walking and cycling facilities looked a bit lukewarm for something supposed to be green. If these outer boroughs persist in being against, especially those gutless "green" lib dems in stockport, I hope the others can club together and still get the money to split between themselves to benefit their patch.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

For those of you who SUPPORT £3 billion of investment in public transport and reducing pollution and dependence on cars, I have set up a Facebook group, please go joinand show your support - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17193979785

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

Yes, the number of cars in london did drop, and has risen again - But not to previous levels. It's still lower now than before the charge came in

ollieJune 9th 2008.

kev p - read my earlier post also. what i am saying is why should i, a motorist be forced to pay to improve other peoples methods of transport. i've been taxed already to use my car through road tax and fuel duty. now i have to pay again because some people choose not to drive. £3billion will soon be squandered & wont pay for the upkeep of these "world class" transport systems.

AndyNorthStandJune 9th 2008.

I would imagine all the cockneys who have recently moved up to 'cosmopolitan' Manchester because they cant afford to live in the capital anymore will be well up for it, until they eventually step out of Harvey Nics - peer over their '£3 a cup' starbucks coffee's and realise up here we dont have an underground or anywhere near as much public transport as they have done in the capital over the last 100 years.....yes but all those five pounds will pay for more buses - bollocks.lets all jump on the canals hey !!!!!...meanwhile back in the real world.Amazing how the berks who rule us never ask us if we want any of this isnt it - I wonder why ?

missfleaJune 9th 2008.

The problem with public transport into Manchester, in my experience, is that it's crammed to the rafters with the great unwashed (usually drunk, to boot, at all hours of the day. Take them out of the equation and I'll gladly leave my wheels on the driveway.

SupporterJune 9th 2008.

I live in Didsbury and get the bus every day to work. I do have a car but only ever drive for work if i have meetings outside (Leeds, Liverpool etc). I am in full support of the charge. It will ease congestion and most likely promote businesses to offer more flexible working hours for those who need it. Fewer cars on the roads for those within the borders will mean safer cycle routes - another scheme which desperately needs funding to ensure children and workers can commute safely without the fear of getting run over. Buses will have to become more frequent and the trams will be extended. Isn't this what everyone wanted before the Tram scheme was stopped? Plus - wouldnt you rather sit outside in this wonderful weather without breathing in lungfulls of exhaust fumes?Seems like you cant win either way.You cant keep everyone happy all of the time.....

JoanJune 9th 2008.

Have a look at this link. http://www.gmfuturetransport.com/default.aspx Lots of useful information.

David WalmsleyJune 9th 2008.

Dave B - think yuorself lucky - we in Rossendale only have a steam train to Bury and that only runs on the weekends ! Cars are essential but Rossendale is now penalised.

Railway JohnJune 9th 2008.

Crikey. That's 3 rants in a row where I've let stream of conciousness overtake coherent writing...

SimonJune 9th 2008.

Andy - Any with half a brain CAN see it for what it is. You on the other hand clearly have less than half a brain cos you're talking complete rubbish and your rant bears no resemblance to the facts! Whilst you're sat at home in Bolton fuming why don't you have a read of the TIF bid and find out what is REALLY going on.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

The whole system has unfairness stamped all over it. Those of us who don't have a tram line running close by only have a choice of bus or car. So those of us who choose car because we don't have the tram as an option, and there are lots of people in that situation, get charged so that trams can run in other areas. We pay and others benefit. It's tantamount to a postcode tax.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Excellent suggestion re standarised pricing across all time frames Confidential, but I'm not sure about making it even easier for motorists to come and clog up the city centre by making parking cheaper...

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

As always with New Labour these proposals are wrapped up in hyperbole to deliberately mislead: Ruth Kelly,"world-class public transport system", however, AGMA says "significant improvements" both are subjective not objective and mean completely different things. Richard Leese "fewer than 20% of motorists will have to pay the charge"; if that is the case then what is the point? It will only change the behaviour of a small fraction of all the motorists. If the point is not to change behaviour then it is a stealth tax not a green tax. In any case, as we have seen with New Labour's General Election Manifesto commitment to a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, whatever they promise now there is no way to ensure that they deliver it in several years time. The deal will be subject to "promise-creep" where every time an official or minister opens their mouth the promise gets fudged, hedged or watered-down but the Congestion Charge will be made more onerous.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

Kev P says become an expert and make a valid contribution; presumably this means agree with him. He says that the congestion charge will stop cars polluting the streets of Manchester City Centre: firstly, the charge isn't about Manchester City Centre but the whole of Greater Manchester; secondly, it is highly unlikely to change the number of cars using Manchester City Centre. According to Richard Leese only 20% of motorists will pay the charge. Not all of those 20% will be affected by the charge such that they will stop driving into the City Centre. Because the charge only affects 20% and is a minimal cost to most drivers (not all) it is likely that the same numbers will be using the City Centre. The experience in London was that numbers of vehicles initially fell but has since risen back to previous levels. In London's case, the Congestion Charge affected a greater number of drivers and was more expensive, so if in the medium term it made little difference to traffic levels in London it will make little difference in Manchester. FYI I live in the City Centre, have a car and do about 5,000 miles a year and won't be affected by it; I am against it not out of self interest but it is a largely pointless, expensive con trick on the part of New Labour.

AndyNorthStandJune 9th 2008.

What an absolute farce.Another tax brought in to screw normal working people under the guise of 'having a better transport system and green issues'They must think we were all born yesterday.Its a load of crap - anyone with half a brain can see it for what it is - i simply wont bother to go into manchester from bolton where i live - stuff them, i'l ldrive up to preston - that wil luse even more petrol - so where is there f***kin carbon footprint then.Ever trip to watch united or city - every trip to the trafford centre - an extra £5 - disgusting.If the people of Manchester - famed for their ability to say "NO STUFF THIS" to many dictators over the years still had any balls about them - we would all take to the streets in protests and riots.This will cause serious problems for many businesses in town for many reasons.I hope Bolton shows some balls and votes NO for this (as most people would if they bothered to ask us) instead of pathetically caving in as i fear they will.We saw what the effect of leaving things to the brains and planning of councelors of Manchester had when they arranged that little street party for the Glasweigans 3 weeks ago. A roaring success that was - only an utter fool would not have seen that coming - and a nice touch to ban united from their street party as well - pure class.They will make just as big a balls up of this giant rip off - Someone organise a protest for christ sake -- dont stand for it - stand up and fight !!!

Paul JJune 9th 2008.

RADICAL thats what we need, some radical investment, sod it, lets get the 3 billion squids and give it back to all the greater manchester drivers as a rebate against the rip off costs of fuel, HOW MUCH is it now? well I work in the middle east, I have 6ltr GMC here and pay about 14p a ltr, in the UK I have a mountain bike - work that one out!

Mike HadfieldJune 9th 2008.

There needs to be a real price differential between differing modes of transport for this to be taken up;I've recently finished working in Copenhagen, which has a safe,clean and reliable bus and train system (its also has a v.high useage of bikes lanes.) The uptake on public transport is very high because of factors mentioned and the price differentail between cars/taxi's and trains/buses. The cost of a taxi is about 10/11 times that of taking the train/Bus.If the new system will deliver a cheaper alternative than getting a £40 taxi ride after a night out in Town to to Wilmslow then I would be more supportive.

RichardJune 9th 2008.

I own a business with an office in the city centre - I am just investigating re-locating outside the charging zone. If the charge comes in businesses will vote with their feet, the traffic will just move elsewhere and Manchester City Council will lose all those business rates. The Metrolink is already a terrible experience and extremely costly - this is a big con we will get the same crappy public transport and more taxes. Speak up now before it is too late!

Railway JohnJune 9th 2008.

I'm with Simon Turner: I'm going to go and support Snickers reverting to Marathon.What I object to is the way that we're supposed to beaten onto public transport while the charges for a profit-making company are high, and are in effect an extra tax.If there was a progressive system of encouragingly lower fares, as well as integrating all areas of the transport SERVICE ntwork.I agree that car use has to be curtailed - and I'm an car-user. One day, oil will run out and it'll be sooner rather than later when India and China all want the flexibility of personal transport.

GraceJune 9th 2008.

Stealth tax, green tax, give it any description you desire it still means that you will pay more to work! As a freelance self employed person, who sometimes has to make 3 meetings in and out of the city each day, and park, I can see myself having to absorb up to £25 per day for the privilege of working, often for the council (who do not pay expenses for such things). If, there was an adequate (not world class or even significantly improved), simply an adequate and FRIENDLY public transport system that could allow me to get from Whalley Range to Deansgate, to Ashton then back to RNCM then to Didsbury in the course of a days work then I would definitaley let any form of train, tram or rick shaw take the strain. Alas there is not, and never will be, and that is not being pessimistic, simply honest. MConf has some great suggestions; decent meter parking is one which needs serious consideration, I am tired of being ripped off by NCP to go to a meeting because there are not enought meters that are for longer than an hour. And finally in this rant, (thank you MC for allowing this) As a woman coming home alone at night I will not walk from obscure bus stops 20 mins away from my home to get mugged yet again (twice in the past 5 years). Manchester needs to wake up and serve the needs of ALL its residents; whilst the majority may work from 9 - 5 on a main bus route some of us don't, and on £19K a year we cannot afford to subsidise anyone.Let MCC put this issue to a referendum if they dare; unless of course that it is already a done deal and in 2015 we will be paying four times as much for the privilege of working and living in Manchester.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

Motorcyclists don't cause any congestion, just millions each year in NHS fees through driving like idiots!! Trams should run 24 hours, as should trains to the major areas. Safety also needs to be improved on the public transport. As a young woman living in the city centre, I am often too intimidated by the gangs of youths who congregate on the back of the buses and on trains. I have caught a train once in the past 3 months and was witness to a viscious assault on a boy with special needs. Public transport in Manchester simply isn't viewed in the same manner as it is in London, it needs cleaning up and sorting out. I cannot see Manchester's transport links being anywhere near the standard of London's in 5 years!!! Get David Cameron into power and he will get rid of this ridiculous new Labour idea, again making those who are better off suffer as usual. IDIOTS!

Milo WhizzbangJune 9th 2008.

Blatant Blackmail its that easy!!!

CampbellJune 9th 2008.

If this is reall Richard Leese on here then the article's right. You only have a cat in hell's chance of delivering this if you can make it clear who pays what and when to those in the consultation (and Bolton's voters). Good God it would be terrible if we let this amount of money slip through our hands.

EllieJune 9th 2008.

Hurray for the (limited) congestion charge and for improving public transport (finally). Lets hope these improvement extend as far as improving the capacity and quality of the rolling stock between Huddersfield and Manchester.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

What about the campaign to bring back Wispa's? That worked. Rock on Kev, more discussion space can only be a good thing.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

hay the buses trams and train networks are all privately owned the government signed them away so just who is going to benefit in the long run and don't forget the moneys promist will be comming from us the tax payers we will be paying for the shinny new buses trams and trains along with this stelth tax and any others they have in the pipe line

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

If the congestion charge is introduced I will have to find a new job nearer to home as I simply wont be able to afford to drive into work, pay for parking and then on top of this pay for the congestion charge. It is ok to say that they will improve the public transport system but it would currently take me over 1.5 hours to travel to work via public transport. I have no train station within walking distance which means I would need a car to drive to the station and then I would probably have to pay to park it. I would then have to pay my train fare which more than likely will be extortionate considering that a single fare to work is £2.70 a return will be more expensive adding that on to the car, petrol, parking and insurance for the car I have to retain to get me to the station so that I might just have a chance of getting to work in time after letting 2 trains go because they are too full then im well out of pocket. The bus journey into work is horrendous it takes well over an hour to get into the centre and I have a major walk to the bus stop. Most households are now at breakingpoint Mortgages are at their highest (inc. mine), food, gas, electric, petrol have all increased in price. Most people are living at the limit of what they can afford and are struggling to live a decent life even if they are on decent money. I feel that now we are being punished for wanting a decent life and job as the better paid jobs are in the city centre and not sitting on our backsides at home living off the government. The charge is just another tax making life difficult for the people who are just trying to make a decent living. The introduction of which will send already struggling families into bankruptcy, its ridiculous and the councils should vote against it regardless of the injection of money into public transport.

JoJoJune 9th 2008.

As well as uniforms why not have a rule that people have to READ before they RANT, or would that destroy the spirit of the process. Once more with feeling; you will only have to pay travelling IN during the morning rush hour and travelling OUT during the evening rush hour. AND there are only 24 hours in a day. So you can't pay both direction charges for one meeting and then pay again for the next meeting 'cos you won't yet have got out of the city in order to go back in! AND anyway there's a daily max. AND people living in the city centre won't have to pay to go to work unless they work overnight for 15 hours a day out of town, perhaps in one of those Satanic Mills that still pepper our landscape full of child labour and horses down mines. Move into the 21st century! Global warming, limited oil supplies, improvements in public transport STILL TO COME!

JCJune 9th 2008.

Well - the benefits to motorists who must use their cars will be improved journey times as a result of the congestion charge, this was certainly the experience of London motorists. But the best thing about this bid is the public transport improvements, a smart card system and improved orbital public transport services as well as those in and out of the city. Its the best thing that could happen to Manchester and its environs, let alone its environment (air quality).

Milo WhizzbangJune 9th 2008.

Take the cost of the whole affair out of the 'fiddles' that are a abound in the Houses of Parliament etc!!!At least then we can see were our moneys gone!!

KellyJune 9th 2008.

Personally, and this is completely selfish, I want all cars to be banned from the city centre, full stop. Anyone who's been out in the centre on a weekend or bank holiday (or any day, actually) knows the heaving crowds that are constantly trying to cross roads, cars driving too fast down narrow alleys, cars not indicating because they're looking up at the Wheel, etc, all of which makes it hazardous for us pedestrians. I live near the centre and do not own a car, so yes I am lucky in my situation to be able to walk to work - my proposal is to situate some vast car parks around the city, where people can drive into and leave their cars, with free (or cheap) shuttle buses running to the centre every ten minutes, and making more pedestrian-friendly zones. It's a matter of safety, people!

ClareJune 9th 2008.

David in Rossendale, thank you for that chuckle, yes I too only have that steam train! There is a fantastic x44 and 90 that go to Manchester if you don't mind the 15 min walk from Ramsbottom to the bus stop, trouble is they are a very limited service which does not allow me to use due to my shift 0930-1800. If any of this £3bn extends to the provision of a more frequent and commuter/ social friendly service I would certainly ditch the car!!!

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Grace - You only have to pay it during peak times, so unless all of your meetings in the city centre are between 7.30am and 9.30am or 4pm and 6.30pm and you drive back home after each one, you'll only be paying it once...

simonJune 9th 2008.

As some one who will be living within the outer ring (M60) when I drive out passed the outer ring will I have to pay to go back home ? I have asked this question to a number of people but no one has the answer. I do hope Bolton join the other sensible councils and kick this daft idea into touch.

ResidentJune 9th 2008.

Why are all the Park and Rides already within the congestion zone so users have to pay to get to them - what's the point?

Richard LeeseJune 9th 2008.

James in Castlefield doesn't need to worry. There is no charge for simply having a car in the city centre.You can even drive it with no charge. Have a look at GMPTE website to find out what really is being proposed

J R HartleyJune 9th 2008.

Look at the big picture - will anyone really take Manchester seriously as a city in 10 or 15 years without a modern and workable public transport system? It has to happen and this may be the start, although people seem to hate how it's being done. I can see that opposition to the TIF comes not through selfishness, or unwillingness to pay any more than we are used to to use cars, but from a developing mistrust of the profit orientated system that rips people off consistently and without control in just about every aspect of life in this country. It makes success of any initiative that aims to improve public life very difficult. Any progressive European city has already invested in clean and efficient public transport. Trains, buses and trams are sometimes even subsidised, but clearly because of the percieved wider benefits of having a city that is pleasant to be in and walk around. Manchester may be strangled by the system but I think that a lot of people at MCC/GMPTE must believe in doing what's right for the city or why are they there? This scheme is a start and this congestion charge is just the way we do things. Hey, its Britain.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

There is nothing wrong with trying to build a strong showing of support.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

There will be lots of benefits to people like you and me ktfairy - Namely that there will be less cars dirtying the air and clogging up our city centre!!

DarrenJune 9th 2008.

alternatively if you couldnt hack daytime tv every day of the week a simple piece of cardboard over the number plate seems to do the trick, especially with motorbike couriers in London proudly displaying their love for the london Mayor over their plate!

BigfishJune 9th 2008.

Kev P - I'm 100% behind the congestion charge. But for God's sake, why do you have to keep posting the Facebook link!??

TramtasticJune 9th 2008.

So if I need to be picked up from St Peters square when the trams have yet again failed to materialise or have broken down mid track and it's rush hour ... I get to pay £5.20 for the tram and £5 for the priviledge of getting home anyway ... how lovely! Also, will anyone reimburse those of us who use public transport anyway, when the inevitable all summer long closure of certain lines happens for upgrades and we have to drive in to get to work so we can pay our exorbitant council tax? England is becoming a one way money spending void with no visible benefit to the contributors. Anyone know how much they are paying the "analysts" and "consultants" to come up with these great unworkable plans???? Please local councils, do what you are elected to do and represent the majority!

BigfishJune 9th 2008.

My point exactly!And I've just spat tea over my desk when I read that!

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

Anonymous - David Cameron as defender of the poor? *scoff* Railway John - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17193979785

Drew PeacockJune 9th 2008.

Too right about the peak and off peak rates on the trains...what's all that about?...Years ago it was the other way around, cheaper rates at peak times to encourage people to take public transport."Workmans ticket" or something like that they called it.And get them to run an hour later...ever tried to go to a gig at the Academy or MEN and get back across town to Piccadilly for the 2323 train home?...If you miss it and live in Romiley..be prepared for a 30 quid taxi ride home!!And make them run every 2 hours or so at weekends, charge extra if you must, put more night buses on too!And have a ticket covering all modes of transport!...And have one bloomin company running the buses and trains...and paint em all bright orange or yellow, and make the taxi drivers wear a uniform,(although not orange or yellow!!) and make private hire cars have all the same colour too, and the drivers wear a uniform!We want to be a world class city, take a look around and learn from other cities and pick the best from each!And let me have the job of transport Tsar!!..I'd sort it.

SIMONJune 9th 2008.

Heres an idea to get traffic moving,1) lets widen the roads again so that not every road is single file.2) lets get rid of Bus Lanes some are so short as to be a total joke.3) and this is a really big one lets actually synchronise the traffic lights so the ones you are going to do not turn red just as the ones you are stopped at go green. Has no-one realised that increases congestion.Just three very simple ideas that might just make things simpler. But hang on that was how things were before we got this congestion now I wonder if the council has cynically created congestion just to charge us all more.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

I live in Chadderton and play golf at Blackley Golf Club. The only entrance is via Victoria Avenue, which is just inside the M60 at that point. Will I be expected to pay congestion charge just to get to my club if I go between 7 and 9:30 or leave at the wrong time in the afternoon?

zapatistaJune 9th 2008.

Lee, Drew, Confidential, you are forgetting that while it might be called 'public' transport it is run by private companies. Stagecoach is unlikely volunteer to take a cut in its profits by cutting peak time fares on the trams. Same with NCP. The most frustrating thing about any new transport funding is that it will almost invariably mean that public money is used to help private companies rip us off even more. If you really think this situation is unfair you should lobby your MP in favour of re-nationalisation. Good luck.

Kev PJune 9th 2008.

You've hit the problem exactly oilman - people act before they think and simply don't understand the issues. MAKE yourself an expert - read the bid, understand it fully and THEN make a valid contribution rather than ranting on about Average Joe having to fork out a gazillion pounds a week just to drive his disabled grandmother in his white van to the doctors!!

railwaJune 9th 2008.

Me too. My rantings are becoming less coherent. And I don't think our political leaders will take any notice...

ollieJune 9th 2008.

so were borrowing 1.5 billion pounds from the government that we gave them in the first place in tax. we then have to pay this back over 30 years. the money we are borrowing is then going to private, profit making transport companies to improve their rolling stock that we then have to probably pay more to use when it has been improved. why are we borrwing money? what the hell do we pay tax for if it isnt spent on improving public services? i read the other day that one of the train companies made over a billion pounds profit last year. why are they not forced to plough that back in on improvements. i feel like we have had the wool pulled firmly over our eyes and our trousers firmly down.

ollieJune 9th 2008.

public transport in all forms is cramped, dirty, unreliable, unsafe, slow and expensive. the platforms, shelters, stations and stops are pretty much in the same state. Even if they are all improved at the expense of the motorist who will not even be using these facilities the condition of them will soon deteriorate without the expensive & constant up keep of them. What is needed is a change in the attitude of the british soceity. How often do you see a bus shelter / train platform, stinking of urine, covered in graffiti, covered in discarded gum, vomit in the corner, cig butts everywhere, smashed windows, smashed lighting and vandalized timetable information. That is not somewhere i would like be and certainly not somewhere i would be happy for my girlfriend to be sat on a cold dark winter evening waiting for a train. That is why i will be protesting the con charge all the way (con being the main word). At least in my car myself and my partner will be warm & safe and be able to get where we want, when we want.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

I too gave up taking the bus as its unreliable and expensive. Parking is too much per week so took the green choice and now walk to work every day. I live in whalley range and think it won't effect me too much but what about my dad who has been hit by 10p tax and has to drive his wife to work across the inner route. Is there going to be reductions for people who have little or no income that have to drive? I have severe reservations about the council being able to pull this off. I agree that the charge will be enforced and no real improvements made as there will be delays, costs will rise and suddenly the money will have run out and they won't be able to extend the trams. And aren't these the same trams that have been deemed unsafe very recently!

Railway JohnJune 9th 2008.

If the congestion charge was to actually prevent congestion, then they ought to be taking the real step of banning - and taxing off the road - all cars. There is no carrot here: it's all stick. We'll have to wait for public transport fares to eventually come down, rather than being encouraged onto public transport with lower fares.This is why it's a tax on the poorer amongst us.Who voted thsi lot in last time?

Mike WaterfootJune 9th 2008.

All well and good extending the tram system, but those folks who live on the Rochdale to Manchester Rail line will probably have to travel by car as the rail line is going to be closed for 2 years. Also, when the metro does reach Rochdale it's going to take an exta 30 minutes to get to and from town as it will meander all over the place. I have been told by railway workers that a lot of the tracks will be single file to enable the trams to negotiate the bridges. Why on earth money can't be spend on up grading whatg is already there and using the trains which carry more people anyway. Can anyone imagine what the late night metros will be like on these new marathon journeys? No toilets on them! Ugh what a thought

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

As always the headlines don't give the truth. Of the £3bn, £1.2bn is a loan to be repaid from the congestion charge we have to pay - so not a £3bn gift. The £5 is at 2007 prices - so will be £6 by 2013. The new tram lines to be built are "UP TO 35 kms" (about 22 miles but it sounds more in kms). Commuters in cars will suffer - having to earn another £2k pre tax income each year. Those on public transport are likely to suffer more overcrowding. Businesses will suffer - have to find more money to pay their staff an extra £2k or face losing them to jobs elsewhere. And the city suffers as businesses move as many jobs out of the centre as they can to reduce costs - so retail and leisure drops as fewer people are working in the centre and spending money during the day and after work, business rates fall - and to cover the shortfall I wonder if they might raise a little more tax from the congestion charge? A vicious spiral. And the likelihood of achieving all the promised transport improvements in just 5 years?? Seems like the politicians know exactly what they are doing again.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

Let's get real here, despite Confidential's highly biased pro-TIF artice, this is another New Labour tax. I understand the need to recoup the money being spent on the public transport however the ridiculous and ever increasing fuel duty could surely be put to some use throughout Manchester and indeed the country improving our appalling public transport system. From my home I have a 10 minute drive to the nearest train station (which would have me crossing the outer ring) or a 25 minute drive to the nearest Metrolink station (which would mean crossing both rings!). If I get the bus there are only 2 direct services an hour into Manchester beginning at 7.30am with the last train leaving Manchester at 6.30pm. With public services like this it's easy to see why I drive and why I don't believe in the system, and the new proposals don't even cover where I live despite the fact i'll be charged to even reach the public transport services. It's about time councils listened to their voters, we already pay extortionate amounts for fuel and city centre parking and congestion is only a fraction of that which affects London. If this was truely a Green idea, introduce car sharing benefits such as lanes for cars with 2 or more passengers. 2013 is still a long way off and I just hope that a general election sees the end of the increasing tax burden on a country which sees no benefits to it's citizens, including this non-objective charge. But hey, we have the dirtiest hospitals, the highest youth crime rates and the highest child poverty rates throughout Europe, why fix that when we can further penalise drivers!

BigfishJune 9th 2008.

I appreciate that, however after joining the Facebook group, I am now tempted to leave after receiving two private messages begging me to send everyone I know invites. As I said, I agree with the charge, but I am not going preaching to all my friends to sign up and support it. What will them signing up actually achieve??People are for it, people are against it. Get over it and stop trying to convert everybody. It’ll fall on deaf ears!

James in CastlefieldJune 9th 2008.

As a resident of the City Centre, does anybody know if I'll have to pay just for having car in the City Centre... even though I haven't crossed the boundary?

Railway JohnJune 9th 2008.

It's nice to see people read my comments. Pity time wasn't taken to READ them.I believe that car use ought to be reduced. However, I don't think that any one should be taxed into having to use other forms of transport. What is needed is a progressive form of tax and spend as well as a return to transport as a service and not for profit-making. I'm not an expert but it really is simple. Both Kev P and Oilman have an opnion but it seems that we really ought to trust that supposedly know best. The analogy with a doctor is fatuous. Politicians are hardly experts in everything but we have to listen to them, nd suffer the consequences of their often mis-placed zeal and beliefs.

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

How about being taxed for the fumes you inflict on cyclists and pedestrians? Smokers have been subject to ostracisation and extra tax for years, it's about time motorists paid the same dues.

Trevor McDonaldJune 9th 2008.

I love the tram journey from st peters square to salford quays every morning. Its so over crowded I get to rub up against all the young ladys and then rub myself too. Its esepecially lovely when Im wearing my speedos under my trousers always gets me rampant x see you on the tram 8.40am ladys x x

AnonymousJune 9th 2008.

A return train ticket will actually probably be cheaper than a single.. :-)

don kidickJune 9th 2008.

Peacocks right, we need to have a uniform for all drivers, you go to mcd's, Tesco, Sainbury, you know what the expectation is from a service and image perspective, we should be applying this to our dealings with taxis for sure.We should also look to the cyclescheme.co.uk as a suggestion, I;m taking this up with my employer, a tax free bike not only gives savings from a tax, petrol and potential congestion charge perspective, but it also means that I save the NHS money by not dying (hopefully not getting run over) and we also reduce carbon emissions - sometihng everyones banging on about - not sure about sulphur emissions driving between all them buses.If there is a real investment, a standard uniform and taxi colour would be a great start - I've had some right stinky fallling apart private hires with doors that I've held shut, what a bonus that would be to know that the cab and driver are presentable - you'd feel more comfortable and likely to tip than with some tramp whose fast balck picks you up from the airport, seeing his arse as you only liver orund the corner and its his last job and he hasnt made much money cs he's a miserable tw@t and rude, like the last one I got - I'm looking more at this congestion charging, the idea of reduced parking costs, longer stay durations at street side parking and the removal of the peak service rates as a great idea; My company charge a premium for work out of hours, not during the day at our peak, thats not accepted by business so why shoudl transport co's get away with it, especially the mega bucks trains, which have improved greatly over the last few years admittedly. Anyhoo, flat fare all day and clean service would make it far more attractive and acceptable.lots of love, Big Don in Northenden

PaulJune 9th 2008.

Why don’t the government shove there arm up my arse and pull my heart out to save me the trouble of living

Peeved !June 9th 2008.

I live just off the M60 motorway, about 300yrds from the juntion ( my house backs onto the motorway ) Will i have to pay if i come off the motorway to go home at these times but no further into Manchester ?

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