Public to decide Manchester C-charge future
BBC NEWS | England | Manchester | Public to decide C-charge future – I received the public consultation documents regarding this a couple of weeks ago and, rather than dismiss them out of hand, I actually sat down and carefully read through them with an open mind, suspecting that one day I might be asked to vote on the issue. The pack had a comments form, which invited residents to anonymously submit their opinions on the proposals.
The proposals themselves are actually very reasonable. The planned improvements in public transport are widespread and comprehensive and I can see that they would be very effective. In an ideal world it would be difficult to argue against raising the money to pay for them from a congestion charge, especially since the proposed congestion charges are extremely reasonable, both in their cost and their application, when compared to the ludicrous and punitive charges levied against those who dare to have business in the centre of London on a weekday. It is, however, not an ideal world.
Unfortunately for the proponents of the proposed charging scheme and those who have planned how to spend its potential financial yield, we live in a country whose government has deliberately and consistently raped and pillaged both the car driving and public transport using public for over eleven years now. Every year the cost of both forms of transport has increased well beyond the rate of inflation and service and performance in both regards has consistently and dramatically decreased. The traveling public is constantly promised improvements in return for price increases and such improvements are rarely, if ever, delivered.
It is regretful, therefore, that no matter how good the proposals for improving public transport in Manchester are, I simply cannot advocate or support the introduction of a congestion charge to pay for them. I need to see the rewards for this scheme first, because too many times I feel I have been stiffed by being made to pay for promised improvements up front and then being let down. I’m quite willing to pay for improvements to public transport, but this time I need to see the goods before I’m going to get my wallet out. I insist on paying in arrears, this time, not in advance, because whenever I pay in advance the government just takes my money and runs, shouting vague promises and throwing hastily written IOUs over its shoulder as it trousers my cash. Enough is enough.