Today the papers are covering the publication of the 6th Congestion Charge Monitoring Report by TfL on Wednesday, see here. Or rather not in many cases. Nothing in the Standard and only a perfunctory piece in the Telegraph.
The Guardian says:
London’s roads, it emerged yesterday, are just as snarled up as they were before the congestion charge was introduced five years ago. So was it a costly mistake? Quite the opposite. The charge netted £137m last year and has cut the number of cars entering the central zone each day by 70,000. Unfortunately, road diggers and construction mean those who do drive in spend too much time in jams.
The Guardian is quick to crow about the £137 million surplus the Congestion Charge apparently makes. Typically TfL figures do not include indirect overheads – when TfL’s accounts get past the Audit Commission this number will be down below £100 million.
The Guardian is also not quick to point out that £73 million of this income is from fines. It’s a pretty rubbish system that takes over £250 million off Londoners and puts back less than £100 million most of which is fines income.
Even that money is not free and clear. This infrastructure cost about £320 million to set up. Over the five years or so of operation of this system it has taken about £1.2 billion off Londoners and spent just about every penny on … the system. It has generated very little net cash.
The Congestion Charge had failed on every level.