Monday, June 09, 2008

Greening Manchester: £2 + £1 + £1 + £1 = £5

The Times has one of the clearer expositions of the proposed Transport Improvements for Manchester detailing the £2 plus £1 plus £1 plus £1 make up of the worst case £5 a day.

However it does fail to mention that the time bands for these levies are pretty short and sweet and can easily be avoided by re-timing journeys.

Where I live in Chorlton M21 is:

(a) About a mile inside the probably minimum outer ring and about 1.5 miles outside the probable inner ring;
(b) Would be subject to a £1 in and £1 out charge if I travel to the city centre by car during peak hours not to mention parking, fuel and running costs, and the occasional ticket (only one this election season, hurrah!);
(c) Already served by a reasonable bus service and due to get a tram link, with the existing link not that far away with trains at seven-minute intervals to Altrincham and Bury and Heaton Park and Salford Quays;
(d) Handy for the community schools my kids walk to;
(e) Subject to some traffic congestion at peak hours which might be dissipated;

Most papers mention the horror-bag and serial cock-up Tory woman Cllr Susan Williams and her upcoming battle with Transport Minister Ruth Kelly MP for the Bolton West seat. And the intention of the Swift Boaters from the Trafford Centre/Peel Holdings/MART to take Kelly out over supporting Transport Innovations for Greater Manchester.

The Bury West constituency straddles the M61 a good few miles outside the greened zone. It has some pretty good heavy rail links from Westhoughton and Horwich and Express "Pendle Witch" Buses and others I think. I'll stand by for correction! It is a fairly car reliant area, not densely populated, but it is hard to see how significant numbers of constituents would be that het up about these proposed schemes.

The Press Association report in the Guardian print edition is just plain wrong. The usual generic £5 mistake:

Transport minister Rosie Winterton is expected to announce government backing for a traffic improvement bid put forward by 10 Greater Manchester councils, including a charging scheme requiring drivers to pay up to £5 to enter the city centre at busy times.

I will be charged a maximum of £1 to enter the city centre and can avoid this and the exit fee of £1 too. It is only by entering from outside the outer ring and also going inside the inner ring (which surrounds approximately one square mile) and at particular times of day that I can rack up £5 a day. This is for entering and exiting not just entering.

This is a very simple thing. Yet the great brains of the media seem to find it incredibly easy to get it wrong. And the Vote Blue Go Green motif on which Cam's Shams fought an election about five weeks ago is blowing to the four winds.

Following some training up in post and comments the Manchester Evening News' David Ottewell has changed the formulation from "up to £5 a day" to "up to a maximum of £5 a day" which may seem a small thing, but progress nonetheless. Well done son.

CAPTION: David Cameron with the only new lines he understands. My oh my, last time we used this scurrilous illiberalism on hard cokey Tory drugs image things were very different.


jailhouselawyer said...

Like the Cameron ad. Not to be sniffed at...

Sean Corker said...

I'm interested in your definition of 'greening the city' - care to justify?

Chris Paul said...

Less cars on the roads = greening; less polluting cars (to be exempt) = greening; less traffic jams = greening; more peds, cycles, passenger transport journeys = greening; less tail backs and parked cars round the Trafford Centre = greening.

(Ouch that last one's a bit provocative, sorry)

Sean Corker said...

Improved engine technology and the fact that all car companies will offer a hybrid within two years is greening.

Using a car rather then a bus with less then 18 passengers on is greening.

Removing the deliberate congestion causing road obstacles allowed to flourish in the last 10 years is greening,

Questioning why the two most polluted spots in the country are INSIDE the london congestion zone and Piccadilly BUS station is greening.

Challenging the bus companies to fit a £5000 filter to their buses which would remove appox 85% of Pm10's, instead of moronically chanting 'car bad bus good' and giving the likes of Stagecoach an easy ride is greening.

The current definition of green is far too close to the 70's version of red for comfort. By espousing such ideologically biased views you are doing far more damage to the environmental movement then you are saving the environment

The advantage of liking cars is that I get to see the massive improvements in car technology in the pipeline through my weekly dose of Auto Express. You should try it some time Chris, call it research in the name of getting your facts right