Limiting Congestion in London

One thing that was fairly entertaining in London is that commuters, or anyone with a car hoping to get into Zone 1 of the city (the primary hot spots in London) has to pay what is called a Congestion Charge to enter. The congestion charge, at present, is about £10 which equates to $16 USD (you can get a reduced rate of £9 if you pay in advance, up to 90 days.)

London Congestion Charge Map

This may not seem like that big of a deal, and does theoretically make sense to limit the level of traffic in the city. The problem, of course, is that $16 a day is a LOT of money, not to mention if you have to then pay parking charges on top, and there is still a tremendous amount of street traffic throughout the city. And with a city that has such a great underground transport system, literally a new train shows up on every line every 3 minutes, it seems silly to waste money on having the ability to keep your Maserati or Aston Marton with you downtown, (yes, there were plenty of these lining the streets.)

New York has been talking about their very own congestion tax since about 2006, (perhaps after seeing how successful it was in London beginning in 2003,) but it has not yet been passed. According to an article in the Huffington Post, opponents of the tax, “decried the legislation as a tax on the poor and middle class, one that would turn Manhattan into a golden ghetto.” which, depending on zoning in the city, would definitely be true. Metro North already costs about $20 roundtrip to get from Westchester to Manhattan, so the prices wouldn’t be much different. The cheapest way in is by driving and finding a rare, but beautiful street parking spot. Even if it takes you an hour of circling a 2 block radius, it still saves you paying the city $20 to “improve public transportation”.

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