Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bastards!

To cross from Essex into Kent (and vice versa) on the M25 you have to pay a toll, it's currently £1:50 for cars, but free between 10pm and 6 am. There actually shouldn't even be a toll, because back in 2003 the crossing was paid for, but the toll was kept on by the DfT as a congestion charge and the additional monies were supposed to be used for road improvements in Kent and Essex.
Of course the government, both local and national see motorists as a cash cow, so I'm not surprised at this, but I am damned angry.

BBC.
Toll charges are set to be increased for the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex, it was announced in the government Spending Review.
Under the plans, the charges could rise from £1.50 to £2 next year for cars, before rising to £2.50 in 2012.
The Department of Transport (DfT) said the money would be used to explore ways of improving traffic flow.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said motorists would be "very nervous".
Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled a package of spending cuts in the Commons aimed at tackling the country's deficit.
The Dartford Tunnel and Queen Elizabeth II bridge cross the River Thames between Dartford and Thurrock.
The crossing forms a link in the M25 motorway, carrying about 150,000 vehicles a day.
The DfT said the increased toll charges would be subject to consultation.
It said the decisions were "difficult but necessary" to maintain investment in transport infrastructure projects.
Mr Glaister said: "The 150,000 drivers using the Dartford Crossing each day will be very nervous about the planned hike in the toll, though moves to improve traffic flow might soften the blow slightly."
The toll was due to end in 2003, but was kept on by the DfT as a congestion charge.
The DfT said an independent report in 2001 showed that without charges, traffic would increase by 17.1%.
In November 2008, motorists protested when the charge was increased from £1 to £1.50 for cars.
There is no charge to use the Dartford Tunnel and QEII bridge between 2200 BST and 0600 BST.
 I am truly sick and tired of successive governments picking my pocket to pay for the economy, I'm a fairly easy target as I drive a car and need it to get into work. I've looked at alternative means, but they just don't work too well for 12 hour shifts and early starts. No, I don't use the crossing for work, but raising charges still rankles quite a bit as I do occasionally cross the river to go to Essex to visit relatives.
Why can't politicians just keep to their word? The charge was supposed to end when the new bridge got paid for and they kept it going, not as a congestion charge (though that's what they claimed) but as a source of government revenue and politicians are obsessed with having cash to pay for their follies as well as the necessary parts of government. Also I believe a lot of the congestion is caused by the toll booths themselves, remove them and I'd expect more traffic, but I'd also expect traffic flow to improve too, not that I'd expect the government to even admit this possibility, they're too concerned with getting their hands on motorists cash.
It's like road tax, the vast majority taken in by the government doesn't go on roads, same I suspect with the toll charges on the crossing, it's just another form of income to the state going into one big pot. Yes I know the economy is in a mess, yes I know the state has to find some way to pay for Labours mishandling. But I am just sick and tired of being hammered by the government because they see me as an easy target. All it will do is make motorists start using alternatives such as the Blackwall tunnel which is free but congested most of the day anyway.
Problem is of course, even if the economy gets back on track, will we see a price reduction?
Yeah, right, they'll just find something else to spend the excess on.

9 annotations:

The witch from Essex said...

'The Department of Transport (DfT) said the money would be used to explore ways of improving traffic flow.'

The answer is simple. Take away the toll booths and the traffic will flow !!

D-Rex said...

QM

As if we don't pay enough in road tax every year. Trouble is they lied about that too. Last I heard only about £5 of the money we pay for a tax disc gets spent on roads. I think they spend the rest on crack and prostitutes.

Bert

JuliaM said...

"Why can't politicians just keep to their word?"

If they could do that, they wouldn't be politicians...

tris said...

One of the first things that Alex Salmond did was to get rid of bridge tolls on Government owned bridges.

Vote SNP!

Quiet_Man said...

They've never stood in Kent Tris :-D, but it would be nice to have a party here who would promise to abolish the tolls

English Pensioner said...

I suppose that I'm lucky in that I live near the M25 diametrically opposite to the Dartford crossing and can't see that I'll ever have to use it. But of course there is the noise from Heathrow! Which is worse?

James Higham said...

QM, may I humbly suggest - different route and bicycle.

Quiet_Man said...

The shortest distance to my place of work is still 15 miles, this would take I estimate an hour. This would be on top of a 12 hour shift taking up 14 hours (at least) of my day.
Whilst it is possible, I'm disinclined to do it as I consider a day where all I do is eat sleep and work with no quality time to be less than optimal for myself and my family.

Longrider said...

A congestion charge, as in "we'll create congestion and charge you for it".