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Road charging would force one in five to quit car

But traffic initiative is still unpopular


Cars in a traffic jam

More than 20 per cent of drivers would leave their cars at home and take public transport if road-charging schemes became more common, a poll out today showed.

But only 17 per cent of the 1,461 adults surveyed said they would support additional road-charging initiatives.

The level of support fell to just 14 per cent in east and south-west England and in Wales, the survey from transport solutions company Trueform found.

In London, where congestion charging has been operating since 2003, the level of support for a nationwide roll-out of charging was as high as 30 per cent.

Road charging

Trueform Technical Director Jonathan Morley said: ‘Further road charging in the UK is clearly controversial, as the people who signed the Downing Street online petition against the introduction of more of these schemes have demonstrated.

‘However, our research demonstrates that more than a fifth of drivers admit they would consider leaving their cars at home and taking public transport if congestion charging were introduced across the UK.

He continued: ‘Huge investment has been made in recent years in rail, bus and other public transport systems and this means that most UK citizens now have a viable alternative to the car.

‘It would appear from our research that, while unpopular, national congestion charging schemes could be effective in reducing traffic levels.’

Mileage charge

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) said a report in The Times today that motorists will be offered incentives to take part in road-pricing trials was ‘pure speculation’.

The newspaper said DfT officials were studying a trial in Oregon in the US in which drivers who agree to pay a mileage charge have duty deducted from fuel bills.

A DfT spokeswoman said today: ‘The first step towards any form of road pricing will be the trials that will be taking place. It’s up to local authorities involved in the trials to decide how they want to conduct them.’

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