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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-21-2005, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Jan 2005
Vehicle: 1992 W126 300 SE
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RE: Parking Violation

Ah it's not just the motorists who are being victimised-so that's alright then!


June 21, 2005

Rail commuters face congestion charging
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

PASSENGERS on the busiest trains will be subject to congestion charging under plans by rail companies to prevent overcrowding from reaching dangerous levels.
The Association of Train Operating Companies unveils plans today for “rail peak pricing�, which will result in passengers on the most popular services paying a premium, The Times can reveal.

Commuters in the South East would be worst hit, with many forced to pay hundreds of pounds extra for their season tickets if they want to continue catching their existing morning and evening services. Electronic smart cards would allow train companies to charge different prices for each train, rather than the current system of charging one rate for the entire peak and a single discounted rate outside the peak.

Peak pricing would come on top of the general above inflation increase in fares that the Government plans to impose to reduce the £6.5 billion annual subsidy for the railways.

The association said that the pricing system would be needed to cope with the introduction of road tolls, which could overwhelm trains by encouraging thousands of car drivers to switch to rail. “Any rail service which is a practicable alternative for people using the car on a high-charge road journey will need its own peak pricing system,� it said. “In the extreme, prices in the peak may need to be train specific.�

Nationwide road tolls are a decade away but the association believes that appropriate pricing incentives are needed immediately because overcrowding is already severe on many routes.

It admitted that the system would be complex for passengers because commuters would have to study the different rates for each service.

The Rail Passengers Council condemned the plan, saying that many passengers had no choice but to catch certain trains. “We are opposed to pri-cing people off trains,� a spokeswoman said. “The way to attract passengers to less-crowded trains is to offer better off-peak discounts rather then target a captive audience.

“We also need to see major investment in new capacity, including removing bottlenecks and building new lines.�

The association agreed that new capacity was needed and said that it could be paid for with the revenue from peak pricing, but simply building more track and adding carria-ges would be insufficient to cope with increase in demand. Passenger numbers have risen by 40 per cent in the past nine years to 1.05 billion last year, the greatest since 1959.

The network is also far more intensively used now than in 1959, when there were almost twice as many miles of track. The greatest growth has been on London commuter lines, up 53 per cent up since 1996.

The association, in its ten-year strategy for the railways published today, also reveals that London rail commuters are travelling on average three miles farther to work because they have moved out in search of cheap housing. It predicts that demand will grow by at least another 28 per cent over the next ten years. It admits that this could be a gross underestimate because it assumes that demand will decline from the present rate of 4 per cent per year to 2.5 per cent.

Transport for London has forecast that the population of London will grow by 10 per cent by 2016, from 7.4 million to 8.1 million. If the existing long-term rail travel growth rate of 3.5 per cent a year continued over the next decade, it would increase by 41 per cent.

Some companies are already experimenting with different rates for travelling in the morning peak. One, the company that operates the Great Anglia franchise, offers passengers travelling into London Liverpool Street a 15 per cent “early bird� discount on their season ticket if they avoid arriving between 7.15am and 9.15am.


Likely candidates for peak pricing:

Liverpool Street to Chelmsford
St Albans to King’s Cross
Elephant and Castle to Blackfriars
East Croydon and Tulse Hill to Blackfriars/London Bridge
Twyford and Maidenhead to Paddington
Sevenoaks to Charing Cross/Cannon

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