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Monday, December 23, 2002
Would you believe it?

If you were to read an item such as the following in the British press, you'd think your imagination was playing tricks on you:
Britain’s top motoring organisation, the RAC, has supported the introduction of a charge on cars entering inner London during peak periods.

In a bid to reduce traffic gridlock, people driving in designated areas during peak hours would have their cars photographed or registered electronically and would be billed later.
Well, there was a very similar article in a Melbourne newspaper. Here's the link to it. If you don't want to bother with that, please accept my assurance that, with 'Australia' replacing 'Britain', 'RAC Victoria' substituted for 'RAC', and 'Melbourne' replacing 'London', you have the opening of the leading article on the front page of Melbourne's The Age, a week ago.

Ken Livingstone, you need such motoring organisations in the UK.

Just so that you know, Melbourne already has a toll system on its urban motorways but there are no toll-booths. Locals have charged electronic boxes in their cars that are decremented by passing beneath overhead sensors. Visitors and occasional users can either buy day passes, entitling them to use the different urban motorways (freeways) for a day. Alternatively, one can use a toll stretch and ring the charge line within 24 hours and give them your credit card number. I took this last option a year ago and I think that the charge was so low that the system would have lost out because of my journey. I suspect that the Visa charge to Melbourne would have exceeded the amount I was charged. But, like everything else in Australia, the system works.

Sydney has a hybrid system, like Melbourne’s but including cash toll booths so that one has a lot of choice.

I wonder if the RACV’s attitude is dictated by knowing about the problems with public transport…(see relevant posting to follow).

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