21 February, 2007

Road pricing...

....is not a stealth tax. So says claims an email sent to 1.8 million signatories of a petition opposing the introduction of road pricing.

For one thing there are stealthier ways to tax.

Road pricing is about reducing the congestion that affects our quality of life, raises business costs (that are passed on to us) and harms the environment.

It's clear building more roads hasn't been a solution. Yes, better public transportation should be part of the mix. But will you give up your car if your bus is as likely to be stuck in traffic and it's not free? Do you expect public transport to be free of charge like the roads? There should be a fee for both. And the fee for using the roads should vary with congestion.

14 comments:

trailingspouse said...

No, I don't expect public transport to be free, but I do expect it to be cheaper and more convenient than using a car. In my home town of Toronto I always use public transit (bus, then subway) to get downtown because a) it is cheaper than paying for parking downtown and b) it is quicker than driving, because most of the journey is via subway and both buses and subways run frequently and on time.

Roads do need to be paid for one way or another, and if Dubai wants to adopt the user-pay model I don't have a problem with it, so long as there are viable alternatives. However, as July and the adoption of the road toll looms ever closer, I'm still waiting to see one. My criticism of the toll is only with the timing of its implementation.

clayfuture said...

The public transportation here will never be as good and convenient like in europe.

bizzwhizz said...

this is stealth taxing my friend because our other options dont exist yet or are not as good. Yes after the arrival of monorail it might make sense but not yet

Stained said...

toll should have been put into use when the metro had started...it does not make sense to have toll when the only other mode of transportaion is the bus that takes a lot of time to get to an destination...It takes sooo long that If I walk I would reach faster[I've done this]...
I'm not completely not against the toll idea...I dont expect roads to be free but the timing & the roads chosen for this system makes no sense to me....

John B. Chilton said...

I understand the issue with lack of alternative modes of transport. I still see alternatives.

1. carpooling (keep reading!)
2. switching to driving off peak (keep reading!) if your work schedule allows it
3. using alternative routes (keep reading!)

There are obstacles/pitfalls to all three.

1. There are regulations against money changing hands for carpooling. These need to be relaxed.

2. The proposed design of the SKR toll would have the same fee regardless of time of day. That does not encourage off peak travel.

3. Travel on alternative routes is not being priced. Congestion there could be awful. That's a foreseeable consequence and authorities need to think through now how they will respond.

Stained said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stained said...

imagine people using maktoum instead of garhoud....that would be murderous....

B.D. said...

The public transportation here will never be as good and convenient like in europe.

And this statement is based on ?? Perhaps looking into a crystal ball? While such systems take years, even decades to evolve and be built, Dubai's extensive metro system is already on the way. 2009, 10 or 11 hardly seem like never to me.

J.C. I don't get the initials SKR. Shouldn't it be SZR for Sheikh Zayed Road?

Anonymous said...

"But will you give up your car if your bus is as likely to be stuck in traffic and it's not free?"

Simple logic would suggest that if public transport is good and ppl start using it trafic will surely reduce unless... each person using public transport also drives the car at the same time or as one person starts to use the public trasport, you immediatley get another with a car in his place (and makes sure he uses the car not the public trasport). Another point is that people working in offices (actually working)will benefit from using the public transport. No need to do the addition work of a driver, lesser risk of accidents, can atually relax while going to work and back, can attend mobile calls, no risk of jumping red signal, getting caught in the yellow box, no risk of getting worked up because people will not allow you to change lanes or jump into the lane in front of you without using indicators. Socially to ppl will get to meet ppl from other offices not just their own office. Finally it will be economical as if can be made efficient. There is not need for tolls and it will certainly be ecofriendly which could be the biggest benefit for the future generations.

Publius said...

In a perfect world, John, the congestion tax you envision would pop out of the air as you drive by at 120k. However, if you have ever driven a road that has such tolls, you know that toll booths add their own, not-so-stealthy tax, one on your TIME, as you sit in long lines waiting to pay the charge. Do you imagine, for an instant, that they will actually have an efficient collection system? No, of course not: to do so would require lanes and lanes of booths, space that just isn't available. The majority of motorists won't get the wireless charge tags, and the long, long tailbacks on already overstretched roads will help contribute to the gridlock that already exists.

It's lovely to live in a perfect theoretical world where congestion charges can be vaccuumed from space, but we live here, in the UAE, where inefficiency is tragically the norm.

Krishna said...

RTA needs to reduce the number of cars on SZR so that they can close more lanes. This will greatly speed up the constuction of Dubai Metro Station.

Ofcourse I don't see the number of cars decreasing overall, just on SZR.

Anonymous said...

You guys are weird, u dont have the information yet u complain.

The floating bridge and Ras Al Khail bridge will be opened that time. So instead of whining start using ur brain for once.

@bd, I agree with u. Some people throw comments without basis.

John B. Chilton said...

publius,

Actually, Dubai's plan for SZR has no toll booths. The money will be vacuumed off a prepaid card.

Of course I agree with your point that if the collection system is not efficient congestion charges make little if any sense.

John B. Chilton said...

Secret Dubai reminds us that even cycling is banned in Dubai. As it is in Sharjah.

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