AA questions Portsmouth congestion charge idea

QUEUES Gridlocked traffic in London Road, Hilsea ''    Picture: Paul Jacobs (113163-3)
QUEUES Gridlocked traffic in London Road, Hilsea '' Picture: Paul Jacobs (113163-3)
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SCORES of readers have voiced their views over whether Portsmouth should consider introducing a congestion charge.

The city council has revealed it could be one of the measures used in a bid to eliminate traffic gridlock.

It has received a mixed reaction, with some saying it could be the ultimate solution and others fearing it is just another opportunity to make more money from motorists.

Paul Watters, AA’s head of roads and transport policy, has joined those questioning the idea, saying it could put people off visiting the city.

He believes extending the park-and-ride would better persuade people to ditch their cars – and questioned whether it would ever be cost-effective to run congestion charging.

As reported in The News yesterday, it cost £160m to set up London’s system.

‘If you want to reduce the traffic, then a road congestion charge scheme could do that, but would that damage the local economy?’ Mr Watters said.

‘Portsmouth has to consider its tourist destinations rather than deterring people from coming.

‘Usually park-and-ride and parking charges do the job anyway in making sure people use public transport more.

‘Park-and-ride has a lot to offer for the city.

‘Oxford has more than one park-and-ride and it works very well.

‘Road congestion charging would be seen as an added tax.

‘It depends on what happens with fuel duty and car tax over the years.

‘London’s system wasn’t cheap to set up, it still costs £3 to run for every £5 that’s collected.

‘It always makes it a burden for people trying to get there.’

As reported, the council is considering giving Pompey fans the opportunity to take park-and-ride buses to Fratton Park.

The idea has had a provisional welcome from the football club.

Portsmouth Cycle Forum is to reveal its strategy on Monday for how the city’s road network should be improved to make it safer for all users.