Monday, October 1, 2007

In India, like New York, a proposal for a traffic congestion tax

The Indian city of Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, may implement a kind of congestion tax. Drivers will have to pay to drive on some of the city’s key roads during peak traffic hours, the city’s traffic management consultants, Mastek say, according to a report by an Indian TV channel IBNLive.

The plan of action involves setting up cameras and scanners on major congested roads to detect the car's registration number, the TV channel reported. Special software will be used to determine the car owner, the owner will then be sent a bill based on his road usage, and electronic payment systems will be set up to make bill payment easier, it added.

Key Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are facing traffic jams and long delays because of an increase in population, and the number of vehicles on the road.

In April, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, unveiled plans for a congestion charge on cars entering the busiest parts of Manhattan. That move has been stalled by New York state legislators who hold that a congestion charge on driving in Manhattan will lead to congestion in areas around Manhattan, where people going to Manhattan will park their cars, to avoid the charge.

In Mumbai, the reduction of congestion of its main roads may also shift the burden to other parts of the city which already face heavy flow of traffic. Unlike Bangalore, Mumbai has a well-connected suburban railway system, which gives most of its residents the option of using the train rather than drive to work.

London moved to congestion charging in February 2003. The zone was extended into west London and doubled in size in April, according to a recent report in The Guardian. Other cities like Singapore and Oslo have entry tolls and other forms of congestions pricing.

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