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Dobson rules out permit based road pricing policy

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LABOUR'S LONDON mayor candidate Frank Dobson this week ruled out introducing a permit based road pricing system even though this would mean delaying congestion pricing until 2004.

Instead he wants to go ahead with electronic charging, although the technology is un-likely to be ready until his second term in office.

He claimed that a system based around windscreen permits bought by motorists is unworkable because enforcement would cause more rather than less congestion.

Dobson's policy clashes with that of independent candidate Ken Livingstone who says he would introduce a congestion tax disc scheme by August 2000 (NCE 3 February).

He dismissed Livingstone's idea, saying: 'The mayor would need to employ an army of traffic wardens to check this extra tax disc was being displayed.

'Moving vehicles without discs would have to be flagged down - adding to the congestion the scheme is supposed to relieve.'

Dobson's claims are backed by findings of an independent assessment of congestion charging - Road Charging Options for London (ROCOL), commissioned by the Government.

The report, published in full last week, claims that a paper based scheme would too difficult to enforce.

But Imperial College Professor of Transport and Infrastructure and ROCOL committee member, Stephen Glaister, claimed the disc system could be enforced quickly enough. 'I think the report seeks for perfection a little bit too much,' he said.

Glaister also questioned Dobson's ability to quickly improve London's bus services without the estimated £200M congestion charging revenue, or money from workplace parking levies and fare increases in real terms, which he also pledged not to introduce this week.

The full report - Road Charging Options for London is available on (0870) 600 5522.

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