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So, I found out today I have a vote in the referendum on introducing the congestion charge in Manchester. Currently I know very little about the issues, as I haven't been paying attention to it, as I thought I didn't live here enough to have a vote.

This doesn't affect me directly, as I don't drive, but I do think it'll have a pretty bad effect on the local economy, in terms of people going to work and so on, and deliveries for shops and the like. The proposed zone is far too big, 80 square miles, compared to the original London charge zone of 8 square miles.

So yeah, I'm currently thinking I'm against it, but what are your thoughts? Anything else I need to consider before I make a decision?
Erm... guess which way I'm planning on voting!

From my personal perspective, it doesn't affect me; I tend to work from home and, on the occasions I don't, I usually circumnavigate the charging zone. However, there are many things I don't like about it.

  • The area covered, as you say, is ten times larger than that of London. Which, for an area with one eighth of the population, is ridiculous.
  • The inbound charging times are right when people are travelling to school and/or work. Many workers don't have the luxury of home work or choosing their start times. The outbound charges, again, kick in right when the most people HAVE to use it.
  • Even with the proposed transport changes prior to the charge, there isn't going to be enough infrastructure to relieve the alleged congestion.
  • In some areas, the transport changes prior to charging don't do enough. For example, the eastbound tram installation will terminate in Droylsden town centre, 2 miles inside the outer charging ring. In order to use the tram, you'd have to pay the charge just to get to the public transport option! The bus service that would link it isn't frequent enough and gets bogged down in motorway traffic.
  • The insult to our intelligence is that, whilst Manchester's levels of congestion have increased, the majority of it is actually on the M60 - which isn't subjected to any congestion charging at all. In fact, the M60 is the single biggest reason why areas such as Stockport and Ashton-Under-Lyne have traffic problems in the first place: the badly designed junctions don't allow for traffic flow and cause traffic to back up onto the main roads.
  • Manchester would become too expensive and businesses and industries will all move elsewhere to avoid the costs, which would just turn Manchester into yet another impoverished Northern city with no work for its residents.

On top of that, I find the advertising campaign to be singularly about selfishness. Every single advert says things like "I won't have to pay" or "I don't want to be late". Nothing about the greater good, just the typical "I'm all right Jack" nonsense which has buggered this country up in the last 25 years.

I'd be more in favour of it if the whole transport package was in place first and the charging zone was in a more sensible place - like a mile round the city centre at most. I'd be even more in favour if they sorted out the South-West corner of the M60 (the bit between the M67 and the M56), as that bit of motorway is utterly useless as it is.
Well, today is the end for the referendum. In about 15 minutes it's all over and we get to find out whether we're going to continue to be a free city or if the TIF has finally found an ally. We'd best hope it fails, because if the TIF gets a hold then no city, town or county is safe; they'll all get the TIF or nothing. For the future of transport, I'm hoping this fails big time.

Apparently, less than 50% of Mancunians have bothered to vote, which is a mite disappointing. Seems a lot of people don't care either way. From some of the comments I've heard, it seems people are resigned to the fact we're going to get it regardless of their vote. Shameful behaviour, frankly. Remember, all it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

My vote went in the same day I got my ballot paper. A big fat magic marker NO vote.
Sir Psycho Sexy
On the positive, the people that have bothered to vote are probably of the same opinion as you. I can't imagine anyone would WANT to pay, or force others to pay to drive into Manchester.

Anyway, which way did it go? Tell us!
I would've thought so. There's not much support from what I've seen.

I'll let you know as soon as I find out. They're starting counting tomorrow.
QUOTE (Sir Psycho Sexy @ Dec 11 2008, 01:09 PM) *
On the positive, the people that have bothered to vote are probably of the same opinion as you. I can't imagine anyone would WANT to pay, or force others to pay to drive into Manchester.

Anyway, which way did it go? Tell us!

The Student's Union had a massive push at us all to vote yes, mostly because of the cheaper bus fares that are promised if it goes ahead. I still voted no though, I just don't like the idea.
Yes, allegedly the bus fares would be cheaper. I fail to see how that would work, though, considering most buses get anything close to a quarter full. These are all private companies, which means profit. Unless people actually use the buses, it won't reduce at all unless the companies receive greater subsidies. But in order to do that, the council need to collect more toll money which in turn means - tada! - more money from the car drivers. So either they encourage more congestion to rake in more money, increase the charge window or increase the charge itself. All of which are counter-productive and would ultimately lead to Manchester becoming another impoverished city. And by then we won't really need a tram network, twenty miles of bus corridors or longer rail platforms.

It only works in London because they have a proper transport infrastructure which isn't privatised and therefore can be run for the greater good.

Anyway, we'll know in a couple of hours.
I thought that the transport system in London is run by many different private companies? Or are they just contractors? I have no idea.
I didn't know there was a vote today sad.gif I don't live there at the moment but I spend quite a lot of tie there and I'm driving in next week so if it's a yes vote when is it instigated from? It's ridiculous to compare London with Manchester as it's so much smaller and not affected nearly as much by traffic. Anyway, let us know how it goes.
Congestion Charge rejected in all 10 boroughs. Jolly good.
To be honest I didn't know enough about it but I'm never in favour of paying for anything wink.gif laugh.gif
Yep. Everyone rejected it, it seems. Apparently the YES camp are all moaning about the low voter turnout. Perhaps they think the postal votes are still stuck in traffic wink.gif

I live in Tameside, which is one of the few regions which straddles the charging zone. It was going to get a tram and a bus, neither of which would service areas such as Denton, which were going to be cut in half by the zone. It's been interesting, to say the least, that during this time I've noted many things which have happened on the arterial routes into Manchester from the East to increase congestion:
  • The timing of the lights along Manchester Road (the main route out of Ashton Under Lyne) appear to have been subtly retimed to prevent any flow of traffic. Eight sets of lights in less than 1/4 mile, all desynchronised and bound to make you stop. And one set is for the Snipe retail park, which is possibly the worst junction in the country.
  • Ashton Old Road, one of the busiest routes from East Manchester, has had major sewer works at Audenshaw, forcing people to choose Ashton New Road instead, which is a dreadful route at the best of times.
  • Ashton New Road, at Droylsden, and the narrowest point which is aready a bottleneck, is having building work done which is spilling out onto the road and narrowing the road still further
  • Hyde Road, the only other route in, is having major road works done as a result of the new Tesco in Gorton.
  • In the city centre, Old Mill Street and Pollard Street (two main roads east) are closed due to building works
  • The diversions for these roads, traffic is being diverted along Every Street. Since this still has no traffic lights at Ashton New Road, it's a pain to get through.
  • Hyde Road has been reduced to a single lane as you come through Ardwick.
  • And, of course, it's Christmas, so traffic is generally worse as well.

Far be it from me to suggest foul play, it's no doubt a bit coincidental that all this is happening at once.

I, for one, am glad it's been a NO vote.

Unfortunately, now I've got to change my avatar and sig!
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