CONGESTION CHARGING WILL HIT THE POOREST HARDEST 

Last month the Council published its Transport Strategy (you can read it at https://bristol.citizenspace.com/growth-regeneration/bristol-transport-strategy/). 

 

There are some genuinely positive parts to the document. We like the fact the strategy sets out a plan to create a ring of park and rides around the city as this will help ease congestion. There is one planned on the edge of the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN) and if they find the right place off the A38 it will be able to serve the Brabazon Arena too. 

 

We also like the fact they are talking about reopening rail stations such as St Annes in Brislington and a station in Horfield. It will also be good to have proper bus, cycling and walking strategies. 

 

However Both Chris and I remain opposed to extra taxes being imposed on the ordinary motorist. The strategy is consulting on both congestion charging and a work place parking levy. In particular it is inaccurate and disingenuous to suggest that a congestion charge could be used to pay for the Mayor’s underground scheme. At best it could make a small contribution towards the interest payments on the borrowing for such a massively expensive project. 

 

Such a levy will disproportionately hit those on low incomes who currently rely on their car to get into and around our city. Similarly, we are also sceptical on the possibility of a Workplace Parking Charge. We fear that these costs will simply be passed on to either employees or consumers. Any reference to the experience of other cities in this matter is misleading. For example, in the example often cited of Nottingham, the public have comprehensive transport options open to them, like the tram, which is a viable alternative not afforded to those who live, work or visit Bristol. 

 

We urge people to respond to this consultation and make their views known to our traffic planners and decision-makers.