The scheme is being brought in with a specific aim of increasing bus patronage

Birmingham City Centre congestion. A road usage or congestion charge could help reduce the traffic buses have to contend with to carry out their services.

With the growth of the electric vehicle market, there have been discussions about how road tax will work in the future. Savings in road tax are a useful environmental incentive, but as the UK moves towards zero emissions on the road (however gradually) there will come a point where road tax income falls to an unsustainable level.

Recognising this, there have been discussions about a move to road user charging. It doesn’t surprise me that there is little urgency to implement this. Electric car owners will be irritated when their tax break disappears, and governments are loathe to upset motorists. However, road user charging directly taxes the vice of taking up road space and causing congestion, something a single-occupancy electric car is no better for than a petrol one.

With the debilitating congestion problems facing many towns and cities, such a charge ought to have been in place years ago. If implemented properly – where efficient users of road space like buses, coaches and lorries face little or no charge – it would be a push to encourage people and companies to make lessen their impact. The only attempts I’ve seen to address this in the past have been lanes prioritising road users who are car sharing – both rare and difficult to police – and London’s congestion charge.

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