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Bolton Council Betrays its Residents

I’m curious…

How many pieces of silver did it take for Bolton Council to betray the people of Bolton to the Manchester Congestion Tax?

No doubt, they are labouring under the delusion that “we’ll get a share of the money, but it won’t affect Bolton?. Well, it might not affect the councillors who work in Bolton, but it certainly will affect thousands of council tax paying, (and don’t forget voting) residents of Bolton who do work inside the M60. A clear case of “I’m alright Jack?.

Flawed

The congestion charge scheme is flawed for one very important reason: it wrongly assumes that motorists have a choice. We don’t. We still have to get to work, but the public transport alternatives simply do not exist. This is not London who enjoy a co-ordinated transport system, we instead have the GMPTA. It is therefore nothing more than an additional tax on the motorist. The motorist has already paid several times over in the form of road tax and one of the highest fuel duties in Europe. It is not our fault that successive governments have squandered this money rather than using it to provide a decent public transport system.

Since I work flexitime, it would seem sensible to alter my hours from 8am-4pm to 10am-6pm to try to avoid the charge and ease congestion, but since the evening charging period lasts until 6:30pm, it is clear that the GMPTA’s aim is to maximise income rather than ease congestion.

Expect queues of parked cars just before 9:30am around Manchester, as people hang back before crossing the M60, then an increase in speeding and road rage just before 4pm as drivers race to get out before the charging period starts. This along with several other issues were put to the representatives of the GMPTA at a Salford Chamber of Commerce meeting – not a single question could be answered.

Before anyone compares me to Jeremy Clarkson, I would point out that I would love to use public transport to get to work. I live around the corner from Blackrod station, and work right next door to Clifton Station. The journey time should be around 25 minutes, except for the fact that only one train stops at Clifton each morning. In order to connect with this train, I would have to leave Blackrod the night before. I have contacted GMPTA regarding this lack of service, but it is clear from the excuses in their replies that they have no intention of rectifying the situation.

Metrolink? What Metrolink?

Finally, much hype is being made of money being used to extend Metrolink. Since Bolton is one of the few areas that will never benefit from this, why should we be forced to pay the same as other areas who have the option of using it?

An edited version of this post has been published as a letter in the Bolton News.

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