Congestion charge: is council trying to marginalise Edinburgh drivers? - Steve Cardownie

Yesterday’s headline in The Evening News which read “Motorists could face city centre charge” along with the one from the day before which read “£650 to park at the office” will have undoubtedly been met with some anger among note-0 many motoristsnote-1.

The city council has already been saddled with the accusation that it is anti-motorist with the Spaces for People programme and the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods initiative being cited as two examples of the council’s collective mindset (with a few exceptions). Now, Councillor Scott Arthur, the transport convener, looks set to take over where former transport leader Councillor Lesley Macinnes left off.

On the question of a congestion charge, Councillor Arthur, referring to a report which recommends that some temporary measures on bus routes into the city now be made permanent, saying: “Once we increase the capacity of those links coming in then we can say to people in the surrounding local authorities ‘There’s capacity here, why don’t you come on public transport?’ And, if it’s efficient and working and we’re sure of that, and the uptake doesn’t look as if it’s going to happen, then we can start thinking about congestion charging for people coming into the city centre.”

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Note – not the “city” but the “city centre.” So, if people from outlying areas do not bus it into Edinburgh, all motorists entering the “city centre” (irrespective of where they’re from) will be hit by a congestion charge! This could be construed by some as a means to marginalise Edinburgh motorists and bring in a charge by the back door. Surely not!

Scott Arthur is warning that a congestion charge for drivers entering the city centre is on the table