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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 10:09 GMT
Pay-per-mile: How it might work
Inforgraphic on road pricing
This is the sort of scheme proposed for the UK

Ministers are to consider radical plans to charge motorists according to the distance they drive, and the time and route they travel.

But just how much can drivers expect to pay - and where will the promised savings be made?

The Commission for Integrated Transport supplied the following case studies to BBC News Online, which it believes support its case for change:


Molly runs her two small children to school twice a day in Bristol.

She pays 30p a day in congestion charges - 60 over the school year.

She does, however, save 1.50 every other week when she fills up with petrol - thanks to the reduced petrol price pledge.

She discusses the cost of the school run with the other parents and they decide to set up an informal car-sharing group.

On average she now only needs to do the school run every third day, when she also takes her neighbours' children in the car.

This idea catches on and the school governors decide to set up a more formal system.

Overall trips to the school reduce by 30%, considerably reducing the local congestion and pollution.

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Paul commutes daily into central Manchester from Altrincham which is 10 miles.

The journey normally takes an hour in the morning, though sometimes it can take more than 80 minutes.

Back in the evening the traffic is typically not as bad, so the average journey time is 45 minutes, though again it can take an hour.

traffic jam
Car sharing schemes could be the answer

Paul has to spend 6 a day on parking charges near his office.

The congestion charge would be 3 there and back.

There would be a reduction in petrol costs of 6 a month.

Paul would save about 10 minutes a day on average and there would be fewer really bad journeys when the traffic gets heavily clogged up.

Over a year Paul pays 675 in congestion charges, offset by a 66 fall in fuel tax on his commuting journey but he and his wife save around 100 through reduced fuel costs for leisure journeys.

Paul is now paying 500 a year more. But with the improved journey conditions he finds his car commute much less stressful and saves about five working days a year that would otherwise be spent sitting in traffic jams.

Having had their first child, Paul's wife Sarah decides to give up work.

As money is tighter, Paul decides instead to use the Metrolink light rail system to get to work.

He gets an annual ticket costing 832, but saves 625 in car running costs, 1,320 in parking charges, and the 675 congestion charges.

Overall he is 1,840 better off.

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Louise, an IT consultant, makes a 95 mile journey, mainly along the M1 motorway, from Rugby to Sheffield every Monday morning.

She sets off at about 8am to travel to the regular team meeting.

car stuck in flashflood
Floods should be the only thing to delay drivers

The motorway is quite congested, and she incurs a congestion charge of 7, partly offset by 1.40 reduction in fuel duty.

The average journey time is reduced by a small amount, but the journey time is now much more predictable because the motorway is less prone to extremely heavy traffic and serious breakdowns.

Consequently the meeting can now start 30 minutes earlier and she can still be confident of arriving on time.

The journey to her first client is not quite so congested but there is a charge of 4.50, with 1.40 saving in fuel duty.

She makes the journey 40 times a year and pays an extra 350, but saves more than three working days a year on the road.

Since Louise charges her clients 100 per hour, she is able to generate 2,400 extra income for her company a year.

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The BBC's Tom Symonds
"Britain's roads are the most congested in Europe"
Professor David Begg, CIT Chairman
"There is no one solution to a congestion problem"
Steve Norris, former Conservative Transport Minister
"These are not cheap solutions"

Traffic jamRoad pricing
Should UK motorists pay road charges?
See also:

25 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Pay-per-mile Singapore style
18 Feb 02 | England
Road toll could be delayed
06 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Tories attack 'traffic stealth tax'
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