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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 14:48 GMT
Congestion fees: Views from the street
london traffic
Drivers face a 5 charge to travel into central London
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By Steve Hawkes
BBC News Online reporter

Peter Black already has one way of beating the charge as he makes his way into work from Maida Vale, north London.

"As long as there is no congestion charge for bicycles - I'm okay!"

Peter Black, 36, of Maida Vale, north London, marketing manager of Wigmore Hall
Peter Black: "It will certainly affect business"

But as marketing manager of Wigmore Hall, the 36-year-old is worried about the effect on concert audiences.

"It will certainly affect business.

"Our concerts start at 7.30pm and a lot of our audience do drive in because in the evenings there is street parking and the older members do not feel safe on public transport."

Mr Black said the concert hall had petitioned the Greater London Authority to alter the times when the charge would apply - but "it fell on deaf ears".

"So a lot of our audience will be charged an extra charge for going to concerts - giving them another reason to stay at home rather than going to the arts."

Richard Coe, 25, of Northolt, Middlesex, engineer for Coca Cola
Richard Coe: "We will get a big park-and-drive car park outside the area"

Richard Coe is not worried about having to dip into his pocket.

As an engineer repairing Coca Cola machines around the clock, he says his company will foot the bill.

"I keep the machines up and running so they can sell, so 5 is not a problem for them."

But the 25-year-old, from Northolt in Middlesex, says his main concern is getting in and out of central London - and congestion charging will only make this worse.

"We will get a big park-and-drive car park outside the central area," he explained.

Ruggero Cordani, 49, of Sutton, south west London, Arriva bus mechanic
Ruggero Cordani: "Nothing else has worked"
Ruggero Cordani will not be spending his own money either.

As an Arriva bus mechanic, he has a free London Transport travel pass.

But when Mr Cordani has to drive the company's van into town to "keep an eye on the buses", Arriva will have to pay - "which is ridiculous because we are part of the public services".

The 49-year-old, from Sutton, south west London, does not think the charge will ease congestion in the centre of town.

"Nothing else has worked," he said pessimistically.

Mr Cordani agreed it would earn extra revenue for London Transport - but said bus services could not be improved simply by spending.

"It is more a question of them buying decent vehicles that are reliable," he said.

Janet Kelly, 22, of Shepherd's Bush, west London, bus driver
Janet Kelly: "It is not cheap - and you already have to pay a lot to park"
As a woman bus driver, Janet Kelly wants to see any extra revenue spent on improving safety.

She wants all London buses to be fitted with CCTV cameras to protect drivers.

"We also need more buses and road improvements," Mrs Kelly added.

The 22-year-old, from Shepherd's Bush, west London, thinks congestion charging will "put a lot of people off driving in".

"It is not cheap - and you already have to pay a lot to park," she explained.

But it will certainly make Mrs Kelly's working life easier.

"There will be less traffic coming into London - so less people to park in the bus lanes."

Paul McGlashon, 23, of London W1, property manager
Paul McGlashon: "Spend the money on the buses"

Paul McGlashon agrees the charge will "make the streets quieter".

As a property manager living and working in W1, the 23-year-old rarely drives outside the centre of town.

But if he had to, he says he would leave his car at home and take the tube.

Mr McGlashon also hopes the scheme will generate extra revenue for public transport.

"I think it is a great idea to spend the money on the buses," he said.

"I find the night buses very handy - but two an hour instead of one would be much handier.

"And if they offered improved public transport at a reasonable price then people would not need to drive into work in their cars."

Congestion tax
Should motorists be forced to pay?

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