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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 16:08 GMT
Congestion company faces the sack
London traffic
Congestion charging has cut traffic numbers in London
London's transport commissioner Bob Kiley has threatened to sack the company that runs the congestion charge unless its performance gets better.

And plans for a 25% rise in fines for failing to pay the 5 road toll have been shelved until Capita "has sufficiently improved".

The proposals were removed from papers that were due to be discussed at a transport advisory board meeting.

Capita has been fined 1m for failing to meet criteria in its 230m contract.

It secured changes to that agreement in August 2003 because it was failing to make a profit from penalty charges, but it did promise improvements.

Discount rate penalty charge notice from 40 to 50
Normal rate penalty charge from 120 to 150
Court charges from 125 to 155
Clamping fee from 45 to 65
Removal fee from 125 to 150
Storage from 10 per day to 25
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: "The mayor is not proposing to increase the penalty charge notice until such time as Capita's performance has sufficiently improved."

Mr Kiley also condemned Capita as being "a long way away" from meeting expectations.

He told the London Assembly that he will consider sacking the contractor unless there were improvements.

"We are now getting real experience of the contractor and it's been a little unpleasant," he added.

Angie Bray, London Assembly Conservatives congestion charge spokesman, said price increases would be an unfair way of trying to bring in more revenue.

She said: "Those who do pay their penalties will simply be forced to pay more to cover up for inefficiencies in the system."

Rebecca Rees, of the AA Motoring Trust, said: "There is absolutely no justification for increasing the congestion charge penalties.

"Clearly, the scheme is not generating the income that TfL was hoping for and now they are looking at ways of plugging the income gap.

"Penalties should be a deterrent, not a main source of revenue."

Opposition to congestion charge
23 Dec 03  |  England
Congestion charge firm fined 1m
10 Oct 03  |  London
Businesses 'approve road toll'
18 Aug 03  |  London
Madonna blasts congestion charge
02 May 03  |  London

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