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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Congestion leaflet drivers 'fake'
'Ann' - case study from congestion charge leaflet
US model Kiki pretends to be a lawyer from Greater Manchester
Transport bosses have admitted using fake residents to promote a proposed congestion charge in Manchester.

A leaflet, sent to every home in Greater Manchester, gives four case studies to show how the scheme will affect travellers.

But the four "local people" featured in the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) leaflet are in fact American models.

One of them, called Kiki, was portrayed as a solicitor from Ashton Under Lyne.

"Terry", said to be a self-employed van driver from Rochdale in the leaflet, was identified as 22-year-old model Erich Dalke from Seattle.

Their images, along with a mum-of-two named "Rachel" from Trafford and jobless "Neil" from Beswick, are all believed to have been bought from a US internet modelling library.

'Terry' - case study from congestion charge leaflet
A US model is depicted as a van driver from Rochdale

PR chiefs have admitted that no-one living or working in Greater Manchester was interviewed to produce the leaflet and that the case studies were actually made up.

The GMPTA website has since amended its internet page to say the people are "fictional case studies based on accurate travel plans under current proposals".

Spinoza Kennedy Vesey, the public relations firm which represents the GMPTA, has admitted the pictures were of models but originally claimed the case studies were real.

It said the identities of the local people involved had been changed to "protect privacy".

However, the firm later admitted the examples given were not genuine people at all, and that no-one had been interviewed or surveyed to compile the leaflet.

Transport officials said the Our Future Transport leaflet was intended to give an idea of the charges people may face.

The studies have been worked out based on real journeys taken by real people
Transport Innovation Fund bid

Roger Jones, chairman of the GMPTA, said it had been put together "very quickly" to make sure everyone had a chance to learn the facts about a congestion charge.

"With more time, maybe it would have been better to interview proper families, but I don't mind if they are actors and actresses as long as the information is correct," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Transport Innovation Fund bid said: "The studies have been worked out based on real journeys taken by real people."

Asked why no real people were interviewed for the case studies, she said: "Nobody is paying it at the moment and it is impossible to interview anybody about that."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Pictures in the leaflet are of American models



SEE ALSO
Congestion charge plans revealed
24 May 07 |  Manchester

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