A few months ago when the UK government was talking about the proposed ‘pay-as-you-drive‘ scheme I couldn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about.
The following is an excerpt from today’s BBC News web site:
More road-charging debate pledged
The transport secretary has pledged to listen to opponents of the introduction of UK road charging.
Douglas Alexander said he will hear the concerns of more than a million people who signed a petition opposing pay-as-you-drive road charges.
The government has insisted that doing nothing would lead to a 25% increase in congestion in less than a decade.
But Mr Alexander said it was important to have a proper debate on the subject and consider a range of views.
The petition, which is the most popular on the Downing Street web site, calls for the scrapping of the “planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy”.
It was posted by Peter Roberts, from Telford, Shropshire, who describes charging as an “unfair tax”.
Mr Roberts – whose petition broke through the million-signature barrier on Saturday – believes charging is unfair on poor people and those who live apart from their families.
I signed the petition because I don’t agree with the methods they are discussing in tackling the problem with our transport system.
(Road charging petition).
I am not against the policy because of the big brother fears that have been expressed by certain groups, but because I think there must be a much better, more simpler approach that could be taken.
We all know that most people in the UK would be against extra taxes, because no one likes to pay any more tax than they currently do.
So I wouldn’t put it past the government if the current proposals are designed to instill the fear of big brother tactics in the UK people.
But given the governments history on the Air Traffic Control System, the NHS Super Computer Network and the National ID Card scheme, I wouldn’t rule out the idea that they would waste billions more on a such a difficult scheme to implement such as the pay-as-you-drive‘ scheme.
Forgetting about the ‘big brother’ idea, just the technology required to track and charge every single vehicle on the road would require something far beyond what we have at present.
There is technology available now that would come close, but how do you make it reliable enough.
For example if the system required having a device in my car that tracks where I drive, how long before someone places the transmitter/receiver in some sort of Faraday cage that restricts the signal between the vehicle and the satellite system.
What happens during times of bad weather that reduces the signal quality.
These are just small problems that the system would have to overcome.
The trials performed by the BBC ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6160174.stm ) showed charges of up to £2,338 a year for one driver.