Congestion Charging introduced in London - Sky fails to fall on city's head

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 17 February 2003

This morning's Metro was grimly predicting 2km tailbacks as Londoners struggled to find short-cuts and parking spaces outside the zone - and as you can see the opening fact of this Metro factfile is that the charge is "set to cause road chaos in the capital".

However the introduction of Congestion Charging in London did not bring an end to civilisation as we know it. In fact it seems to be working quite well - I just crossed the junction between Holborn and Kingsway, and was able to cross freely with the red man showing - when until last week you struggled to get across at lunchtime with the green man showing.

My journey into work this morning was disrupted by the suspension of the Piccadilly line. I got the Victoria line to Euston, and this then presents me with a choice - a 25 minute walk, or a bus journey that can take anything between 15 minutes and 45 minutes. But not this morning, the number 91 whizzed me to Holborn in around 10 minutes. And it seems I'm not the only one who thinks it is mostly a positive Congestion Charge experience. I shall try it again over the next few days, and if the experience is the same I shall consider permanently re-routing my journey.

I know it is only one day, and I know it is half-term, and we'll have to judge it over a longer period of time of course, but so far, so good.

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