back to article Gov to Manchester: No new trams without road pricing

Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, has made it clear that Greater Manchester will lose £1.5bn in central government funding for public transport if local people don't agree to the use of road pricing for motorists. “There is no Plan B. I would not want people to be under any illusion about that,” said Mr Hoon, referring to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Just one comment for so far?

    Must be time for labour to get its press office into action then

  2. EvilGav

    At least . . .

    . . . the citizens of Mancunia are getting a vote on trams.

    We here in Edinburgh weren't given a vote, as far as I can tell not one person wants them here, they aren't going to run any more regularly or on more routes than the existing buses and pretty much wont benefit the people in Edinburgh at all.

    For this we are having the roads dug up all over the place over a 3 year period, firstly to move all the services (gas, water, electric - so they all get subsidies to upgrade their own equipment) and then closed at a later date to put the rails in (no-one has yet said why they couldn't just do it all in one go).

    Trams can work, in Amsterdam they work fantasticaly well, but they disappeared from British cities for a reason.

  3. N1AK

    Labour Foot Shooting

    These plans won't come into effect until well after the next election, if the 'no' campaign wins and Labour drops all the public transport plans for Manchester they are setting the Converservatives up with an easy vote winner in the elections.

  4. Simon Greenwood

    Nothing has changed

    The public transport improvements were never not dependent on road pricing, which stank in the first place. GMPTE has run ahead with the Rochdale and Oldham extensions to the tram as a carrot for the yes vote but also as a fait accompli for the completion of the extensions. However Geoff Hoon is just reiterating what was said when the bid was accepted.

    It is hugely unacceptable as a transport policy. The logical answer is encourage people out of their cars and to do this by improving public transport, but public transport policy suffers from the same firm belief that the people running it know best that got us into the state that we're in now.

  5. Brian

    Look at the implementation

    There's more to this than meets the eye - the use of tags means that once the Manchester road-pricing system is implemented, tags for road pricing schemes are likely to be made compulsory nationwide.

    Just more Neues Arbeit surveillance - Hun needs to be taken out and shot.

  6. Henny


    why not just offer the companies in Manchester incentives to allow their staff to work Flexitime?

    I drive 28miles into Manchester every morning and it seldom takes me more than 55 minutes (half is country roads, half is main roads or motorways)... but that's only because I get into work after 9:30 (and so would also miss the congestion charge!)

    I also leave work at just gone 6pm and so again, miss the congestion charge time for exiting the city and also miss pretty much all of the traffic...

    I've done this same journey for the last 10 years, and congestion HAS got better, not worse as they've improved the M60 and the Parkway for drivers.... public transport however, sucks if you live any further than 10 miles out of the city... improve that, and I may get out of my car...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Guess what...

    When the road pricing thingy reared it's head again the other week I put in a petition at the government web site. As of yet my petition hasn't been made live, or rejected.

    That, as far as I am concerned, is censorship. .. because they know full well what would happen should another petition on the road pricing schemes become live ... the people would speak and the government would get trounced.

  8. CarlMc


    My journey from my house in Bolton to work in the centre of Manchester took a full 25 minutes this morning, damned congestion, when will my misery ever end?

  9. Alexis Vallance

    Lots of no's

    Interesting the huge number of no's on here. Like the Manchester Evening News site, the vast majority are against.

    The only place where there seems to be a lot support on the internet is at Sky Scraper News - I assume because most people there are city planners, as opposed to the general public on here and the MEN.

    I really would be surprised if this vote ended up with the yes's getting any more than 40%.

    So 60:40 against is my prediction for the referendum.

  10. Tony Hoyle


    There's definately been some shenanigans with the lights, and several cases of halving the width of roads by putting a useless bus lane (always empty) in there.

    The M602->M60 connection is a sick joke. They could reduce most of the percieved congestion by sorting that out. Not that they're going to do it, even if drivers pay the tax.

    I've seen *nothing* promised as a result of this tax that is new. It all looks like old plans that are being waved in front of people. The metrolink expansion was promised then ditched by the government so they could build another london underground station... the metrolink is a private company that makes a profit. If they want to expand they can do - taxing non-users of the network is ridiculous.. they can get a bloody bank loan like any other company.

    This will cost almost everyone here £50 a week that they can't afford. We've already made plans as a company to move offices outside manchester... it's a hell of a lot cheaper to move than increase salaries by that much just to cover the transport tax.

    God knows what's going to happen to the prices in the city centre.. the shops are going to have to bear the salary increases somehow (or just let everyone leave and find work elsewhere, I guess).

    Oh and I don't think it really matters how we vote.. they'll do it anyway. Or rig the vote.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    it disnae really matter how you vote...

    ... the government [or in this case manchester city council] always wins.

    there's no chance whatsoever of the 'no' vote being allowed to prevail, no matter what the actual voting figures are. anyone who believes otherwise has a rather naive faith in both local democracy and the honesty of manchester city council in particular.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Chris Gibson

    'The government is simply stating that if Manchester introduces a congestion charge, the government will top up the money raised with additional funding. How is that bribery?'

    Do as we want and we'll give you a large wedge of extra cash, don't do as we want and we won't give you any extra cash.

    Sounds pretty much text book bribery to me. It's about as subtle as having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

    Paris, unlike Manchester residents she can say no if she doesn't want her pants pulled down..

  13. stizzleswick
    Thumb Down

    @Alexis Vallance

    "Look at proper cities - New York, LA, Houston. They've got massive 8 lane freeways and roads coming out of their ears."

    Yep. Thing is, those cities were PLANNED in a straight-lines grid and then constructed according to those plans. Manchester was built a little earlier in history, so if you want to turn it into a grid with some 8-laners, you'll first have to tear down the entire city, because most streets currently follow the paths of the sheep that were herded there around 1.000 BCE.

  14. John Savard


    Aside from the congestion charge, Manchester has other means of raising revenue. It is reasonable for the national government not to contribute to local transit for Manchester unless Manchester pays for a proportion of it, on the basis that it isn't paying for a little transit, but helping to pay for a lot.

    Congestion charges are intended, like an expansion of transit, to encourage using transit for going to work, and to discourage using cars to go to work. So things almost make sense.

    The congestion charges require a referendum. Presumably, people will vote yes if they aren't affected, because they would benefit from more transit. People who aren't likely to use the new transit, even after the improvements, will vote no.

    Ah. Now this is almost making sense. If this is a waste of government money, because even after they improve transit, most people will still use their cars to go to work, the referendum will be voted down by those people. So, if Manchester wants the money, it should come up with a plan that shows that after they spend it, the people there will be able to get to work with transit!

    Only one flaw. The transit will work so well that the congestion charges won't raise enough money to help with paying for it. Except that I really doubt they'll have to worry about that happening.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    The money is a side issue

    Please, please remember that the money is a side issue. This is about getting a surveillance infrastructure in place. About getting a system that can tell and log each and every traveller into Manchester. As noted in London, Plod now has unrestricted real time access to the information stream from the congestion charging ANPR cameras 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, even though the charging periods are less than that. So in Manchester the ANPR will be recording those going in and out, all day, every day regardless of what charging regime they announce. This will undoubtedly be supported by an "oyster-like" smartcard ticketing system as one of the public transport "benefits", that just happens to log every journey made by the purchaser for the benefit of Plod and others.

    Regardless of any perceived financial penalty threatened by our Overlords, this scheme must be defeated. Otherwise for years to come: "Just why were you going into Manchester at that time Mr Jones? We don't think you had any legitimate business then. What was your terrorist motive, Mr Jones?"

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Gibson

    Dear Chris,

    Lets say for a second that we all enter into the lovely world proposed by our darling, super and caring government. Why now, every car owner has an electric car. That results in zero road tax for everyone.

    Great, but where does the government find the money to replace the road tax?

    Simple, pay as you go roads. The more convenient or highly used the bigger the charge I'll bet. We WILL end up paying more to travel less, mark my words.

    Direct Line insurance keep running ads about the ~1.5 million uninsured divers on the roads, I wonder what it would be like if there where 1.5 million less drivers on the roads instead? So why not ban people with no insurance for life?

    People WILL get up in arms about being charged to go through a "zone", freedom to travel started in Victorian times, when trains enabled people to travel to other parts of this green and septic isle with ease. Motorcars added to this freedom. Of course people will rightly complain when that freedom is restricted.

    Speed cameras, not got too much of a problem with them now that there are warning signs.

    But dear Chris, why are they not used where they would help the most? I pass four schools on my way to and from work, none of them have a speed camera near them or speed humps. There are two speed cameras on my route, yet they both are on roads don't really need them. I think that the majority of motorists would not want to hit anyone, no matter what the speed. So what’s the point? Average speed cameras are worse. They cannot deliberate between a sensible overtaking move and a twunt getting impatient. Both could arrive at an average speed point too soon and suffer a penalty. It would take a copper in a car to know the difference. More coppers on the roads!

    The other night, on Top Gear no less, they were talking about the driving test in Finland. It seems that a Fin has to wait three years for a full licence and that the training involves control in a skidpan, driving at high speed and at night. None of these things figure in our tests. I think that if we had a certificate system where you get tested on more and more advanced driving techniques and get correspondingly lower and lower insurance premiums, we would have safer roads and less accident related deaths.

    Finally Chris,

    No this country is not a true democracy. It fails to be a democracy on many levels:

    1. There is no Proportional Representation. I have yet to see a “None of the Above” on my ballot sheet. What option do you have exactly when you think that all politicians are lying arseholes that don’t have a flipping clue?

    2. Politics is more about body language coaching and avoiding direct questions than it is about caring for the majority of voters concerns. The bribery Hoon is offering is just a tiny example of it.

    3. There is no accountability for the people we elect to power failing to deliver on the manifesto they used to gain power in the first place.

    Our political make-up is built on aggression much more than common sense. How many good ideas have been quashed because of “it came from another party” or it “came from someone they don’t like”. Running a country is not compatible with having a grudge against someone you don’t like because he flicked a wet towel at you while you were both at Cambridge! When was the last time anyone has seen a politician offer support for a good idea that was not provided by their masters?

    Chris, I love this country. But I hate watching it slowly crumble to shit before my eyes. So what if I emigrate? The way you pitch it, the only choice I have is to go to somewhere worse. That’s not the case.

    This subject is about control and charging for the freedom of UK citizens. We are the last people to be consulted; we are not allowed to disagree. We may have elected these oafs, but when did we abdicate all responsibility to them?

    Yours wanting a way to stop these fools,


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The vote is irrelevant.

    They're already rigging it, there are posters up pushing a totally one sided view of it already.

    It will happen, the vote is a sideshow.

    So, that established...

    Just trash the equipment when it comes in. A little civil disobedience never did a democracy any harm.

  18. RogueElement

    planning my arse

    London's congestion charge was a nice little earner, but before rolling the same money grabbing scheme throughout all of the major cities it is important to gauge the scale of the problem, both in construction/logistics, pricing levels/logistics, and perhaps most importantly, public dissent/logistics.

    As a writer above so correctly pointed out, Manchester is going to be used as an excuse ... something along the lines of, "See, it worked in Manchester..." This might also explain why there is so little word of who is paying for the massive investment in publicity, billboards and bribes that is accompanying the move to introduce yet another stealthy tax.

    I live just outside Manchester at the moment. Hopefully soon I can move back to Alba. I don't notice the congestion normally as a run into town at non-peak times takes less than 30 minutes. At rush hour though I need to give myself double that. The problem is merely with logistics. Too many useless turds planning the roads, not enough consideration to the cause of the problem, to wit: everyone starting work at the same time, finishing work at the same time, school run at the same time, too many "convenient" slip roads, too much reliance on the roads where canals, rail, trams and buses could easily take up the slack.

    Solution? SIMPLE - no EXEMPTIONS! Then we'll see just how many council employees continue to provide support.

  19. Alan Fisher

    So what about...

    Surely the people who WANT the public transport improvements shan't really give a stuff abour whether motorists get charged or not? Ok there will be exceptions but most public transport users I know don't do it to be green but because they lack their own wheeled box to travel in.

    My answer is one which has worked before....force them to keep their Green promises by organising something with Critical Mass....sod public transport, sod cars, got on bikes! Ain't no way they can charge you for riding a bike! Tis green, clean and great for avoiding traffic jams (also gets you fit and lithe-looking)....but seriously, cyclists should organise a Critical Mass demo in Manchester, just to piss Buff off and get some press, we'll soon see him (haha) backpedal then.....

  20. Ali McGowan
    Thumb Down

    No, No, No

    "They've already started cutting up large parts of the road system in the north of the city in preparation for extended tram lines. This despite being told we're not getting government funding if we don't vote for the congestion charge. It's almost like Manchester City Council know the charge is going through..."

    - another misconception. The 'Big Bang' tram funding is ALREADY in place and will go ahead even if the vote is NO. I am voting NO [and shouting!!] because the TIF money only adds a few piddly bits onto the network.

    I am also voting NO [still shouting] because I've lived in Manchester 12 years and in that time have seen absolutely crap improvements to public transport in all that time. The tram network was never extended [as promised] for the Commonwealth Games - and the Big Bang extension is years behind. I have NO faith in the transport exec or collective councils to deliver - another reason to vote no and in any case, disagree with the principle of the congestion charge - motorists pay enough bloody taxes already. Oh - and I don't even drive to work. I get the clapped-out East Midlands Trains - on trains that have not been cleaned since the day they were built.

    The TIF / Congestion Charge is a complete farce and I just pray that enough folk in Manchester + environs bother to vote - and bother to vote NO!!!!

  21. A J Stiles

    Wrong Way Around

    This is completely the wrong way around!

    Local authorities should be forbidden to impose any kind of road pricing unless and until adequate public transport systems are already in place, such that 2/3 or more of the population are able to travel to their place of work using only public transport.

    Why isn't there a political party willing to stand up and represent the interests of the motorist? Can't the AA form a political wing?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    From the 3 sides of Manc

    Well now.. this is proving to be a hot topic. From someone who has lived on three differing compass points around Manchester, I feel I have a good idea of congestion.

    From the north end of Mancunia, the average journey from the M61 to the M60, onto the A580 takes about 15-30 mins depending on it either being at rush hour or not. Anyone saying it doesn't take that long and takes longer should learn to drive.

    From the southern end, yes it can take longer, but that is because they have been fooling with the lights and the lanes.... yes, yes, fooling is the key word here - they were fine until some prick decided to change them (cynically, I would say it's because they want the charge to come in).

    From the 'East Side', it can be a bit unruly, but generally you are inside the city centre within 30 mins.

    Seriously.. Is this such a rush hour when generally you are in the centre well within an hour??

    I am against the charge, not because it's a charge, but because the reasons behind it are not factually correct. The one BIG thing that needs to be sorted is the M60. Nope, not charging on it, but sorting out key junctions that I think some one brought up further up the comments : M601/M60 junction up to the M61, The Stockport pyramid, and Prestwich to M66. i like what they have done (to a point, TO A POINT!!) around Sale as it's rarely congested now that they have sorted it all out. It's a bit confusing for the uninitiated, but it's helped.

    So, wrong area to spend money on, and not enough been done to the people that will be paying for it! Let's face it, it's going to be paid by those living outside the City, but nothing (nope, nothing in the plans) has been specifically promised to those outside of the M60. yes yes, I know about trams etc, but that's no good for those outside the 3 to 4 tram links. Take Bolton: denied a tram link, and yet everyday all the busses and trams are rammed full of passengers that make the Tube look like the Orient Express. There is no WAY any money from the congestion charge is going to be given to Northern Rail to add more upgraded trains. Just having an extra coach on a train would be a huge improvement. Take Wigan: See Bolton trains/buses. No one is going to give Wigan anything either...

    get the M60 sorted before bring pricks!

  23. Ascylto

    @Dan and many others

    Proof (if any were needed) that you CAN'T fool all the people all the time. This congestion charge malarkey is one big con. if it wasn't, why would they need to spend £3,000,000 on an advertising campaign to convince us to vote 'yes'? Hoon's intervention is just the latest in trying to instill fear (and, yes, we SHOULD be afraid of government ministers!).

    I am often minded of Vienna and its transport system. Admittedly, they were wise enough not to remove their tramways after WWII but when I'm in the city I can get a weekly ticket which gives me 7 days of unlimited travel on Bus, Tram, Night Bus, Local Railways and Metro within a large zone. The cost? €14.50, just over £12 ... that's about 3 days of Tram only use in Manchester. In Vienna I don't even THINK about how I'm going to get somewhere because I know the transport will be there. It's cheap, clean, safe and frequent.

    Mancunians ... don't fall for the bribes and lies!

  24. n
    Thumb Down


    Welcome to hell.....

    fascists (local councils) run the show.

    Trams FFS how it will be lanes for horses and carts, if you disagree you will be asked to produce your carbon footprint for analysis at the local cop shop.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    moan moan moan

    I live in manc, own a car, and use the public transport to get to work and will be voting a big Yes.

    How short sighted can people be... it's only gonna be another few years before you simply cannot get anywhere in greater manchester.

    Get off your fat lazy arses, vote Yes, take public transport and free up the A6 please (actually, most of southern manchester).

    If you vote No then I can look forward to years of sitting on slow smelly buses/trains and you can look forward to sitting all smug in your ridiculous 4x4s not moving anywhere.

  26. n

    your rights...the same but different

    congestion charges have worked great in london.......see how much better it is when people who don't have much money are told to get off the road.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    I am voting no

    I do feel this is totally unfair tax, the government starting to use blackmail nice since when has the government been allowed to give then take away if a council do not agree to their terms. Where does this money they are giving and taking away come from at first?

    Why have we got a Scottish man as prime minster dictating what we can and cannot do when English MPs are not allowed to vote on Scottish parliament policies?

    Why do I have to pay an increase in car parking at hospital over 100% suddenly when Scottish hospitals car parking is free?

    Why has my only bus I could use to go to hospital no longer running infect since Mains was taken over by Stagecoach the bus service has dropped from 5 to Manchester to just 1. 230 to 235 all went past my home to Manchester but all had different starting points Mossley, Carbrook, Droylsden station ( no longer a station) so now it is two buses and a long walk or my car.

    I would be hit with congestion charge for 100 yards to my works yet I do not travel into Manchester but would have to travel in the direction of Manchester for 100yds.

    This congestion charge starting at M60 is ill thought out badly planned and totally unworkable plus it will drive companies out of Manchester to large industrial estates outside of town centres. Why is it that parents are allowed to congest the roads dropping children off to school why not charge them congestion charge for stopping at a school to drop of children.

    The alternative will be so long in coming that most will have lost their jobs for being late or unable to arrive at work for lack of other methods of transport.

    Public transport is a joke and has been ever since the government started to mess around with it.

  28. Glyn


    Look at where the councillors in your area live and where their kids go to school, that's where you'll find the cameras. It is in Stoke anyway (not to mention a rumour that one was put in on a councillors commute route so he could get out of a junction easier)

    > 1. There is no Proportional Representation. I have yet to see a “None of the Above” on my ballot sheet. What option do you have exactly when you think that all politicians are lying arseholes that don’t have a flipping clue?

    Don't vote, voter apathy isn't because we can't vote by text/email/carrier pigeon it's because most people can't find anyone worth voting for. Another classic example of politicians pretending to be ostriches.

    Don't really understand why PR is the answer to everything. Watched an explanation on the telly and it looks like a why of rigging the votes, not to mention you don't get who you vote for, you get someone from the party. Of all my misgivings about the political system, the person who gets most votes in an area winning isn't one of them :)

    > 2. Politics is more about body language coaching and avoiding direct questions than it is about caring for the majority of voters concerns. The bribery Hoon is offering is just a tiny example of it.

    Answer a question with an answer....bwa ha ha ha ha

    > 3. There is no accountability for the people we elect to power failing to deliver on the manifesto they used to gain power in the first place.

    Only the next election where you look at what rubbish they're promising you now

  29. Ian

    Manchester con charge is a Trojan Horse

    Most posters here are missing the point. The Labour government wants nationwide road charging and it is going to get it no matter what the people say. After the shock of the 2 million signature petition against road charging they skulked away with their tails between their legs and came up with the idea of pilot schemes such as the Manchester one. Once in place the spin machinery will ensure that they are seen as nothing other than an unqualified success and then nationwide road charging gets rolled out. There is no limit to the bribes that will be offered to get a yes vote in Manchester. They would be happy to have virtually nobody paying because the object is to get the technology in place. Manchester is a Trojan Horse for national road charging. The government is prepared to take a massive financial hit (our money, remember) in the pilot schemes in order to create the climate in which national road charging goes ahead.

    Why does the government want national road charging?

    1. It will be a wonderful new stealth tax which can be targeted at those who are already pariahs. Look at the proposed 25 pound charge in London if you want evidence. For the crime of producing a bit more of the essential and life-giving gas CO2 you will be subject to virtually unlimited tax.

    2. The government is committed to the EU's Galileo GPS satellite system. This will be the only one of several competing systems to charge for its services. It needs a captive client. EU-wide road charging is that client.

    3. This sets up a nationwide surveillance system. Labour is addicted to surveillance. You will be tracked every time you are in a car. Drift over the speed limit even momentarily and there will be a ticket in the post. Speed limits will be reduced to ridiculous levels to maximise the revenue stream.

    Voters of Manchester. You have a chance to put a spoke in the wheel of Labour's plans for an Orwellian future. Don't be conned.

  30. Jeremy Wickins

    The current plan is ...

    ... arse about face. If public transport is the answer (to what problem? Weeellllll I'l leave that up to you), then get it built first. As people become enlightened and voluntarily move on to this wonderful mode of transport, revenues will go up without having to have ridiculously high fares (small profit, large sales), and the need for congestion charging goes away. Everyone is happy then, aren't they? Sorry, what's that you say? No cameras, therefore no guaranteed revenue stream direct to the council from motorists actually trying to get to work ... or the airport (wait til the revenues start decreasing there!!).

    Sarcasm aside, if there is no viable alternative to using the car, then this is just theft from the car user. The infrastructure MUST be there first - and whose fault was it that it was run down? Oh yes, central government with the deregulation of local transport and privatistion of the rails. What a bunch of shortsighted, self-serving turdspurts ...


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