The “Hidden Agenda” in Congestion Charging

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“We believe the TfL has a hidden agenda and that agenda is to raise revenue.” The statement came this morning from Jay Parmar, head of legal services of the British Vehicle Rental Leasing Association (BVRLA), when speaking about the current system of Congestion Charging.

The BVRLA claim that the way in which drivers are being fined without the opportunity of appeal, for alleged Congestion Charge transgressions is a “deliberate policy of disregard for individuals’ rights and could cost businesses and tourists around £50m in unfairly applied fines over the next five years.”

John Lewis, director general for the Association, said that the charge was hiked by 60 per cent in July 2005 despite past promises of low or no future rises and claimed that the TfL is: “Choosing to increase costs and reduce revenue.”

“Our view is simple: rental and leasing companies must be allowed to transfer liability of all fines simply and swiftly to the relevant drivers [rather than staying with the company the driver works for], allowing them in turn to make representation to TfL if they feel they are being unfairly fined.”

Parmar provided several case studies which he said outlined how the current system of Congestion Charging is open to severe errors of unfair fining. He said: “We believe this is TfL’s strategy to deliberately reject transfer of liability. They have an agenda and we know that hidden agenda is to raise revenue.”

Lewis said: “It seems to us that TfL may almost deliberately be creating a policy of significant time-delays and over-bureaucratic policies that have the effect of denying natural justice to drivers…With the scheme proving too successful in clearing streets and with revenues falling far short of their target, it is better for TfL to fine drivers £50 or even £100 rather than have them pay a Congestion Charge of £8.”

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