Aucklanders face congestion charge as traffic woes worsen

Aucklanders face congestion charge as traffic woes worsen

Aucklanders could be charged to drive in to the city to combat the increasing gridlock commuters face.

With traffic forecasts predicting a grim future for drivers in the city, the Government and Auckland Council are looking at ways ease the daily commuting pain.

A report titled The Congestion Question will be presented to the council planning committee on Tuesday.

The report doesn’t paint a pretty picture, saying an average motorway trip takes 10 percent longer than it did four years ago, and motorists need to allow 40 to 55 percent longer for trips.

Severe congestion is expected to increase by 30 percent at peak hours and 38 percent between the rush hour times.  

“This means Aucklanders’ access to jobs, education and other opportunities will become more difficult,” the reports says.

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Commuters in New Zealand’s biggest city already spend around four working weeks a year sitting in traffic, and with 700 new cars being registered every week it’s not going to get any better.

A solution is needed and soon. One idea is congestion charging, which the report says could have a major impact.

The report is the first of three phases looking in to a congestion charge, phase two will start in August this year.

Any congestion charge is likely to be rolled out in stages.

A number of other cities in the world, including London and Dubai, have successfully implemented congestion charges.

Most of these cities though, unlike Auckland, have a viable alternative method of transport, such as underground rail or bus networks.

The scheme could be a tough sell, with the report acknowledging a lack of public acceptance was the single biggest factor hindering a congestion charge.


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