For Cambridge's proposed congestion charges, a "better scheme" is required

an objection to the proposed congestion charge

According to a senior councillor, a "better scheme" needs to be developed for Cambridge's parking fees.

At a meeting on Thursday, new options for a citywide congestion charge will be discussed.

The initial plans called for charging cars £5 per day.

A "London-style" bus network and other improvements were intended to be funded by raising £50 million annually, but if certain conditions were altered, they might be able to raise less.

To determine the following steps, the Executive Board of the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) will meet on Thursday.

It held a public consultation last year regarding proposals to charge drivers of private vehicles £5 per day for weekday travel into or near Cambridge between 7:00 and 19:00.

The funds raised would be used to expand the bus system with more frequent service as well as to upgrade the infrastructure for cycling and walking.

The survey received more than 24,000 responses. The proposals for public transportation were backed by seven out of ten people, but the congestion pricing ideas were opposed by 58 percent.

Elisa Meschini
A consultation, according to Elisa Meschini, "clearly demonstrated" the need for a better plan.

After reviewing the feedback from the consultation, Elisa Meschini, a Labour county councillor who serves as the board's chair, said, "we want to do more to address" issues.

A better plan needs to be created, she continued, and that has been made very clear to us. That's exactly what will happen. ".

Some of the options for altering the proposals were outlined in a report that was scheduled for discussion by the Board.

  • Cars charged £5 from 07:00 to 19:00 on weekdays as part of the consultation.
  • Peak-only proposal: Hospital patients, visitors, and staff would not be charged during the morning and evening rush hours but cars and smaller vans would be charged £5.
  • Drivers will receive 180 days of free time in 2026 and 2027, 100 days in 2028, and 50 days in 2029.
  • Option with the fewest restrictions: Cars charged £3 during AM and PM rush hours; hospital patients, visitors, and staff exempt; 100 days free in 2027 and 2028.
  • There is no congestion fee.
Supporters of the proposals carrying a Yes to Better Buses banner
Both pro and con rallies have been held in response to the proposals.

It would be possible to "mix and match," Ms. Meschini added, from the various choices.

She explained that the fewer options you select from the menu, the less money you raise.

According to the board report, the consultation proposal would generate about £50 million annually by 2028, while the peak-only scenario could generate £25 to £30 million, the free days plan could generate between £19 and £24 million, and the income from the minimalist option could range from £13 to £18 million.

"Voiding the charge of anyone who parks at an authorized hospital carpark on a hospital-related journey" could be done to exempt hospital patients, visitors, and staff, it was added.

This would be "relatively substantial" in cost, and since "the hospitals are already a significant contributor to congestion, exempting trips would not improve congestion, which is particularly prevalent in that part of the city,".

None of [the scenarios] are final, and all will require more research before a decision is made, according to Lynne Miles, the GCP's director of city access. ".

She stated that in order for the Board to make an informed decision, the GCP would need to "nail the details of the scenario" and complete the traffic and financial modeling.

It's anticipated that the board will request that a "preferred option" be created and presented to them for consideration in the autumn.

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