Road Charging

The second part of YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph shows widespread hostility towards the idea of road charging.

The poll found that, while most people thought that traffic congestion on the roads near them was becoming more serious, only 7% thought it was a very serious problem, with 36% thinking that it is a fairly serious problem. 42% thought it was not very serious, 13% though tio wasn’t serious at all.

Overall people favoured the carrot over the stick – asked what the single most effective means of reducing congestion would be, 55% said providing more buses and trains, with only 9% favouring road charging and 2% favouring an increase in taxes like fuel duty or road tax.

Asked specifically about road charging schemes, 40% of people said their opinions of any government proposals would depend upon the precise details of the scheme – however, 48% of people are already set against any form of road charging with only 9% thinking that it is a good idea.

The reasons are straightforward – asked about a series of statements on what would happen if road charging were introduced respondents were highly negative. The majority of people think that congestion would not be significantly reduced, pollution wouldn’t fall and that it wouldn’t result in many more people using public transport. 82% of people think it would merely move congestion onto other roads.

There was extreme scepticism over the idea that road charging would be offset by reductions in fuel or road duty – 84% of people thought this wouldn’t happen. 72% of people thought that increased revenue would not be spent on public transport.

There also seems to be little faith in the government’s competence to implement such a scheme – 79% of people think it would cost more than anyone now says, 67% thought a lot of people would end up being wrongly charged and 55% of people expect the data to be insecure and end up being leaked.

Despite this hostility, the issue may not be strong political territory for the oppostion parties: 65% of people think that road charging will come in sooner or later whichever party is in power.


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