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London to Introduce Traffic Congestion Charge

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the click-whirr-click-whirr-click-whirr dept.

Technology 643

Vivek writes "BBC is reporting that Londoners will have to pay a 5 pound "Congestion Charge" starting Feb 17. According to this Times of India article, an Indian software firm called Mastek developed the .NET based software to implement the plan. In the absence of toll booths, it reportedly uses character recognition from 700 surveillance cameras to identify defaulting license plates." See our previous story for background.

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Time for (-1, Offtopic)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288303)

Looks like time to go mud running. :)

frist spot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288306)

frost spit

evil (-1, Offtopic)

buswolley (591500) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288311)

first evil

Hi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288314)

Hi everybody. Slashdot's editors are fucks. First post.

BULLSHIT IT WAS NOT 19 SECONDS SINCE I HIT "REPLY"!!! It wsa probablly 19 seconds since your slow-ass servers SERVED ME THE PAGE, but I looked at my watch when I clicked.

Stupid fucks. More evidence that kuro5hin is way cooler.

Tubes already crowded (5, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288318)

I thought the tubes (subway) were already over crowded in London? Shouldn't they increase the capacity of public transit before they force people to use it?

Re:Tubes already crowded (5, Informative)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288355)

What would be even better is if they fix the problems with the Central Line. It's not going to be up and running in any state until the end of March.

Re:Tubes already crowded (3, Interesting)

intheory (261976) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288485)

no joke. i was in london for a school trip that week the derailment happened, and a cross-town bus trip jumped from a 1-hour inconvenience to a 3-hour nightmare. i really had expected the tube to function at least as well as the L in chicago, seeing as how they've had the tube around for so long, but it is in need of a serious reworking, (not to mention a deep cleaning!)

Re:Tubes already crowded (3, Informative)

aallan (68633) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288541)

I really had expected the tube to function at least as well as the L in chicago, seeing as how they've had the tube around for so long, but it is in need of a serious reworking..

Thats sort of the problem, most of the system was constructed by the Victorians, and originally carried steam trains.

...not to mention a deep cleaning!

Humpf! You haven't seen the Paris Metro, is a heck of a lot worse.

Al.

Re:Tubes already crowded (3, Funny)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288364)

Nah, everyone will be required to use a Suitcase Car [roadraceengineering.com] - it will remove the need for on-street parking, opening up additional lanes. Also, in traffic you can just get up and walk.

I wonder when... (1)

NotTheNickIWanted (614945) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288477)

...my local Bentley's Luggage & Gifts will start carrying the Samsonite go-kart?

Re:Tubes already crowded (3, Interesting)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288547)

Or the scheme in Cairo that I saw on BBC World last night. Their streets are meant for 0.5 million cars, yet they have 2 million there. They showed the cars tripled parked. Just leave the handbrake off and give some guy on the steet some money and he'll push and bounce it in to place.

Anyway, it always made me wonder why anybody would actually want to drive in the centre of London. Too slow, and too much stress from all the other vehicles and pedestrians.

Not If People Are Trying To Escape From Blair +3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288410)

Tony Blair: "Mr. President-Vice from Texas-North"

Cheers,

W00t,

Get Your Iraq Invasion On [mnftiu.cc]

Re:Tubes already crowded (4, Informative)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288437)

(sigh--who modded such tripe up?)

Yes, the tube is less than ideal. The traffic situation is even worse than less than ideal. The congestion charge, however, is not levied on BUSES.

Read the article next time.

Yes, the congestion charge will have some bad externalities--for example, the rich who live inside the affected circle's land values will go up further while they pay only 10% of the fees that others pay. Nevertheless, it's a step towards public transport in a big city--it's a good thing.

Re:Tubes already crowded (3, Funny)

turgid (580780) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288441)

No, that would be sensible, rational and expensive. These are British politicians we're talking about.

Re:Tubes already crowded (4, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288472)

Accoring to a page on the Transport for London website [cclondon.com] , about 1.1 million people currently use the tube during the morning peak period. They estimate that this will only increase by about 1% when congestion charging starts. We'll see on Monday.

Re:Tubes already crowded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288496)


Imagine if every single person had to pay a "congestion charge" while waiting on line outside your mother's bedroom for a blow job. They'd clear millions in a matter of days.

Re:Tubes already crowded (2, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288508)

Yes. That would be a good idea.

Personally, I think the only solution to London's overcrowding would be to reduce the number of people in London.

becomes unfair (2, Interesting)

EEgopher (527984) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288516)

I agree; if they implement this, the money should go to expanding the subway or putting a new useful road somewhere. What I don't like is the way it doesn't affect the rich in the least. Granted, they will spend the most money downtown, but the poor don't live in expensive suburbs; they mingle and transverse the bustling (congested) hub.

.NET? (-1, Flamebait)

b0r0din (304712) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288320)

I thought it was being called Windows Server 2003 now...

Re:.NET? (3, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288349)

I thought it was being called Windows Server 2003 now...

In case this isn't a troll: .NET Server is being called Server 2003. The .NET technology is still called .NET; when you see .NET translate to "MS's analog to Java."

Re:.NET? (1)

cataBob (529363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288357)

Windows Server 2003 is just the name of their new server operating system. They aren't changing the name of the .net framework...

will this help? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288321)

First post! Will this improve the congestion though?

Good thing... (5, Funny)

trbogie (608396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288324)

It's a good thing James Bond has those switchable license plates.

Re:Good thing... (5, Funny)

stroudie (173480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288495)

A pedant writes...

James Bond works for MI6 - who are based at Vauxhall Cross, on the South bank of the Thames.
Happily this is just outside the congestion charging zone, so no five-pounds-a-day for Mr.Bond.

The map is here (pdf) [cclondon.com]

.NET to the rescue! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288325)

.NET to the rescue! Long live Microsoft!!!!

The powers of .NET (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288327)

Maybe they're utilizing .NET to host this article?

Not addressed in the article (0, Interesting)

JohnCub (56178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288329)

Why in the world don't they just make the roads bigger? Doesn't that seem to be the logical route, rather than rely on high technology? Sure, I'm all for high tech, but we're talking about roads and traffic. People might be displaced, but they would get fair market for their houses, if the system is the same as it is here in the US.

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

Benwick (203287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288338)

This just leads to more sprawl.

Re:Not addressed in the article (2, Insightful)

gentlemoose (313278) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288363)

Have you been to London? The city was in place years before the asphalt, years before the cars. In order to revamp the roads, they'd have to raze the homes of tens and tens of thousands of people. Unlikely.

Re:Not addressed in the article (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288461)

In order to revamp the roads, they'd have to raze the homes of tens and tens of thousands of people

Yes, but they would be able to relocate very quickly.

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

JamesO (56897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288371)


It's kind of hard to make roads bigger in the middle of one of the world's nicer capital cities. The tourists (not to mention the locals) are likely to object to demolishing so many landmarks...

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

inburito (89603) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288382)

Umm.. maybe because of buildings?

Re:Not addressed in the article (4, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288385)

Why in the world don't they just make the roads bigger? Doesn't that seem to be the logical route, rather than rely on high technology?

Too damned expensive to take all that real estate by eminent domain, would increase parking requirements requiring even more real estate to be taken, some of it isn't houses, it's office towers, and even then it wouldn't solve the air quality issue. Singapore has AFAIK been doing pretty much the same thing for a while.

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288389)

Bigger roads means: 1. More traffic 2. More greenhouse gases 3. More smog 4. More urban sprawl 5. More roads repeat Besides, have you seen Metro London? I don't believe there is more room for roads.

Deeply impractical (1)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288394)

The idea of demolishing buildings to widen roads wouldn't work:
The area the system overs is only the central area of the City, and the buildings in question would either be company headquarters, protected buildings (of historical value etc) or just plain too big to completely remove.

Re:Deeply impractical (1)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288452)

Here on Long Island, NY (USA) they widened a major expressway to allow more vehicles. The problem is that in order to get Federal funds, that had to promise a HOV lane. So basically millions of dollars were spent to increase the width of a highway to add one lane that only 5% of the people use during rush hour.

Re:Not addressed in the article (4, Insightful)

mshomphe (106567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288396)

As someone here on Slashdot eloquently said, building bigger roads to deal with a traffic problem is like using a bigger belt to deal with a weight problem.

The charge will encourage people to use public transportation.

Have you ever been to London? (3, Interesting)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288418)

London doesn't have the room to widen the roads. The road layout in the centre of London is in many places hundreds of years old. None of the US-Style grid system.

The cost of widening roads in central London would be astronomical - not to mention the fact that there are a lot of very old buildings that you can't just knock a bit off from.

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

Pike65 (454932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288426)

Because they'd have to knock down large parts of London to do it. In the centre it's one of the most densely packed cities I know of.

Besides, displacing people would be difficult. Displacing Harrods? Not a hope in hell - however much you pay them.

Re:Not addressed in the article (4, Interesting)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288430)

It's a small country. The UK has roughly 1/5 the population of the US, most of them in England, but a miniscule land area. We have built bigger roads, but then people just take the opportunity to live further and further away from work. There are 3 million more cars on the road since 1997 and average commuting distances have done something like treble over the last 20 years. We are already well over capacity as far as cars are concerned.

Re:Not addressed in the article (2, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288436)

Why in the world don't they just make the roads bigger? Doesn't that seem to be the logical route, rather than rely on high technology?

This is central London; it's an old city, with really expensive real estate, stuffed full of heritage sites. We're only talking about an area of a few square miles.

Re:Not addressed in the article (3, Interesting)

Lebannen (626462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288440)

I can't figure out if this is a troll, but as it's been marked Insightful....

We're talking central London. very Central London. This is all office blocks, shops, and clubhouses. Property here is really expensive, and real estate is at a premium. Widening the roads would either require rebuilding practically the whole of the area or removing pedestrian walkways. Neither is practical.

The point of the congestion charge is however to move traffic onto the public transport systems instead. Of which both the bus and tube networks are overcrowded anyway, especially the Tube. The Govn't claims the Tube isn't overcrowded, but the Underground regularly closes stations due to overcrowding and is jam-packed* for a very broad definition of 'Rush Hour'.

At the moment, of course, a couple of the arterial underground lines are closed due to a derailment that happened a couple of weeks ago. This has made it oh so much worse...


*Disclaimer: not as full as systems like the Tokyo tube, obviously, but London isn't nearly as dense and could be vastly improved.

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

JohnCub (56178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288537)

I guess I can see the point of not doing it then, as I've never been to england. I do think more cities should reconsider their downtown arrangements, though. Sure, it would be costly and there would be less space for businesses and housing, but so long as people can get in and out, the property values would do nothing but increase and buildings would go higher instead of having more girth. This increased property value would repay the city in the form of higher taxes etc...

And, no, I wasn't trying to be trollish. I'm often confused about elementary principles.

Re:Not addressed in the article (3, Informative)

horza (87255) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288460)

Have you any idea how expensive property in London is? 1/2 millions dollars will only get you a modest 2 bedroom flat in a reasonable area. There is no upper limit on the price of flats in the centre. Trust me, this is not feasable on any scale.

Phillip.

Re:Not addressed in the article (4, Interesting)

ponxx (193567) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288465)

> Why in the world don't they just make the roads bigger?

Somehow that reminds me of the infamous Marie Antoinette quote "Let them eat cake". The whole problem is that there is *no* space left in london to make roads bigger and wider. As for sprawl, commuters already live as far as 1-2 hours train car/train journey away. I think anywhere short of tearing down the whole city and rebuilding it US style (and I have to say I much prefer the crowded London over the endless sprawl of LA) the only solution is to get people on public transport.

Charging a fee for a rare good (space on roads in this case) is something that should be very natural to capitatlists around the world, yet many countries such as the US or Germany (or Britain in fact) see the free use of roads as a divine right no-one should interfere with (while at the same time complaining about large governments and tax..).

Re:Not addressed in the article (4, Informative)

op00to (219949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288466)

You picked the wrong time to say that...:) I'm an Urban Planning student. Building more roads is actually worse for your transportation infrastructure because if a road is not congested, more people will use it, and if the road is widened, traffic usually gets WORSE within 1 year than better. (Eg a 10 minute trip with old roads now takes 13-15 minutes). I was recently in london, and there is NO PLACE to build a new road where it is needed most. Also, it is against certain zoning regulations to change the current roads. Also, emminent domain "fair market" is BS for the homeowner. They gov't will never give you as much as it's really worth, because you have no bargaining poisition. If you don't accept their offer, they'll just condemn your house, and you don't get anything! Fun! More roads is NOT the answer -- smart driving, use of public transit, and better services outside the city core would be a more effective way of eliminating congestion in the center than just building more roads, which means more pollution anyhow.

Bigger roads mean more traffic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288467)

Typical fucktard [urbandictionary.com] reasoning.
Have you never noticed how the more roads you build, the more traffic you get?

Re:Not addressed in the article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288482)

>Why in the world don't they just make the roads bigger?

(I live in London and work in the city center, so I speak from first-hand experience.)

Because London is incredibly crowded and there is absolutely no place for them to put more roads without knocking down houses and buildings.

>Sure, I'm all for high tech, but we're talking about roads
>and traffic. People might be displaced, but they would
>get fair market for their houses, if the system is the same
>as it is here in the US.

And where would they get the money for paying people "fair market value" for their houses? This is London - my small two bedroom flat (in a semi-sleazy part of town) cost over 130,000 *pounds* (over $214,000 at the current exchange rate). Terraced houses easily cross 200,000 pounts in this area of town, and easily over 300,000 pounds in nicer areas. A terraced house is *maybe* 50 feet wide - tops - and is flush up against another terraced house on the other side. You do the math and figure out how much it will cost to put in a *single mile* of new road if you have to knock down a mile of terraced houses to do it. And that's *before* you factor in construction cost.

And don't forget, by the time you get near the city center, you're not talking about knocking down houses, but big, old 5-story stone and brick buildings worth millions of pounds

Re:Not addressed in the article (1)

mikewas (119762) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288487)

New York City has been doing this for years.

By the time the road is complete there are populations shifts in anticipation of the road's completion. People move to neighborhoods that are now more desirable because better access is on its way. Buildings are renovated or new condos/apartments get put in. Areas that had been filled with people who used public transportation are now filled with folks who are affluent enough to have cars. By the time the new roads/lanes are carrying traffic they have too little capacity for the increased population.

Re:Not addressed in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288542)

go to london sometime and marvel at streets that were originally designed to take a single horse and cart a very very long time ago.

too much history is there to just tear everything down and build a bigger road.

this aint jaws, even if we do need a bigger boat ;)

Seriously (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288332)

BBC is reporting that Londoners will have to pay a 5 pound "Congestion Charge"...

Charging tolls for access to roads is a waste of time and money. It's the years 2003 I mean come on!

Umm.... (0)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288334)

Now not only does slashdot post duplicate stories, but they have a link to the duplicated story in the summary. It's a good plan, as it pre-empts the 500 karma-whores from posting the link in the discussion.

Oh Yeah? (1)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288480)

Like that'll stop people from linking to the previous article [slashdot.org] . I doubt half the people on /. even bother to read the whole story or click on the links before jumping to the comments.

Mod me up, proles!

OT: Mastek (0, Offtopic)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288335)

I worked for Mastek... briefly. All Indian company. I was flying all over the place for them, but they took weeks and weeks to reimburse me for my travel expenses. Also, instead of mailing me plane tickets, I had to drive to their office to pick 'em up every week. What a headache. Very very poor employee service. Thank god I'm out of the industry now!

Re:OT: Mastek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288403)

That's what we do to low quality workers. Try harder next time, ok?

A bit late... (4, Insightful)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288336)

This is true, but the plans, adverts and cameras have been in place for about 6 months by now...

Another exclusive scoop by Slashdot?
Hmm.

Charge? (4, Interesting)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288341)

When I saw Traffic Congestion Charge I had a vision of a quantity of C4 blasting the cars out of the highway lane in front of me in the morning.

Actually, as a highly paid engineer god, I would support a minor usage fee for freeway access during rush hour to clear out some of the riffraff. :-) A few years back our local highway department ran a survey and found aout that almost half the people on the freeway in the afternoon rush really didn't *need* to be there.

Re:Charge? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288506)

A few years back our local highway department ran a survey and found aout that almost half the people on the freeway in the afternoon rush really didn't *need* to be there.

Out of curiosity, what does "need" mean in this context? Rushing to the hospital or finishing work at 5 and going home?

Re:Charge? (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288521)

people on the freeway in the afternoon rush really didn't *need* to be there

Need to be there? Who cares?!?!?! Maybe I just want to go for a drive or I'm lost. I have a right to use the roads that my tax dollars pay for, yet I often am subject to tolls that supposedly go towards maintenance fees. When the Golden Gate Bridge was built, the plan was to only charge a toll until the cost of the bridge was completed. Once they met that mark, they said that they needed the money to pay for maintenance. We knew at the beginning that once they start charging us for something, they'll never stop.

And if you look at how much they collect per month on the GGB compared to what it costs to maintain it, you'll see that they collect much more than they need. So why don't they lower the toll? They aren't supposed to be making a profit. But that extra money is already being spent and they don't want to stop now.

I drive to Seattle from my home in Burien (10 miles away) twice per day to take my GF to work and to pick her up. That means that I'm on the road twice as much as usual commuters because I have to make two trips. I do this because it's much cheaper than paying for parking in downtown Seattle. I don't like driving in heavy traffic anymore than the next guy but I have a right to use the roads that I need to use, an so does everyone else that is on the road. Saying that someone doesn't *need* to use the road is dumb. The road is there, paid for by taxpayers, and should be used by taxpayers whenever they want to use it.

The organisers' names will be MUD... (0, Funny)

Ann O'Nymous-Coward (460094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288346)

Or they will be when they realise that:

1. Lousy London Weather

2. Muddy Roads (or, maybe deliberately applied mud smears, shh)
3. Obscured number plates ...
n. _NO_ PROFIT!

Circumvention (3, Interesting)

Marxist Commentary (461279) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288348)

This will surely be circumvented. Red light cameras in the us are routinely circumvented via a cover for the license plate that causes the camera to take a photo that doesn't turn out. My inital thought - wear a ski mask.

If the government is that strapped for revenue, then they should just raise taxes on the wealthy.

Don't troll so obviously... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288405)

it makes it alot less funny.

Re:Circumvention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288413)

people in london _are_ the wealthy.

Re:Circumvention (2, Insightful)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288443)

If the government is that strapped for revenue, then they should just raise taxes on the wealthy. ..and watch 'em bolt offshore in droves. Worked for the Beatles and the Stones.

Re:Circumvention (1)

FatEnzo (575609) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288544)

nup - there are *people* out there too, just like ticket wardens, who will be checking plates as well ;-(

Congestion charge (1)

DonkeyJimmy (599788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288351)

BBC is reporting that Londoners will have to pay a 5 pound "Congestion Charge" starting Feb 17.

Wow, I don't think I have that much congestion, but then, if I had a british nose...

Website link (4, Informative)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288362)

Oh, and here's the website:
http://www.cclondon.com/ [cclondon.com]

OLD news (0, Offtopic)

interdigitate (592865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288372)

this has been known for over a year now!!

Won't work. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288377)


The cameras will be focused on the wrong side of the roads. All they'll get are pictures of the car hoods.

There is money to be made here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288379)


Imagine if every single person had to pay a "congestion charge" who was waiting on line outside your mother's bedroom for a blow job. They'd clear millions in a matter of days.

How come...? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288383)


How come the editors can find a duplicate story from six months back, but never a story that they posted within the previous few days or hours?

The centre will be clearer. The outskirts won't be (5, Informative)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288416)

Since people won't be able to drive around the centre of London much less park there they will go and park immediately outside the Congestion Zone which will cause havoc. Fortunately some car parks have already taken note of this and are charging a daily rate of £4.60

It's not going to scale (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288419)

I've been working with .NET and all I have to say it, it won't scale. With the amount of traffic it's going to have to handle, pure and simple it's not going to scale. Just because it works for a half dozen cars a minute, doesn't mean it will work for less than ideal situations or massive congestion.

Re:It's not going to scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288455)

troll alert... I've been using (.net/java/perl/c++/asm) and I have to say its (great/sucks/won't scale). It has been my observation that no technology can scale when implemented by the clueless as you obviously are.

What about anti-photographic measures? (4, Interesting)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288421)

I'll assume these are illegal [phantomplate.com] in London, yes? If not, I plan on buying stock in any UK based company that makes these.

Re:What about anti-photographic measures? (1)

inetuid (582204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288468)

Just about everything is illegal in the UK (of which London is a part for the geographically challenged).

Time to..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288425)

Looks like its time to start stealing license plates.

5 pounds (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288431)

For those not in the know, thats 5 pounds of money. Or, for the metrically inclined, its about 2.3 kilos of money. This roughly equates to a metric ass-load.

No surprise here... (0, Offtopic)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288446)

This is exactly why you don't let your city put up cameras to patrol the streets instead of police officers. If they're controlled by the government, they'll just find a way to tax you with them, among other problems.

The city of London is getting EXACTLY what it deserves. I just hope more of it comes their way.

These are not the same cameras. (2, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288517)

These aren't the same cameras as the police ones.

How would you suggest handling London's congestion problems?

Re:No surprise here... (0)

rogueuk (245470) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288543)

the city of london has been needing something to decrease the congestion. if this is what it takes, then i'm all for it. i'd rather this then the situation getting worse.

i don't see this as being just a problem with cameras. if they didn't have cameras they could just as easily set up toll booths.

i think your bias against security cameras is getting in the way of looking at this as a solution to a different problem. if they didn't have cameras, they would have to pay more for toll booths and police instead of hitting two birds with one stone. it's cheaper and hopefully it will solve the traffic problem

Sad News: Queen Mum dead at 109 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288447)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio- famed gangsta rapper the Queen Mum, 109 was found dead at Buckingham Palace. The wealthy parasite was electrocuted in her bathtub by a plugged-in sex toy. Even if you did not enjoy her music, there is no denying her contributions to hardcore violent rap. Truly an English icon!

Attack of Papadom servers (1)

gabbarsingh (207183) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288454)

expect curry flavored tickets in the mail.

Getting Around It (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288459)

I heard about something similar on the BBC a couple days ago, apparently a dose of hair spray on the license plate fouls up the reflectivity of plates, foiling the cameras.

There was some cartoon, ages ago, where a girl always seemed to fix car problems with a can of hair spray. That cartoon was visionary.

Britain Sucks. (0, Troll)

YardgnomeUT (448792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288471)

So sad. What used to be a mighty empire is now the land of government run spy cameras, tabloids for newspapers, unfair tolls, and Hugh Grant.

Why do English people have disgusting teeth? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288473)

Filthy yellowish-black decaying teeth with breath that smells like dog shit. Even wealthy parasites like the royal family have awful rotting teeth. Why is this?

Re:Why do English people have disgusting teeth? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288513)

Bad toothpaste??

Re:Why do English people have disgusting teeth? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288527)


The man reason for the English having disgusting mouths is they refuse to rinse Cmrd taco's cum out after he finishes. At least that explains why all the men have rotting pie holes. The women probably have mangled mouths due to men punching them for speaking out of turn or trying to learn how to read.

This project is doomed to fail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5288474)


Please, read this entire post it may initially look like a troll but it most certainly is not.

The software is being developed by an Indian software company. I used to sell a lot of Computer Associates backup solutions, until they switched their phone support from New York to India. Whenever you call them for tech support, often times in a "system down" scenario, the language barrier to too much to overcome. Often what could quickly be resolved with proper communication takes hours or even longer, and in some cases has resulted in things becoming more broken than when you started.

As a result, I never recommend CA software anymore for mission-critial servers. Their competition does not have this problem.

Now the first time this London congestion software goes on the fritz, some toothless brit will call a sand nig on the phone and try and solve it. Neither of them speak proper english, so who know what the fuck they will talk about. They will probably end up changing the software in some odd exchange of communication, and in the end come p with some really shitty code, like slash code or worse yet Linux itself. Then the two will meet in Arfica and suck each other's dicks, and then they will argue about whether the stench is the englishman's breath or the indian's BO. In reality, the smells are from all the rotten fried chicken bones and watermelon rinds piling up in Africa.

Experience has shown this to happen again and again. When will we learn our lesson?

Just to be absolutely clear.. (5, Interesting)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288478)

The main aim of this is not to raise money. It is to discourage people from driving into central London. All the funds raised have to go into improving public transport (basically buses, as the Tube is at or near capacity) by law.

What is sad is that, while everyone agrees Something Must Be Done About Traffic, it is seen as a huge political gamble for Ken Livingstone, the London Mayor, whom all the political parties hate (he was even kicked out of the Labour Party and stood as an independent candidate). He's got the nerve to at least try and sort out the problem, and whatever his politics, I admire him for that.

Re:Just to be absolutely clear.. (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288538)

The main thing is to raise money. Traffic reduction is a side benefit which allows the program to be sold to people.

Satch? (3, Funny)

Sunkist (468741) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288483)

Louis Armstrong, RICS chief executive, said: "RICS is broadly in favour of congestion charging, but this survey echoes concerns already raised by us; that whilst the scheme may succeed in reducing traffic in central London, it may have the reverse effect on the areas bordering the charging zone."

then Satch proceeded into a hot and blistering 3 minute jazz solo and closed with "What a wonderful world".

So on muddy days, ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288484)

everybody drives free?

Since the Indian article makes no mention of any obfuscation-defeating technology being employed, what is to prevent people from smearing on the mud, and claiming to have hit a puddle if stopped by the bobbies?

Boundary of the Charging Zone (4, Informative)

aallan (68633) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288492)

For those of you not too familiar with London, a map of central London with the congestion charging zone can be found here [cclondon.com] on the Transport for London [cclondon.com] website.

In brief, you're being charged 5 pounds per day inside to drive inside the congestion charging zone, which covers most of central London. The charge applies from 7.00am till 6.30pm Mondays to Fridays excluding Public Holidays (of which we get alot fewer than you 'merkins), the charge doesn't apply at weekends, and there exemptions and discounts available if you actually live within the zone or are disabled.

Considering how heavy the traffic in central London actually is, anything that might actually provide a bit of relief is welcome.

Al.

Facial Recognition (3, Insightful)

Lynn Benfield (649615) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288498)

By far the scariest aspect (curiously un-mentioned by the Mayor) is that these cameras will be hooked up to facial recognition [guardian.co.uk] software.

In theory, just those covering a small section of London (the financial district) - but I have no doubts this will be extended to cover the whole city in time (after all, it's touted as "automatically identifying suspects or known criminals" so what government in the world would turn down the chance).

I find this far more disturbing - paying to try and alleviate congestion is fine (London is very crowded, and a similar scheme did help alleviate the traffic problems in Singapore when congestion charges were introduced there), paying for the privilege of being treated as a potential criminal is more than a little scary...

.NET - ha (5, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288500)

My last company was invited to work with the contractors for this. We'd done some work with the Criminal Records Bureau. The Congestion charging scheme was falling behind schedule and they were hoping for all the input they could muster.

The .NET bit was some sort of high-up choice, probably to do with Microsoft's cosying up to "New" Labour to roll out Passport based e-government services [since rolled back in again].

The web operation is supposed to be a front end to everything, tbh the diagrams we were shown were a right spaghetti.

I can't remember what questions I asked but they were answered with blank stares and shrugs.

I'm glad they found some contractors. I really didn't want to do it [I'd danced with the Devil back in IIS4 days and have burnt toes].

The charging wont really help congestion on it's own. London is the worst place in the UK to drive round. 1mph is not much fun on a daily basis. Yet London has the best mass transport system in the UK but then again it doesn't have much competition.

The root cause of Uk traffic problems are the insistence that the rail network should be open to competition so we have 8 rail operators competing by running trains to different destinations. How trains in the SE compete with trains in the NW is unclear to me. Instead of decent travel we have bare bones operations where cut corners cost lives.

The road freight operators and subsidised by other road users whereas the railways have to pay in full for their tracks.

A forward sighted govt. would realise that inter-city rail travel should be invested in for the benefit of the people but hey profits not people is the rally cry of the capitalists.

Rail travel should be the mode of choice over 50 miles. Instead it is cheaper to travel by car.
I can drive the family from here to the capital and back [about 150 miles] for about £25. Take the train and we're looking at £120 for the four of us.

And then they wonder why the place of chock full of cars !

.NYET (1)

Biff98 (633281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288502)

I am beink her all ze week.

LCD shutters for license plates (4, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288515)

Someone had a solution for this... A pair of LCD shutters for the license plate, each covering half of the digits. They turn on and off rapidly (so it wouldn't be too noticable to the eye) and exactly out of sequence. Thus, any photograph taken with a reasonably short exposure would capture only of the plate. A video camera would capture the whole plate on successive frames, but no single frame would have the entire plate number. Thus, the OCR would fail.

A spinning fan in front of the plate would also do the trick, but might take off someone's fingers.

Here's a googled automatic license plate reader. [pipstechnology.com]

The Getaway on PS2 (2, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288519)

Do you think the sequel will feature Congestion Charging?

Why not pass a law? (3, Funny)

PackMan97 (244419) | more than 11 years ago | (#5288522)

If commuters are the problem, why not pass a law prohibiting companies within the congestion zone from hiring employees that don't live in the congestion zone? That should take care the problem.

For every problem there is a law that can solve it!

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