Farewell Congestion Charge?

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TfL has announced proposals to remove the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge by 24 December 2010. The Mayor had previously pledged to drop the CCharge extension during the election - a promise which has since been twice delayed.

If dropped, new charges for the remaining Congestion Charge zone will come into effect from 4th January 2011, with the CCharge set to rise from £8 to £10 per day. A new Auto Pay scheme will drop the cost of entering the zone to £9 for participants who join.

It's impressive that the Mayor is sticking to his election promises despite the harsh economic climate, and TfL's empty pockets.

However, one has to wonder if this shouldn't have given Mr Johnson enough scope to justifiably shelve the move. After all, the shrinking of the zone will cost TfL an estimated £55m a year at a time when every little counts. With TfL's coffers stretched and Government efficiency savings threatening key transport projects in London, is this really the time to be making things more difficult for yourself?