Is a congestion tax around the corner?

A long held suspicion of this blog has been that the introduction of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags was to enable the creation of a congestion tax for entering town (https://www.21square.com/2007/04/solving_our_tra.html). Being that congestion taxes are usually initially seen as unfavorable by the public it is likely that Premier Brown has waited until getting a mandate before anouncing it. If introduced, such a tax could do much to reduce congestion with the proceeds likely going towards the costs of free transportation.

While long time readers of this blog would know of this writer’s support for such an initiative, they may also recall the preference of such an initiative being implemented as a 6 month trial as was done in Stockholm (https://www.21square.com/2007/04/traffic_solutio_2.html). Such would allow for the people to have a say in whether it makes a difference by providing followup studies of it’s effectiveness and a public plebicite (also known as a vote) being held to let the people decide if the policy was effective. This course of action however is less than likely as public consultation at this point would delay a plan likely years in the works and having a mandate means it’d be a trivial matter now anyway. None the less, hopefully we’ll see what impact a congestion tax can do to decrease traffic.

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2 thoughts on “Is a congestion tax around the corner?

  1. If you look at a congestion tax for Hamilton in isolation, then it’s not a bad idea. However, one major flaw with such a concept is the reality of Bermuda’s geography. Hamilton is not a city that has (or can have) a bypass ring road. Anyone coming from the west trying to access most of Pembroke needs to either drive straight through Hamilton else drive to Devonshire & attempt to navigate a very indirect route to north shore in order to try to get into Pembroke from the north side (all that would do is move congestion somewhere else). In my case, I drive through Hamilton every day not because I wish to, but because it is the only practical way to get from my home in Paget to take my infant son to his sitter in the Spanish Point area. Public transit is not a practical option unless I want to turn a 30 minute trip to work into a much longer ordeal with multiple busses and long uphill walks (x2 when I collect my son to take him home at night). The lack of affordable or even available childcare is a huge and well known problem in Bermuda — as a result changing sitters so that my son’s daycare is more convenient to public transit is just not a practical option. In short, I’m stuck driving through Hamilton whether or I want to or not, and regardless of whether or not there is a congestion tax in place. The only way for a congestion tax to affect people’s behaviour is if they have alternate choices. Since the purpose of congestion tax is not to raise revenue but rather reduce traffic volumes, it is doomed to failure unless people actually have the option to avoid driving themselves. Once there is away to avoid driving through the city to get to west Pembroke (express tunnel under front street?), or when I can find affordable and reliable child care close to my home or near to public transit, then maybe a congestion tax can be my disincentive to drive into & through the city. However, until then, trying to tax me for driving through Hamilton during the work week does nothing to affect my behaviour and just adds another non-discretionary expense into my budget.

  2. I agree with the first comment. I live on Pitts’ Bay Road West and unfortunately frequently drive through Hamilton to get to my Dr.& Dentist & relatives – who are mostly located in Paget – and to get to S. Shore locations, Dockyard etc. I would love an alternative to having to drive throught Hamilton, but……………….

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