Thursday 20 December 2007

The Green Party - daft as

My very good friends in the Green Party (none of whom is actually green, by the way, except on the day after their Christmas party) are opposing the abolition of tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges today.

Fair enough, except for the argument they're using. It goes like this - removing the tolls will increase congestion.


In a house in Fife - "I say darling, how do you fancy a day out shopping in Edinburgh?"
"Marvellous idea, darling, shall we take the car?"
"Well, let's see - that will be a few pounds in fuel, the parking charges in Edinburgh are extortionate - probably another tenner, we'll be spending an absolute fortune in the shops, we'll probably have a coffee in one of those eye-wateringly expensive coffee shops - say a fiver for two coffees and a couple of miniscule cakes. That's all very well, but adding on a pound for the bridge tolls is taking it a bit far - let's get the train."

Fast forward to post-removal and the house next door - "Fancy a day shopping in Edinburgh?"
"Oh no, I strongly dislike going to Edinburgh."
"But there's no bridge tolls anymore."
"Oh well, in that case, let's take the car."

Aye, right. The current bridge tolls are not a disincentive to travelling across the bridge and their removal will not increase congestion. In fact, there is a case to argue that the overbraking caused by vehicles slowing down at the toll plaza to pay creates a traffic queue which makes pollution at the bridge site worse than it would otherwise be.

See Greens? Grand folks, but you wouldn't eat all of them.


James Mackenzie said...

Grand, Calum, you promised me a bit of criticism, and you've delivered. Didn't your own Minister say that he accepted the removal of tolls would lead to increased traffic, though?

Calum Cashley said...

Don't think so. He did say "Nonetheless, we do not anticipate that the volume of traffic using the crossing at the peak hour will be materially different" (col 4757), but I can't find him saying traffic would increase.