Sweden’s second city aims for congestion charges

Gothenburg's main avenue is already a restricted area for private cars.
Gothenburg’s main avenue is already a restricted area for private cars. Photo: Göran Assner.

The politicians of Gothenburg has now said yes to introducing congestion charges. Cleaner air and less traffic in the centre are two reasons for this, but what seems to be the main motive is to provide capital for big infrastructural projects in the region. For example several tunnels for both trains and cars are planned.

In the web edition of the Gothenburg newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, discussions are heated. Some people are overjoyed, others see it as a infringement on their personal freedom, or wonder if today’s public transport will be able to swallow more passengers. The debate is also strong over if it’s right to use the money from a congestion charge to finance road projects.

Now the process starts in order to apply for state funds to pay for the congestion charges. But even if these policies are worked on at lightning speed by political standards, it will still take some time before congestion charges can be reality for people in Göteborg. In 2011 they can come into force, at the earliest.

In Stockholm, congestion charges were introduced in 2007. Also here environmentalists have been criticizing local politicians for using the revenues from the charges mostly to finance new road projects instead of investing the money in sustainable means of transport.

  • Juan Vilamayor

    I think it is a great idea in order to reduce pollution and create a more citizenfriendly city. The money from the charges should be used to improve the public transport system, arrange more parking possibilities around the city and promote commuting from and to Göteborg. I wish people would use their cars less here in Barcelona!

  • Pol

    I had an opportunity to visit Barcelona several years ago. I noticed there are lots of taxi drivers, which was pretty inexpensive. The city has interesting parts, however it seems lots of city blocks are continuosly covered with buildings (maybe similar to Athens), with less green areas. An interesting to see solution, was the bycicle zones right in between some main city avenues as well as bus stations and trees, as well as monuments and fontains at circularized crossroads. …

  • Sara

    Now I found a figure I was looking for before. Since the congestion charges were introduced in Stockholm2007, traffic to and from the inner city has actually been reduced by almost 20 percent, according to local authorities. So the charges have proved to be rather effective here at least.

  • Pol

    How you count and pay the charges? Is it simply by zoning the parking places (so the bill pays who makes the stop); by paying at the ramp before entrance (preety unpractical for main streets); or by some automatic electronic devices and cards mounted in the cars and on the streets; or something else ?

  • Sara

    Pol: The congestion charge area is surrounded by “pay stations”, where cameras scan the cars’ license plates and register the car owner for the congestion charge. Then you pay in one of the shops connected to the pay system, within 14 days.

  • Pol

    Aha, interesting. But what about tourists, your police probably doesn`t have the information on who owns foreign cars and foreign drivers are probably less informed about charges. Does these cameras photograph all car or only the region around plates. What if the plates are covered or have shining reflective surfaces. What about people who live in these congestion areas, do they also pay, and if so where do they park their cars ?

  • Sara

    No, the charges only affect Swedish registered cars, so foreign cars pass the pay stations without being registered. And only cars who are actually passing the pay stations are registered, so those who are driven within the congestion zone aren’t charged either. Now there is also a system of congestion bills being sent to the car owner, so that people don’t have to remember to pay in the shops anymore. More information and links here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_congestion_tax

  • Pingback: Criticized road project approved

  • Pingback: Marisha Coonrod

  • Pingback: graco trekko 3-wheel stroller metropolis

  • Pingback: x-treme scooters xb-600

  • Pingback: bob revolution se single stroller reviews

  • Pingback: panasonic arc 5 es-lv61-a

  • Pingback: bosch clpk232-181 best price

  • Pingback: cannon security products ddv-s-01 lcd peephole door viewer

  • Pingback: bissell lift off 94y2 reviews

  • Pingback: silhouette cameo