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Scandinavia Today / Sweden


Fall in private traffic into central Goteborg and increase in Bus travel as congestion charge works

Thursday, 24 January 2013
Congestion tax in Gothenburg has had a greater impact than expected. The number of passengers on pubic transport such as buses  has increased by 30 percent since January, according to latest data. But the protest to call for a referendum on the congestion zone continues to be strong with more signature being collected.

According to Line de Verdier of the Goteborg public transport organisation, Västtrafik, the development has been fantastic and better than they had expected, reports Swedish daily, Goteborg Posten (GP)

Tolls on cars driving into central Goteborg, Sweden were introduced in January 6th, which was also challenged and debated on between opponents and proponents. Now, for the respect of the law, it has turned out that traffic by private cars has fallen dramatically since then, with 15 percent fewer motorists driving into central Gothenburg for fear of paying Skr 8 per time of driving in. This means all that traffic has moved to the public traffic systems with busses and trams seeing their passenger rates increasing dramatically.

By far the biggest change is the major approach roads. The motor way E6 from the north and Highway 40, whose traffic declined by 11 percent during the payment period.
Also it is said that the travel time has been shortened from between 18 and 31 minutes to 13 - 15 minutes. A car driving between for example,  Kungälv and Tingstadstunneln now takes 14 minutes compared to 25 minutes prior to the introduction of the congestion charge according to GP. The number of bus passengers has increased from 2550 to 3300. As such every third traveller today takes the bus to Gothenburg on the motor way E6 during morning rush hour.

The number of car drivers and car passengers has decreased from 8200 to 6900 between the hours of 07am - 09 am.

Will this situation described as positive effect of the congestion taxing persists? This is the question sme people are asking. Learning from history and test in other places, it could feel as if it will work. So compared to Stockholm, congestion charge for trips to the inner city has been on for seven years, and the results in relations to traffic flow are consistently good according to the authorities.

During the congestion taxing period, traffic in the city dropped by about 20 percent, compared with 2005. Moreover, 2012 had the lowest levels of traffic since the introduction. Reducing vehicle traffic has also improved air quality.

When it was introduced in Stockholm, there was intense resistance but today public opinion has shifted. In a survey from 2011, 70 percent responded that they would vote "yes" to support the congestion zone, compared with 30 percent positive support for it  before the introduction of the congestion charge.

In Goteborg, 40 000 signatures were collected by the tabloid paper, GT to call for a referendum on the congestion charge because some  people living in the periphery of Goteborg thought that they were punitively charge for driving through Goteborg. In addition, some people were just against what they described as an undemocratic policy. According to GT, the goal was to collect 45,000 signatures by February 16,  that was reached on December 30. As of today the paper says that it has collect 52,256 signatures.
By Team

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