London has reduced traffic within the city centre by about 19% since implementing a toll of 8 pounds (that converts to be about $567.54). Now officials are considering raising the toll to 25 pounds (amount incalculable in 'merican dollars - my calculator is still smoking) for SUV 4X4 offroader Earthfucker mobiles like the Dodge Destroyer, Ford GaiaSlayer, and Chrysler Excessive, and the Infinity XHJ5879628546543.2.
Critics argue that this higher toll will keep families from visiting London, making day trips cost-prohibitive. I find this argument really really weak. With gas costing about 1 pound per LITER (there are, what, more than 4 liters per gallon?), I don't think the drivers of autos that get about 6 MPG are hurtin' for cash. I'm of the opinion that there should be a special lane for these SUVs, manned (what is the gender-neutral term for "manned"? "Personned?" "Humanned"?) by an attendant who can physically count the occupants of the vehicle.
I can count the number of SUV's and huge-ass SUV's containing more than one person on one hand during my commute in either direction. 99% of the time it's a lone occupant, usually seated on the driver's side, wearing hyperexpensive shades and chatting on a cell phone. In an extensive study conducted earlier today during half of my lunch break, in a test area to and from PetSmart, I counted 76 SUVs on the road, 14 of which were bigger than, say, the moon. Of these 14 moving vehicles, 3 had occupants that I could see - each containing only one occupant per vehicle. My view of the occupants of other other 11 was obstructed by a passing weather satellite.
My vote is for London to implement this higher toll, and I really don't believe it will effect that many drivers. They could choose to make exceptions for vehicles of the huge-ass variety that are actually transporting families, or at least more than just one person - like a car-pool exception. For those solo drivers who really don't want to pay the 25 pounds, Coventry had a fabulous shuttle service in and out of the city that London could imitate if she hasn't done so already. In Coventry it cost a small fee to purchase a parking sticker plus a pound fifty to take the bus into the city. Having driven through Coventry at rush hour, I can't tell you what a great idea this was. It greatly reduced my stress level, and kept the population of the town intact, its inhabitants safe from my driving skills which in English cities of any population are reduced to prayers, loud cursing, closed eyes, and heart palpitations.