Congestion Charging for Wellington?

The Regional (not City) Council is pushing for a law change to allow congestion charging for motorists.

Generally I support congestion charging as a sensible user pays method. Implementation details and cost effectiveness are not minor issues though.

One model, developed by a council-contracted consultant, suggests charging motorists between $1.50 and $4.50 to drive into the city business district. The congestion charge would apply on weekdays between 7am and 9am. Motorists would also have to pay to leave the zone from 4pm to 6pm.

The costs talked about do not seem unduly high.

The council conceded the public could baulk at a congestion charge, with motorists already facing record petrol prices. But the proposal’s backers say it is designed to get people out of their cars and on to and trains.

I am a regular bus user, but would be concerned if any revenue from congestion charging went only on public transport. It should also be used to improve roads, such as the bypass. is a complement to roads, not a substitute.

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