Westward Extension of Congestion Charging (Supplementary) [6]

Session date: 
January 14, 2004
Question By: 
Angie Bray
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Bob Kiley - Transport Commissioner


Since Mr Kiley is with us this morning, I think it is a shame to waste the opportunity to put a few questions to him. I wondered, Mr Kiley, if I could ask you what your opinion is on whether or not the westward extension of the Congestion Charge zone should be a priority at this time, given all the other pressures on the finances?


Answer for Westward Extension of Congestion Charging (Supplementary) [6]

Answer for Westward Extension of Congestion Charging (Supplementary) [6]

Answered By: 
Bob Kiley - Transport Commissioner

Well, as I think I have said before here, I tend to be very conservative on these matters. I said on 18 February what I will say now, and that is I will be a lot more comfortable embracing westward expansion or other initiatives once we get through 17 February and have a full year of experience under our belt.

I am very concerned that the contractor in this case has had a poor record in managing the customer-facing side of the existing Congestion Charge, and you all recall the renegotiation of that contract that occurred about six months ago. While there are some signs of improvement, Capita is a long way away from being where it needs to be. Automatically that raises an issue of what will happen in a westward expansion in terms of a procurement process. That is something we have to worry about as we get closer to the possibility that this will occur.

As the Mayor said, I think there will be a lot of listening going on during the various consultations that have to proceed before we reach a conclusion. I will be very interested myself in hearing what people have to say. I have already heard quite a lot about the design of the westward expansion that we have in front of us right now. Yes, there is some unease in our board about that. I do not think the board is running away from this, but I think they too want to see the existing year occur with a serious analysis of what has happened in the actual operation of the Charge.

We have no complaints about the management of the technology, I should quickly add here. Our concerns have all been on the customer side. You know what these issues are as well as I do. We have to get a lot better about that if we are going to do even more, and that may well be something that will be an issue in the procurement process.