By December 11th 2008, the people of Manchester will either approve or reject a Congestion Charge – similar to the one that was introduced in London in 2003.
The Congestion Charge would apply at peak times (7.30am – 9am travelling towards Manchester, 4pm – 6.30pm travelling out), Monday to Friday.
The Charge would then be used to pay for improvements to public transport and roads throughout Greater Manchester (although the charge would only be introduced when at least 80% of these improvements are in operation – according to GMPTE).
So what does all this mean for MediaCityUK? If the Congestion Charge gets approved, we can expect the following changes affecting travel to and from MediaCityUK -
- more trams to increase passenger capacity to and from Eccles and Salford Quays/MediaCityUK
- The frequency of trams to Pomona, Exchange Quay, Salford Quays, Anchorage and Harbour City will double to every six minutes by autumn 2010
- trams every 12 minutes from Eccles to Ashton-under-Lyne and MediaCityUK to Ashton by summer 2012
- a new Quays Bus service every 20 minutes from Salford Crescent Train Station to MediaCityUK and on to Oxford Road station
- extra carriages and station improvements for Salford Central and Salford Crescent Train Stations
So far so good for MediaCityUK. But it’s not all good news…
If you’re travelling into MediaCityUK by car (and live outside of the outer ring) the Charge could cost you £3 a day – upto £1,000 a year. That is a considerable amount when you realise the average take-home wage in Greater Manchester is around £1,200 a month.
The Congestion Charge could also have a significant knock-on effect for local business, shops and bars, making Manchester a more expensive place to live and work, and these issues could become a deterrent for companies and individuals considering a move to MediaCityUK.
So what do you think? Are you for or against the Congestion Charge? Cast your vote in the poll below, and leave a comment to explain your reasons – especially if MediaCityUK has any bearing on your decision…
If you haven’t decided yet, you can read more about the proposals from GMPTE here, or view reasons for voting against the Charge on the Stop The Charge website. BBC Manchester also has some useful tools for finding out if and how you would be charged if the Congestion Charge came into effect.