ZB

Kerre Woodham: What needs to change for a congestion charge to work?

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Tue, 10 May 2022, 11:58am
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kerre Woodham: What needs to change for a congestion charge to work?

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Tue, 10 May 2022, 11:58am

I moved to the North Shore of Auckland in November of last year. After years and years of living in the central city it was a big move to go across the bridge. I fell completely and utterly in love with the North Shore lifestyle. It's completely different to being in the city.

The one big negative that people warned me about was Onewa Road.

That's the main road linking many different suburbs on the shore to the motorway, yet for six months I had absolutely no idea what people were talking about.

I moved during a lockdown, along came Omnicron at the beginning of the year, so people continued to work from home and I breezed along merrily enjoying a trouble-free commute.

23 minutes door to door. What were people going on about?

Well, last week, I found out everything changed after the school holidays. It seems there was a seismic shift, certainly in Auckland. My 20-minute commute has become a near 40-minute commute. That is a significant chunk of time.

If Auckland transport and the Government have their way, not only will I be sitting in traffic for 20 minutes longer, but I'll be paying for that privilege.

To be fair, it’s not just this Government that wants to see a congestion charge introduced. Labour, National, the Greens and ACT all support some form of congestion charging, but what's holding them back is the certainty that it's low-income households that will be hit hardest by congestion charges.

For congestion charges to work, that is to get people out of their cars and into alternative forms of transport, we have to improve public transport options. 

Congestion is a huge issue in our cities. In Auckland alone, the city loses up to $1.3 billion a year in productivity and that is only going to get worse as the city grows. So given this Government, of course, is keen on introducing a congestion charge, so is National, so are the Greens, so is ACT, it’s going to be a fact of life. 

What needs to change before you change? Before I change?