Bogotá Needs a Congestion Fee!

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April 7, 2018

Bogotá Needs a Congestion Fee!

An every-day traffic jam in Bogotá.
‘Three to a car.’ A Petro-era plan to require
car-pooling was never enforced.

This week, transit experts are meeting in Bogotá at Corferias to discuss solutions for the horrendous traffic congestion in Bogotá and other big cities.

Noisy, polluting traffic in La Candelaria:
Making cycling, walking and
generally living unpleasant.

Bogotá has been consistently ranked as one of the traffic jammed cities in Latin America and in fact the world. And, unless authorities take strong action, the situation will only get worse and worse as thousands more cars and motorcycles are packed into its roads.

What’s the solution?

Pico y Placa has manifestly failed, and may even have made congestion and pollution worse by incentivizing the purchase of second cars.

The city’s weak promotions for car pooling have accomplished almost nothing.

A sign announing London’s
congestion charge zone.

And the city’s efforts to promote bicycling have been worthwhile, but their potential is limited. Colombia is not Holland. Only a small minority will ever be willing to ride bikes, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, the social and commercial pressures to drive, combined with big subsidies for cars, will continue crowding more vehicles onto our streets.

We can’t build out way out of this nightmare.

The only solution is a London-style congestion charge.

London’s congestion fee
increased cycling (blue).

The charge discourages driving.

The charge finances mass transit.

London’s congestion
fee reduced driving (red).

By reducing noise, congestion and pollution, the fee makes cycling and walking much more pleasant.

It’s the only solution.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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