NEW ZEBRA CROSSINGS ON CHURCH ROAD / CHANGES TO CONGESTION CHARGE PAYMENTS / £6 BILLION FUNDING TO TACKLE POTHOLES AND IMPROVE LOCAL ROADS / DRIVING LICENCES TO DISPLAY UNION FLAG / BARCLAYS CYCLE HIRE IN LONDON
NEW ZEBRA CROSSINGS ON CHURCH ROAD
FOUR NEW zebra crossings have been installed on Church Road, Upper Norwood.
They are near the top of Fox Hill; opposite the Queen’s hotel; between Stambourne Way and Sylvan Hill, and opposite All Saints church. Three of the crossings replace previously-existing pedestrian refuges.
A new pedestrian refuge has also been installed near Church Road’s junction with Stambourne Way.
Work on the crossings was to have begun at the beginning of 2014 but has been delayed, initially because council workmen had to help deal with flooding in other parts of the borough of Croydon.
Responding to criticisms on the Virtual Norwood news blog of the installation – and then removal – of another new crossing near Church Road’s junction with Stambourne Way, a Croydon council spokesman told News From Crystal Palace:
“Following council approval for five new zebra crossings along Church Road to improve pedestrian access, our contractors removed one near the junction with Stambourne Way after Transport for London said it could impact on local bus journey times.”
CHANGES TO CONGESTION CHARGE PAYMENTS
Transport for London (TfL) has announced it will be making a number of changes to the way that people can pay for the Congestion Charge, following a six week public consultation held earlier this year.
TfL can now refuse Congestion Charge payments made by unofficial “copycat” websites or other unauthorised third parties.
This change is another step in combating the menace of rogue unofficial Congestion Charge payment websites, which can charge unsuspecting customers up to an £8 extra on top of the daily Congestion Charge fee for non-existent “additional services”.
In some cases the sites have not even paid the Congestion Charge on behalf of customers, resulting in Penalty Charge Notices being issued.
TfL has already worked closely with Google and a number of other search engines to better enforce their advertising policies to ensure ads for Congestion Charge payments are not misleading or otherwise unlawful.
Customers should always pay via the official TfL website to avoid paying unnecessary charges imposed by unofficial sites and remove the risk of receiving a Penalty Charge Notice.
The proactive action taken by TfL and others will make it even harder to operate an unofficial payment site that misleads TfL’s customers.
TfL has also announced that it will create a new Congestion Charge app, that will enable customers to pay the daily Congestion Charge in a simple and quick way.
With more and more people using Smartphones and tablets, the app will offer customers an easier and broader service than currently available.
Customers will not need to go online or register to make a payment. This app, which will be launched on 1 November 2015 when Capita take over the management of the Congestion Charge*, will replace the SMS (text message) payment channel, which is currently only used by 0.6 per cent of customers – representing around 400 payments a day out of a total of around 130,000 Congestion Charge payments.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “These are simple but necessary changes that are designed to take the hassle and fuss out of paying the Congestion Charge.
“Offering smarter, easier ways to pay, as well as clamping down on websites that fleece customers for cash, will give people greater peace of mind and the protection that they deserve.”
A number of other changes which TfL say will make it easier for people to pay the Congestion Charge will also come into effect on 1 November 2015, following an earlier consultation. The additional changes are:
•CC Auto Pay users will be able to pay by Direct Debit (currently only credit or debit cards can be used);
•Customers eligible for discounts, including blue badge holders, will be able to apply for these discounts online;
•Certain journeys undertaken by NHS patients and staff within the Congestion Charge zone are eligible for reimbursement. This reimbursement will be extended to people who have paid using CC Auto Pay, who previously were not able to claim their money back;
•Allowing customers who have paid the Congestion Charge in advance, but can no longer travel on the date in question, to amend the date for a small administration fee of £2.50.
The changes follow a six week public consultation which closed on 12 September 2014. The central London Congestion Charging zone was introduced in February 2003. TfL says it has led to an “unprecedented” nine per cent shift from car use to public and other forms of sustainable transport. (Source: Transport for London press release.)
£6 BILLION FUNDING TO TACKLE POTHOLES AND IMPROVE LOCAL ROADS
A record £6 billion will be spent on tackling potholes and improving local roads between 2015 and 2021, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced.
“The investment amounts to £976 million a year, enough to fix around 18 million potholes across the country” say the Department for Transport.
“It is the first time councils have been given locked-in funding over this length of time, which will help them plan ahead and save money for the taxpayer.”
Patrick McLoughlin said: “Roads play a significant part in everyday life. “Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users.
“It is vital we have good quality roads. “This government has already taken strong action by spending £1 billion more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous parliament.
“The £6 billion funding will put an end to short term fixes and will mean we have committed £10 billion between 2010 and 2021.”
A spokesnman for the DfT said they allocate funding to local authorities based on local need, so councils with larger highway networks receive more of the funding.
Over £4.7 billion will be shared between 115 councils, while a further £575 million will be available through a new challenge fund to help repair and maintain local highway infrastructure such as junctions, bridges and street lighting. (Source: DfT press release.)
DRIVING LICENCES TO DISPLAY UNION FLAG
British motorists will be able to fly the flag with pride in the new year thanks to government plans to display the Union Flag on driving licences, transport minister Claire Perry has announced.
Anyone applying for a new licence or changing their personal details will be issued with a licence showing both the British and European Union flags.
“The changes will apply to motorists in England, Scotland and Wales and provide road users with a symbolic sign of their national identity” said a DfT spokesperson.
Claire Perry said: “People in this country rightly take pride in our national flag which is why I am delighted it will now be displayed on British driving licences.
“The inclusion of union flags on licences is one of a number of improvements being made for motorists.
“In October the DVLA announced a dramatic drop in licence fees for those who apply online.
” In the interests of reducing unnecessary red tape, since 1 October this year the paper tax disc is no more and motorists can pay their vehicle tax by direct debit.
“From 8 June next year the paper counterpart of the photocard licence will no longer be required.”
DVLA has also introduced a service to allow the public to check the most up to date information on their driving record.
This allows motorists to find out which vehicles you can drive, penalty points and when your licence expires.
You can’t use this service if your licence was issued in Northern Ireland.
You’ll need your driving licence number, your National Insurance number
and the postcode on your driving licence.(Source: DfT press release.)
BARCLAYS CYCLE HIRE IN LONDON
Paying for Barclays Cycle Hire will become even easier from 2 January when the hire charges are simplified to a flat £2 per 30 minutes after the initial free 30 minute period, say TfL (Transport for London).
The £2 daily bike access and £90 yearly membership will remain unchanged.
Barclays Cycle Hire now covers over 100km of London. With more than 10,000 bikes and Transport for London (TfL) say they are working with a range of land owners and London boroughs to identify further sites for docking stations to intensify the scheme within its current footprint. Increasing the density of docking points, particularly in central London. (Source: Transport for London press release.)