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‘Road pricing plans smack of Big Brother watching’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks the idea of road pricing could end up costing us a lot more than we think

Black box - opinion

Of all the supposed experts the Transport Select Committee has spoken to in coming up with its road pricing recommendations, there don’t seem to be any real road users like you and me. I do wish they’d ask.

So now we have real recommendations based around us all being tracked for every mile we drive, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing. And as much as there are promises of this being ‘cost neutral’ that might apply to the current government, what about the next administration, or the one after that?

I appreciate that there is a big hole in the Treasury’s coffers that will need to be filled, but I’m far from convinced that this is the best solution to that problem.

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My concern is that this technology can be used to take even more money out of our pockets through charges to drive in certain areas somebody doesn’t want us in, extra costs for using certain roads, and even additional fees if you want to drive a bit faster on the motorway.

Then there’s the technology itself, which many are saying will be accepted because young people have been happy to have black boxes fitted to their cars for years. They’ve done so because those black boxes will potentially save them money, not cost them money!

There’s also a security issue – and let’s be honest, government officials don’t have the best record here. Imagine a laptop being left on a train with the keys to the telematics or payment system on it.

As for EV owners – incentivised to go electric by the government – they’ve no idea what their motoring bills are going to be like with an energy-price crisis likely to be joined by the onslaught of road pricing. Yes, they should pay, but give current EV buyers fair warning.

Or maybe this is all just a wheeze to stop us using our phones in our cars. Apparently the tech for road charging may live in our smartphones. That’s one way to make you leave your phone behind when you go out for a drive.

Do you agree with Steve? Let us know your thoughts on road pricing in the comments section below...

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