Commuter Tax and More Tolls

The Washington Post recently published a new survey that reports, “Washington area residents spend far longer getting to work and find themselves in daily traffic jams three times as often as commuters elsewhere, according to new local and national polls . . . Half of the region’s commuters spend 30 minutes or more traveling to work, or an hour each day to get to their jobs and back home. Even when compared with commuters in other major urban areas, the surveys suggest that Washington residents spend significantly more time on the road.” You can read the rest of the article in the Post’s metro section.

I wonder if D.C. has investigated a more aggressive system of tolls, such as London implemented a year or so ago, where cars are tracked by a GPS system and charges them each time they drive into the City. There’s a different toll for different times of day and for different parts of the city. Although there are clear civil liberty questions, it’s not so much different than how our metro cards work that charge different rates for crossing zones and during peak/non-peak hours. Furthermore, our SmartCards allow our travels through the metro to be tracked. Anyway, basically I feel the district should toll commuters harder and use the proceeds to support public transportation. This would both lower commute times and increase metro ridership and reliability.

4 Comments so far

  1. Lisa (unregistered) on March 16th, 2005 @ 12:11 am

    That of course assumes that they’ll make better choices with new money than they have with the other money they’ve received in the past. And better hiring decisions. And better purchasing decisions. And….


  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on March 16th, 2005 @ 8:02 am

    There’s a difference between a Metrocard, which says, “My person got on at Metro Center at 11:49am, and got off at Farragut West at 12:04pm” and a GPS transponder, which says, “My person drove up through 14th St., slowed down around U st for an hour or so, during which he pulled into an alley, and then drove back to Bethesda. What an odd way to go home!”

    Not that I plan to go whoring or drug dealing in my GPS-toll-enabled car, but hey, it’s one problem. Unnecessary gov’t surveillance == Bad.


  3. Non-Commuter (unregistered) on September 28th, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

    “…Furthermore, our SmartCards allow our travels through the metro to be tracked.”

    Yes, but they can’t identify an individual based on their smartcard unless you make the personal decision to register it, which you do not have to do. So, they are tracking a card, not a person.


  4. Non-Commuter (unregistered) on September 28th, 2005 @ 3:26 pm

    “…There’s a difference between a Metrocard, which says, “My person got on at Metro Center at 11:49am, and got off at Farragut West at 12:04pm” and a GPS transponder, which says, “My person drove up through 14th St., slowed down around U st for an hour or so, during which he pulled into an alley, and then drove back to Bethesda. What an odd way to go home!”

    Actually, with GPS and being able to “send you a bill” later in the mail… what London is doing is saying… Nigel drove onto the M1 at 5:30 am this morning and entered Knightsbridge area at appx. 5:51 where Nigel parked his car … so they ARE tracking the individual there.



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