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...and the next round is "phrases guaranteed to get motorists up in arms..."

04 Jul 2010 at 00:00

pricing road

By Adrian Tink, RAC Motoring Strategist

Ok not the funniest round you'll ever see on Mock the Week, but stick with me for a moment if you will...

I'm a fan of the show and lets be honest, the likelihood of me finding an excuse to mention it in the future is about as likely as a vevuzela being welcomed at any football ground in the next decade. 

Meanwhile, back at my own slightly odd edition of the show, I can just imagine Dara and co making fun of potholes and speed cameras, and you just know Mr Clarkson and Top Gear would come in for some stick - but as always it would be left to Frankie Boyle to bring up the elephant in the room...road pricing - two words, job done, the points in this round are going to Frankie, Hugh and some other comic you've probably never heard of before tonight...

Unfortunately the good people at the RAC Foundation found  out recently that using the phrase "road pricing" and adding the word "inevitable" does get quite a reaction from drivers and the media...

Even more unfortunate was that a lot of people thought we were the ones saying it! A classic case of mistaken identity if ever there was one...

(I should at this point clarify the RAC Foundation is not RAC - they're an independent charitable trust - used to be our research arm many moons ago - for future reference, if there's any hint of orange around the story then its virtually guaranteed to be us!) 

To be fair to them, the media coverage didn't really do them justice. If you look at what they actually said a lot of it I don't actually disagree with...and this from a man who has publicly said that congestion charging is about as fashionable as corduroy...sorry to break it to all you history teachers out there....

Let me explain...

First off, they said if congestion rises and with no money to spend it was an OPTION to be looked at....fair enough...then they say for it to have a chance of being accepted by motorists that fuel duty would have to be cut, road tax abolished and all money raised would need to go back into motoring...erm hang on, let me have a look at my check list of things I'd want....no road tax - check, fuel duty cut - check, money raised to the roads - check and not forgetting my own private lane on all major roads... ok 3 out of 4...not bad...so why did they get such a hard time again??!

The fact is for me - a very average driver - it comes down to this, I'm not going to say yes to anything that costs me more money in motoring taxes....I pay far more than enough of that already thank you...and you're going to have to convince me that road pricing won't do otherwise (can't believe I just used the phrase that must not be named...)

And in here lies the problem - no one has ever really explained it properly and set out what it means to our pockets... until they do and can demonstrate it is at worst cost neutral to my pocket...it will remain a toxic subject with drivers and cannon fodder for Frankie and the boys...

Us discontented motorists can rest easy though... ask yourself this, if you were a government with the choppy waters you have ahead...would you propose national road pricing?! Thought not...