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Aberdeen councillor says city might need congestion charge

Aberdeen councillor says city might need congestion charge

A leading Aberdeen councillor has said the city might need to introduce a congestion charge to tackle increasing traffic problems.

Aberdeen City Council's infrastructure convener, Neil Cooney, told STV that gridlock is the "Achilles heel of our economy".

The Labour politician added: "It is getting worse all the time and explains why many people are trying to avoid Aberdeen like the plague."

Cllr Cooney is scathing about public transport in and around the city.

Although he admitted a congestion charge is a "fairly drastic measure", he claims that something has to be done to tackle the present situation.

via STV via STV

The Kincorth, Nigg and Cove member said: "We have to think outside the box because the city is getting glued up with cars and we need to work out how best to address the issue.

"I don't want to go down the route of a congestion charge, but we have that black cloud looming over us.

"We have a very poor public transport system at the moment, one which makes it difficult for people to get from A to B. It is also very expensive.

"And if it takes 15 minutes to make a journey in your car and an hour to go the same distance using two buses, I can understand why people use their cars.

"But that doesn't help anybody in the long term."

It's ten years since residents in Edinburgh voted against the introduction of congestion charging in the city by a margin of about three to one.

More than 74% of those who took part in the referendum rejected the council's plan.

There was a similar reaction from the Aberdeen public last autumn when SNP councillor John Corall raised the possibility of a congestion charge being implemented.

But the managing director of First Aberdeen [buses], David Phillips, is among those who want to change perceptions.

  (Alan Jamieson, licensed for reuse (cropped))
via STV via STV

He said: "This is still predominantly a car culture, so we need to give people a clear path to move to the bus.

"I'm not saying we can always meet people's expectations, but we're here to listen to what they want."

A recent report from Transport Scotland showed that Aberdeen commuters suffered twice as much traffic gridlock as anywhere else in Scotland.

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