An open letter emailed to the Mayor of London today…..
Dear Mr Mayor,
First off, big ups to you, dude. You’re in there and you’re not even white. Or a Christian. I completely respect the work you are doing and of course you may take this email any way you want but it is, indeed, intended to be satirical only. Any reference to people dead or alive is purely coincidental. And that includes YOU Mr Khadiq San…..
I have just been “forced” to pay the Congestion Charge having visited your fair city today in my car. The car, that liberating, freedom inducing device that allows one to leave the comfort of their settee in order to sit in relative comfort (it’s a 4 wheel drive Toyota Rav4… yes it is rather big for the narrow streets of cobblestone that one of your predecessors, Dick Whittington, once trod AND it’s a Diesel!) in a traffic jam of your choice.
By “forced” I mean that, because I do not travel into London very often so I was not sure if I entered the Congestion charge zone. Yes, I know there are lots of signs and I know that the roads are marked up as well but that’s not really helpful because looking for this signage was pretty low on my list of priorities.
As an experienced (and careful) driver, I was also dutifully avoiding colliding with others who clearly have no regard for road safety or the highway code. To elaborate, this means pedestrians, cyclists, taxi drivers, bus drivers, horse and cart operators, road sweepers, children, red lorries, yellow lorries (try saying those two quickly!) and pretty much every other road user imaginable.
On top of this, because of your passive-aggressive radio advertising campaign, warning us evil road users that your citizens are putting their very lives on the line whilst keeping the rest of us in work (because you know, London IS the centre of the known universe, I was compelled to simultaneously have my eyes glued to my speedometer (it was 6.30am so I did manage to get above 5mph at least twice during my journey) whilst also looking out for other traps you have set me such as speed cameras, bus lanes, Russians with degrees in chemistry, Brexiteers, disgruntled West Ham fans (we get those in Northampton too) and cyclists (yes, cyclists again because they’re blimmin’ well everywhere except where they should be.*
So, I did notice some odd looking cameras and a capital “C” (I can think of a few things this could stand for, “Congestion” not being one of them). So I thought to myself, “Self, you may or may not have just entered a zone that could end up incurring you a fee of some sort”. “Not to worry”, I calmly thought, “I’ll get in touch with them later to find out if I need to pay. There’ll be a SYSTEM for that.”
Having completed my work (you really could do with getting the HSE out to some of your more dodgy areas. LIVES are in danger EVERYWHERE (not just on the roads!)) I fled home (obeying all speed limits of course. I hope)
Upon arriving back to the sanctity of Northampton (I never thought I would hear the words “sanctity” and “Northampton” used in the same sentence) I realised that there was no SYSTEM.
Long story short, there’s NO WAY of telling me whether I entered a Congestion charge zone. Even though you can subsequently fine me if I don’t pay today. Oh, and if I don’t pay today but pay tomorrow, you slap an additional fee on top of the £11.50.
I live precisely half way between the “Peaky effin Blinders” who are based in the Birmingham area and now, it seems, the London branch of the Mafia specialising in extortion and racketeering. Your (putting on my best Robert De Niro voice) “F**k you, pay me” attitude does not endear me to your fair city***. That said, the cost of everything (including the Congestion charge) is so high, I am not surprised the streets are lined with gold. Of course, society as it is now, they’re also lined with plastic, vomit and homeless people. Ironic eh?
Another observation. You have put speed bumps just about everywhere. How about digging these up to fill in the pot holes? How about implementing speed limits higher than 20mph so that my 4×4 diesel emits less emissions (less particulates at higher speeds, didn’t you know?). Increase the speed limit, decrease the emissions, get the cars from A to B a bit quicker. Luckily, my 4×4 environment slayer does not recognise even your over-sized speed bumps. If it were possible for speed bumps to have feelings, I am sure the ones in Northampton would have the cement equivalent of “penis envy”. Luckily for us, our Conservative council is just about bankrupt having given £10 million to a dodgy builder and then spent another £10 million on “stuff they shouldn’t have”. So, whilst you might be face palming yourself over your stupid Congestion charge, just imagine what our councils are doing. Actually don’t…. it’s not printable anyway.
To summarise, my suggestions are as follows :
Get a real time system in place that I can log into to see whether I owe the C Charge or not without me having to give you my bank details up front, pay up front or download a sodding APP. I come to London less than once every epoch so I don’t need an APP and I don’t need to fund an account.
Make your signage clearer. Or get rid of the cyclists… I know the name of a Russian who can sort that out for you.
Declare war on pot holes by digging up your speed bumps.
* Cyclists get a bad rep. Rightly so. They are using roads designed for motor vehicles. I have NEVER finished in 2nd place in a motor collision with a cyclist. They will lose every time!
** This was a typo… I meant to say…. “endear me to your fairly crappy city”. In short…. It’s a bunghole. You should build a wall around the M25 to keep everybody in. The rest of us could then get on with our lives.