‘Reward drivers to avoid rush hour’

Motoring organisations, local councils, the business lobby and environmental groups have joined forces to draw up an alternative plan to reduce traffic congestion.

Rather than introduce a ‘kilometre tax’ for car drivers as the government wants, the alternative plan suggests rewarding commuters who avoid the rush hour. Satellite navigation systems could be used to monitor driving patterns.
The new scheme, reported in Wednesday’s AD newspaper, is not yet finished, Loek Hermans, chairman of the small businesses lobby group MKB Nederland told news agency ANP.
‘It is only a small part of the story,’ Hermans said. ‘We are working on a total plan for tackling the kilometre tax.’
Transport minister Camiel Eurlings wants to introduce a kilometre tax for all motorists as part of a package of measures to reduce jams, especially in the country’s urban region which includes Amsterdam. Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.
Sources told the AD that Eurlings was willing to listen to alternative schemes because he feels it is important to have broad support for a solution to the country’s traffic problem.
The minister has already ditched plans for a ‘big bang’ approach for the pay-per-drive scheme. Instead, he wants to phase in the kilometre tax with lorries paying first. Initially, private car owners would only pay for using major ring roads at rush hour.
The transport sector is particularly angry at the idea of targeting trucks.
Critics of the pay-as-you-drive schemes say its effect will be marginal because it does not hit lease-car drivers whose companies pay the bills.

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