Tag Archives: Melbourne

Congestion tax call to include motorcycles

Melbourne has renewed calls for a CBD congestion tax, but now the plan is to include motorcycles and scooters.

Last week’s Melbourne future transport strategy suggested a system that would use number plate recognition for all vehicles.

No fee amounts have yet been suggested, but report author Marion Terrill says Melbourne should follow cities such as London, Stockholm and Singapore.

However, two of those cities have some exemptions for motorcycles and scooters.

Stockholm has no fees for motorcycles and scoters as London did initially.

However, since April 2019 the new London Ultra Low Emissions Zone charges £12.50 (about $A23) a day for motorcycles and scooters that do not meet Euro 3 emissions standards.London scooters England UK

Singapore has CBD road-user charges for all vehicles and plans to ban pre-2003 motorcycles throughout the city in 10 years.

Calls rejected

Melbourne Council first suggested a CBD congestion tax last year, but made no mention of motorcycles and scooters.

It cited a 2017 Grattan Institute report that said tax should be introduced in Sydney and Melbourne during peak hours within five years.

However, Melbourne Council cannot legislate the changes as is is a state matter and the State Government has previously rejected such calls.

The Victorian Motorcycle Council and Australian Motorcycle Council reject any moves for motorcycles and scooters to be included in any congestion tax.

“We are the solution to the congestion issue, not the problem,” says VMC media spokesman John Eacott.

“You’re quite right that council can’t change State legislation but they are driving a discussion which has, so far, been rejected by Victorian State Government.

“Any references to motorcycles may benefit from instead using the term PTWs (powered two-wheelers) should a broader audience become engaged.

“Experience has shown that the greener elements tend to change their tune when it’s pointed out that PTW includes scooters.” 

The Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria also says PTWs should be exempt because riders “contribute financially paying similar road fees and CTP premiums to car owners and motorcycles do less damage to infrastructure and the environment”.

John says the VMC is pleased the report notes that altering road design to include narrow lanes dedicated to small traffic such as micro and light cars and motorbikes would have a beneficial effect on congestion.

Congestion charges

Sydney traffic congestion motorcycles lane filtering planning

Calls for CBD congestion charges are not new. They have been around for years.

In March this year, Sydney University transport economist Professor David Hensher had a novel twist on the idea.

He said motorists should be able to choose to pay a 5c-per-kilometre congestion tax in return for lower rego.

Other cities have various fee systems not only to reduce traffic congestion but also air pollution:

  • Milan’s Ecopass charges all vehicles entering a designated traffic restricted zone and bans old cars and bikes that do not meet set emissions standards;
  • China and Brazil are considering congestion charges in various cities; and
  • Oregon, USA, has trialled a voluntary pay-per-mile distance charge resulting in a 22% drop in traffic in peak hours and a 91% approval by participants.

Rider concern

Riders should be concerned because these taxes and bans could spread to other congested cities.

ride to work day traffic congestion car
Singapore traffic congestion

The Singapore ban on older motorcycles seems harsh but may be warranted as the city is choked by thousands of two-stroke scooters that have since ceased production.

But powered two-wheelers should be exempt because they not only free up traffic, they can also reduce pollution as stricter European emissions standards have made them much cleaner.

Also, the coming wave of electric models will make them even more attractive for easing CBD congestion and pollution woes.

Melbourne City Council once had an exemplary motorcycle plan.

Yet the city no longer has free tolls for motorcycles, widespread free footpath parking is slowly being eroded. and now riders might be hit with a congestion tax.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Footpath parking ban a ‘conspiracy theory’

Claims that the Melbourne Council Draft Transport Plan will reduce motorcycle parking in the city is a conspiracy theory, says transport spokesman Cr Frances Gilley (above).

However, he does admit they will restrict some footpath parking in the short term with a long-term option of removing all motorcycles from CBD footpaths.

In the meantime, he says they will reduce street car parking and convert it to motorcycle spaces.

“Motorcyclists won’t lose any spaces,” says the councillor who used to commute on a scooter and park on the footpath outside council chambers.

Conspiracy theory

I get the conspiracy theory that if we create 10 spaces we lose a thousand.

“We will create more spaces on-road and if we need more we will provide them.

“But at some point we may find there is no need to park on pavement and we may do something. But that is not the current plan.”

Melbourne zones
Melbourne footpath parking

Footpath obstruction

He says motorcycles are a major obstruction to pedestrian traffic which represents 90% of the movement around the CBD.

“But there is nothing in the current Draft Transport Plan to say people can’t keep parking on the pavement. However, there will be some places where we will restrict it,” he says.

“The problem is that some motorcyclists keep ignoring disabled parking spots and park too close on the footpath which prevents people from getting out of their cars.

“We will clearly mark paces where people can’t park.”

Frances says riders of big motorcycles would find it easier to park in on-street parking spaces than to “go up on the pavement and have to weave around pedestrians”.

“When we create alternative on-street parking spaces we will see what it looks like,” he says.

“We think there will be a change in the number of motorbikes that use the pavement.”

Keen rider

Frances says he is a keen rider who had an old 250cc Vespa and a BMW K 100 in the UK in his 20s and is “not quite finished” customising his 25-year-old Honda Trans Alp.

Melbourne Council draft transport motorcycle parking conspiracy theory transport spokesman Cr Frances Gilley
Frances and his Trans Alp

“I rent in the inner city and for the past six years I’ve ridden a Vespa 250 to work and just recently swapped it for an electric bike to use the bike paths.”

He also owns a KTM 530 EXC dirt bike and his son and daughter have dirt bikes.

“We go weekend bush riding at our shack in Mansfield high country,” he says.

“There is 10km of dirt to get to my shack. It’s a nice ride up through the hills.”

Draft plan discussion

The Draft Transport Strategy 2030 was endorsed for public consultation by the Future Melbourne Committee on May 7 and is open for public comment until June 19.

Information sessions to discuss the draft with the community will be held at the Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, next Wednesday (29 May) from 6pm-8pm and on Saturday, June 1, 11am-1pm.

Click here to register to attend an information session.

Riders can also speak with the project team at one of the following pop-up sessions:

            Melbourne Town Hall Pop-up

            Melbourne Knowledge Week – Prototype Street Pop-up

            North Melbourne Station Pop-up

            Harbour Esplanade Pop-up

            Southern Cross Station Pop-up

Go to the Participate Melbourne page for more details.         


Source: MotorbikeWriter.com