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Talking to a (now ex-)colleague who worked in TfL while the congestion charge was being put together originally, she was absolutely clear that the thinking at Mayor level was motivated by finding a way to tax the richest people (those living in the zone). Logic is basically tax the rich, pay for buses, help poor. That was behind the move to extend to the west, not reducing congestion. Suddenly a big chunk of (rich) people pay their 10% discounted rate for the whole year regardless of whether they drive every day or not because risking a £50 ticket just isn't worth it for 80p a day. The £25 for fast / big cars will also predominantly hit the rich so process continues. CO2 is a convenient mechanism that's all.

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