Motorists will be paid up to £3,000 a year to ditch their cars under government-funded plans to cut congestion and air pollution. A trial this year will provide motorists with cash to be spent on public transport, electric car hire and bike sharing schemes in exchange for giving up their vehicle. The project, the first of its kind in the UK, is designed to drive polluting vehicles off clogged city streets. Cash credits will be loaded on to a travel card and smartphone app to spend on public transport, car sharing or green hire schemes. Motorists will be expected to surrender their car for a period to test the amount of money needed to trigger a long-term change in travel habits. The project – funded as part of a £20 million government “future mobility” grant – will be launched in Coventry before being expanded across the West Midlands and elsewhere if it proves successful. Taxpayer support will eventually be replaced by long-term funding from private companies including electric car clubs and bus or train operators. Research showed that congestion cost the British economy almost £8 billion last year, with drivers stuck in traffic for the equivalent of 178 hours a year. Dozens of councils could also face legal action after failing to tackle toxic gas from diesels. The trial was approved yesterday by the West Midlands Combined Authority, which represents 12 local councils.
Times 23rd March 2019 read more »