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Congestion Charging Goes Live
eGov monitor Weekly

17 February 2003

London’s hi-tech Congestion Charge scheme has gone live this morning with early reports indicating no signs of significant problems or the “bloody day” that the Mayor Ken Livingstone warned commuters to expect.


Critics of the controversial £230 million project predicted the system would collapse into chaos, after technical issues with the IT systems underpinning the scheme led to a series of embarrassing blunders in the run-up to today’s launch.


An oversight during last-minute testing of the computer system resulted in 45 motorists inadvertently receiving penalty notices of £120 before the scheme was even introduced. The congestion charge website handling online payments was also frequently unavailable with many reports over the weekend of users experiencing difficulties with registration.


Transport for London said that by 8.00am this morning some 34,000 people had paid the £5 charge for today and 50,000 had registered by mobile phone text message.


The radical scheme is being policed by a network of around 800 cameras positioned around the charging zone’s boundary, representing one of the extensive urban surveillance systems in the world. Number plates are identified against information registered on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's database.

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