FREMANTLE council is set to immediately introduce a new London-style congestion tax across its CBD in an attempt to free up traffic snarls.
Every driver entering the zone will be slugged $25, with toll stations to be established on South Terrace, High Street and Queen Victoria Street.
A confidential council report obtained by the Herald admits the council has run out of options to deter drivers from clogging up streets, with peak hours and weekends particularly chaotic.
“With the imminent closure of the Point Street and Henderson Street car parks for redevelopment, and the privatisation of the Queensgate car park, which will be almost entirely leased out to state government employees, the situation is likely to get critical,” the report says.
In order to win support for the initiative, the council is planning to give parking inspectors the authority to hand out $10 cash vouchers to every cyclist they encounter.
The report estimates the tax will raise almost $1 million each year, but that will be offset by the cycling vouchers.
They’re estimated to cost the council $20,000 in the first year, but rising to almost $4 million within five years as commuters realise they can purchase a coffee and a train ticket each day courtesy of the council.
Facial recognition software will be used to build up a database of cyclists to ensure only one voucher is claimed a day.
The public sector union supported the move, saying parking inspectors would welcome the opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of cyclists after years of copping nothing but abuse from drivers.
The tax was due to come into effect on Friday, April 1, shortly after the Chook’s deadline.
by STEVE GRANT