'Raise petrol tax instead of new road tax'

Best of Reader Comments: Road-tax rage strikes again
Written by Gemma Simpson, Contributor

Best of Reader Comments: Road-tax rage strikes again

silicon.com readers have asked the government to increase fuel tax and ditch the proposed 'pay as you drive' road charge in response to a popular e-petition against the road tax.

The anti-road-charge petition racked up 750,000 signatures last week, amid rumours - denied by Downing Street - that the government would banish the road-charging scheme if the petition got three-quarters of a million signatures.

The e-petition proved so popular it briefly brought down the 10 Downing Street website it was hosted on. The site crashed on Tuesday as the number of signatures hit 1.3 million.

News of the petition, which currently has 1.5 million signatures and runs til 20 February, got silicon.com readers writing in in droves.

Paul, a reader from Cheshire, represented many readers' opinion of the road tax, saying: "Surely the same thing could be achieved far more simply and cheaply by increasing petrol tax?"

He added: "I feel it's an over-complicated and inelegant solution to the problem, not to mention the privacy implications."

Another reader questioned the need for GPS - which is used to track a vehicle's movement and help calculate the amount of tax to be paid based on how far a driver has gone - and claimed the only purpose of having GPS is so the government can catch people breaking the speed limit.

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One reader doubted the e-petition would help quash the tax, saying: "Knowing how wonderful they [the government] are at spin, they will see it as an endorsement that ONLY 1.3 million people signed the petition compared with all the people that drive in the UK."

A recurrent complaint about the tax was the lack of an alternative way of getting around - and public transport was criticised for being unable to get people where they need to go at a reasonable price.

One reader said: "We have by far the most expensive public transport system in the world.

"Years of pompous complacency by the British public who will, it seems, put up with appalling service and high prices have left many of us with no practical alternative to using a car."

Other readers pointed out disabled drivers were unable to use or even get on most modes of public transport - and doubted whether MPs would happily hop on a bus instead of using their cars.

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