Congestion Fees


If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

George Harrison

London has it. Singapore as well. It’s coming to New York in a couple of years. The concept of congestion fees; additional charges – like a bridge toll – to drive your car in certain designated areas at times of high volume. 

If you want to drive your car within the area shown on the map below from Monday to Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. you will have to pay a fee of £11.50 (about USD$15).

I heard a radio interview with an urban sociologist on this topic recently. The interviewer pointed out that we already pay significant taxes for street maintenance and repair. The sociologist responded that the congestion fees are not for road upkeep, but for road access. It is considered a surcharge, not a tax.

Collection is by bar-code scanning much like bridge tolls. You can pay in advance and get a reduction, or get a bill at the end of the month.

What’s next? A surcharge to sit on the bus or subway – one fee for strap-hangers and an increased fee for seated passengers. 

Perhaps it’s just me, but this seems patently unfair.  Cars are expensive, gas is expensive, insurance is expensive and taxes are high. To impose a surcharge on folks trying to make a living seems counter-productive. 

Even those who use public transit don’t get off free. Unless you are in a standard black London taxi, which are exempt from the fees, you will be hit with an increase. UBER will add a £1 surcharge to clients’ bills if they enter the charge zone.  There are those who blame the various ride sharing companies, chief among them UBER, for causing the increase in congestion and leading to the fees. 

What’s next? A surcharge to sit on the bus or subway – one fee for strap-hangers and an increased fee for seated passengers (and don’t get caught sitting with a standee ticket or the fine could be significant). 

Restaurants could start charging for utensils.

Restaurants could start charging for utensils. Aside form the price of one’s meal, the final bill would include a breakdown of knives, forks, spoons, etc. used and the subsequent surcharge. Smuggling in your own utensils will be easily detected and result in being ousted from the establishment. 

Seems to me these congestion fees are a very slippery slope; one that will no doubt involve a fee to use!

Michael Jackson: To Ban Or Not To Ban

Following the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland that rocked the Michael Jackson legacy, several radio stations in Canada have stopped playing his music. The four-hour documentary seems to provide irrefutable evidence of The King of Pop’s paedophilic tendencies.

From CNN.com

While some will make the argument that he is no longer with us and therefore not able to defend himself, others just flat-out refuse to believe. It seems that in our Trumpian times facts and truth have taken a back seat to shouting and ranting.

What if the paedophile was not a performer, an entertainer, but a cancer researcher who discovered a sure-fire cure for cancer?

However I wonder if banning his music is the way to go. Are his songs any less enjoyable? The beat, the lyrics, the rhythm are still the same. If Jackson were still alive I could understand a boycott that would hit him in the wallet, but he isn’t. 

What if the paedophile was not a performer, an entertainer, but a cancer researcher who – sadly hypothetically – discovered a sure-fire cure for cancer? Would we stop using his science and go back to people dying of cancer? Of course not. What the doctor, or Jackson, did is repugnant, but we can’t paint the situation with such a large brush.

Impordant News Out Of English

You hear it often in sports and business. No longer are people from a place, they are out of it.

It used to be that if a person was born in,  say Philadelphia, you would you would refer to them as so and so from Philadelphia. It was simple. A business based in Omaha was said to be from Omaha. From. But the trend has changed. You hear it often in sports and business. No longer are people from a place, they are out of it.

Thoroughbred horses for instance: Cocoa Balls out of Dusty Cheeks and Maiden’s Hat. In this case, given the birthing process, Coco Balls really was out of Maiden’s Hat.

The starting quarterback is out of Michigan State. He works for a company out of Chicago. There was a time when this phrase was used solely by animal breeders. Thoroughbred horses for instance: Cocoa Balls out of Dusty Cheeks and Maiden’s Hat. In this case, given the birthing process, Coco Balls really was out of Maiden’s Hat.

And what about popular culture? Should we retrofit titles from the past? The Man Out Of U.N.C.L.E.? Out of Here to Eternity? Far Out of the Madding Crowd? What was wrong with the word from? For that matter Out of Africa could be simply From Africa.

And when did someone decide to put a D into the word important? So many people seem to think the word is impordant.

And when did someone decide to put a D into the word important? So many people seem to think the word is impordant. You hear it on the bus, on radio and television. “This is a very impordant day for weasels.” There is no D in the word. 

We used to have an exercise in grade school that involved tapping your hand on the desk while saying various words. We were taught to enunciate the word important with an emphasis on the last third beat; namely “tant”. The most important part of important has been altered recently. 

Likewise, the word student was vocalized with one beat. The two syllables run together. Today that word sounds more like “stu-DANT”.

Please, make it stop!

Odd Quebec Election Campaign Slogan

PLQ_Poster

The Quebec Liberal Party finds itself trailing in early election campaign polls. While other parties try to tap into the Liberal’s traditional Anglophone support, I suspect these attempts will fail. Yet I find the English version of the party’s slogan, “To make life easier for Quebecers” somewhat odd.

By all means make things better, stronger, healthier, wealthier, for Quebecers. But we really don’t require things to be easy.

I get the gist of it. Perhaps it’s just the translation from the French “Pour facilter la vie des Québécois” but the idea of making things easier sounds to me as if the party considers Quebecers to be a bunch of lazy simpletons who can’t handle difficult things.

By all means make things better, stronger, healthier, wealthier, for Quebecers. But we really don’t require things to be easy.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

World Cup 2026 and Montreal

fifa-world-cup-2018-balon-oficial

As a child of EXPO 67 and teenager during the 1976 summer Olympics I was pleased to learn of Montreal’s potential role in staging matches during the 2026 World Cup. The Jean Drapeau years established the city as an excellent host to world-class events.

But it was not long before reality set in. The current climate in Montreal is not event friendly. Just ask former mayor Denis Coderre and his Formula E Race fiasco.

The plan is for games to be played in a revamped Olympic Stadium. Will that work, or will a new stadium have to be built? The cost of security alone will be drastic.

Large events, and there is none larger than the World Cup, have a nasty habit of cost overruns.

Chicago and Vancouver both declined to be part of the bid for financial reasons.

With so much fodder, can it be long before some municipal candidate takes a No Cup position? Pledging to pull out of the deal and save the taxpayers millions.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Trudeau and Trump

TrumpTrud

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+