Tax payment point at Norrtull — and what a mess it looks.
Photo: Mikael Ullén / Vägverket.
More photos (Swedish≡Sveriges)
On 3rd January 2006, Stockholm became the second European city after London to introduce a congestion charge. As firm opponents of London's Congestion Charge, the ABD is taking a keen interest in what happens in Stockholm.
The charge appears to be no more than a pityful attempt by the minority Social Democrat Party to ensure the continuing support of the tiny Green Party. Previous promises by the Social Democrats not to introduce such a charge have been broken.
Day one saw a transponder stolen from a car, the attempted sabotage of a payment station, and a banner protesting against Stockholm mayor Annika Billström. Over a thosand cars were not charged because the system couldn't cope with the volume of traffic.
Differences between Stockholm and London
The Swedes have adopted a number of policies which are far less bloody-minded than those of London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Referendum
Results of the referendum were delayed, as Swedes digested the recent general election results in which the ruling party was thrown out. Stockholm's mayor Annika Billström was also rejected by voters.
Whilst Stockholm residents were said to be split on the charge, the incoming government said it planned to be fairer and count the votes of people who live outside Stockholm and commute in. Unsurprisingly they are far more opposed to the charge.
Such a democratic process cannot be expected to occur in London whilst Ken Livingstone remains in charge.
Initial results show that whilst Stockholm's residents (most of whom don't have to pay the charge on regular basis) voted 52% Yes, 14 surrounding areas (who do) voted No. However, it now seems that 11 other areas near Stockholm didn't have a vote at all. So nobody's quite sure what the result actually is, of even if there is one.
Ken would be proud of such apparent bureaucratic mis-management.

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