Thursday, May 24, 2012

Road Tolling - Increasing the Cost of Driver Training

The existing road system is now riddled with potholes and in a general poor state of repair and vehicle numbers set to double over the next 25 years. The Local Government Association which represents local councils believes that road tolls are inevitable and may even consider pay as you drive road pricing schemes to raise much needed funds. The increase in traffic numbers could be considered good news by driving instructors as it ensures a reasonable number of potential clients for the future. As pupil numbers rise and fall with seasonal variations it is good to know that the long term future of pupil numbers is secure. On the other hand more traffic means more congestion which makes actual delivery of training difficult, especially for new learners, as well as keeping good time when travelling to reach clients.

The pricing for using certain roads is only a problem if an instructor cannot avoid use of that particular stretch of road. As these are mainly major connecting roads between cities it is doubtful that these will be included on test routes. These tolls are only an issue if an instructor lives in a rural area and needs to travel along them to work in a city. Paying this charge both ways day after day would prove expensive. These tolls may be paid for in advance through the internet or on mobile phones so there would not be toll booths which tend to increase journey times.

Much more serious would be the pay as you drive tolls which would require some form of surveillance device fitted to the vehicle. Driving instructors are very high mileage road users so the cost of this would be considerable. With fuel prices sky high there is no way an instructor could absorb these costs and would inevitably have to pass them on to pupils increasing the cost of lessons. It would be too complex to calculate the mileage for individual lessons so a blanket increase in price would be necessary. Road tax is to become more integrated with mileage so the more miles driven the more tax paid. Driving instructors have no choice but to drive to conduct their business so this would be a significant factor in the future pricing of lessons.

Money needs to be raised by the Government because more fuel efficient cars are leading to less fuel tax being paid leaving a hole in the budget. In order to maintain the road system it must attract private investment and obviously these investors would expect a good return from that investment. This income stream to pay back investors must come from road pricing.


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