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Congestion charge returns to Stockholm

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Congestion charge returns to Stockholm
Photo: Mikael Ullén
08:36 CEST+02:00
Congestion charging has been reintroduced in Stockholm, more than a year after a six month trial of the scheme ended.

The scheme, which is legally a congestion tax, means drivers will have to pay between 10 and 20 kronor every time they pass one of the electronic pay stations on the perimeter of the zone. Drivers will be charged Monday-Friday between 6:30am and 6:29pm, and the daily cost will be capped at 60 kronor per car.

At the Swedish National Road Administration (Vägverket), which administers the charge, initial signs were that the reintroduction was going according to plan.

"The first ten minutes looked OK and everything seems to be going well," said the organization's spokeswoman, Louise Jarn Melander to news agency TT.

The charge has been brought back following a referendum last September, in which 52 percent voted in favour of the charge, while 45 percent opposed it. Stockholm council's newly-elected centre-right majority, led by Major Kristina Axén Olin, vowed to push for the result to be respected. This despite the fact that all but one of the centre-right parties argued against the charge.

There will be a number of key differences between the new arrangements and those during last year's trial. One change is that the transponders - electronic devices used in the trial to make it possible to take the charge directly out of drivers' accounts - will not be used. Instead, cameras will read cars' plates, and those vehicles whose drivers are registered will have the money debited directly from their accounts.

Other drivers, as before, will have to pay the charge within 14 days of driving in the zone. This can be done online, at Pressbyrån or 7-Eleven stores or in banks.

Another key difference is that taxis will no longer be exempted from paying the charge. A number of taxi operators have already said they plan to increase charges as a result. The charge will be tax-deductable for some companies and commuters.

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