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TRAFFIC

Gothenburg drivers face new inner city fee

Sweden's second city Gothenburg introduced a road toll on Tuesday for all motorists entering or leaving the city, similar to one already in place in the capital Stockholm.

Gothenburg drivers face new inner city fee

The system, aimed at financing infrastructure investments, reducing

greenhouse gases, and cutting traffic in the city centre by around 15 percent, will include some 40 toll stations around the city.

A similar system introduced in Stockholm in 2007 has led to a 15-18 percent reduction of innercity traffic, Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) spokesperson Eva Rosman told news agency TT.

Gothenburg, located on Sweden’s west coast, has some 520,000 inhabitants.

Motorists entering and leaving the city on weekdays will pay between eight and 18 kronor (between $1 and $3 ) depending on the time of day, with an upper limit of 60 kronor a day.

The charge is to be paid between the hours of 6:00 am and 6:29 pm. The holiday month of July will be free, as are evenings and weekends. Cars with foreign license plates and emergency vehicles will be exempt.

Overhead cameras will register the licence plates of cars entering or leaving city limits. Motorists can either have the amount automatically deducted from their bank account or pay a bill in some shops or by internet.

Motorists who don’t pay will be fined 500 kronor.

Gothenburg’s city hall approved the congestion charge in a vote in 2010. It was later approved by the Swedish parliament.

But many residents are opposed to the toll, and some 45,000 people have signed a petition calling for a referendum to be held on the issue.

AFP/The Local/at

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LIGHTNING

IN PICTURES: Thunderstorms hit trains and roads in southern Sweden

Severe thunderstorms and heavy winds on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning have delayed trains and disrupted road traffic across southern Sweden, according to the Swedish Transport Administration.

IN PICTURES: Thunderstorms hit trains and roads in southern Sweden
A lightning bolt spreads out over the sea at the Scaniabadet swimming area in Malmö on Tuesday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
“There was a huge amount of lightening over night and this morning, and that knocked out the power systems,” Katarina Wolfram, a press spokesperson for the Agency told the DN newspaper. “On several stretches, barriers are down at level crossings even though there is no train coming.” 
 
Lightning strikes near the Turning Torso in Malmö's Western Harbour district. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
 
The routes between Hässleholm and Kalmar, Karlskrona and Kalmar, and Värnamo and Alvesta have all been affected.
 
Wolfram said it had been difficult to carry out repairs in the morning as there was still a risk of lightning strikes. 
 
“Lightning and working on electrical faults are not the best combination, so we are not sending out personnel to areas where there are still thunderstorms,” she said. 
 
The administration expects normal traffic to resume after midday. 
 
According to Sweden's state weather forecaster, parts of northern Skåne received as much as 24mm of rainfall on Tuesday night, while a photographer for the TT newswire took spectacular photos of forked lightning in the skies of Malmö.
 
The storm front is now moving north towards Östergötland in central Sweden. 
 
Lightning in the skies above Malmö on Tuesday night. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
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