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Gothenburg traffic drops with new toll fee

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Gothenburg traffic drops with new toll fee
07:20 CET+01:00
The new year's day introduction of a congestion charge has deterred one in five drivers from taking a spin in central Gothenburg.

Two weeks into the new tariff system, traffic has gone down by 23 percent in the city centre.

An overview of driving patterns last week showed that 19 percent less motorists were passing through the pay tolls during the day, when the extra fee applies, compared to the same period last year.

Motorists pay between 8 and 18 kronor at the toll depending on the time of day, with a maximum daily charge per vehicle set at 60 kronor.

Some fears that the weekday congestion charge would instead bump up traffic in the evenings and on the weekends in Sweden's second largest city have not come true.

"We didn't have a prognosis for the weekends," Ulla-Stina Ingemarsson, traffic analyst at the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) told the regional newspaper Göteborgs-Postens.

"Weekend traffic wasn't monitored in Stockholm when they introduced the congestion charge so we didn't know what to expect."

In fact, the new penalty seems to act as a deterrent also during off-peak hours, the statistics reveal. Weekend and evening traffic has decreased by 6 percent during the first two weeks of January compared to 2012.

The congestion charge has received mixed reactions. Some Gothenburg suburbanites report that motorists trying to avoid the toll boths are instead taking short-cuts on smaller roads, but still keeping the same speed up and frightening cyclists and pedestrians.

TT/The Local/at

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