Will New Yorkers Outwit The City's Planned Congestion Pricing Scheme?

Unscrupulous Londoners have already learned how to beat that city's famed congestion charge system, and with Mayor Bloomberg's plan relying on the same technology, there are worries about a surge in license plate counterfeiting.

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg touts London's congestion pricing plan as a model for New York City. But as Britain is learning, no plan is perfect."

"License plate counterfeiting and thefts are increasing...[and] Londoners are now cloning license plates to avoid congestion fees."

"I was surprised at just how easy it was," Parliament Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said. "All I did was I spotted the Prime Minister's car coming out of Downing Street across the road. I jotted down the number, I went on the Internet."

"For $40, a parliament member scored a copy of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's license plate

"This is the Prime Minister's plate," Goodwill said, showing us a copy.

Traffic cameras enforce congestion fees in London. A computer matches plates and registrations and sends bills to the home address.

If you get a cloned plate you ride for free.

A serious flaw in the system and it's very similar to the plan proposed by Bloomberg for New York City. His plans calls for 1,000 cameras to snap people's license plates."

Full Story: Congestion Pricing Flaw: Cloned License Plates



why this isnt accurate

While it is true some folks are stealing plates in London, it is unlikely this will be a major problem in NYC. In London, license plate snapshots are taken as everyone enters the charging zone. It is the primary charging method. In NYC, the proposal is to use E-Z Pass as the primary charging method, as it already has roughly 70% of the market share of those driving into the city. The cameras would only be used for the few who do not have e-z pass, primarily people from outside the City and State who are very unlikely to be bothering to illegally be driving with stolen plates.
Also important to mention that Marcia Kramer inaccurately refers to Assemblymember Brodsky as the "head" of the commission. Actually, Mark Shaw is the Chairperson.

"Cloned" License Plates And Congestion Pricing

By the same reasoning, if someone uses another person's credit card number fraudulently, it proves that credit cards are a flawed idea and should be dropped.

Here is a comment on this article from streetsblog:

CBS 2's award-winning political reporter tells us that "Londoners are now cloning license plates to avoid congestion fees" (note they're not copying license plates -- they're "cloning" them. Terrifying!) She doesn't tell us how widespread the practice is, how many people might be doing it or how it may be impacting a system that has reduced traffic congestion by 70,000 vehicles per day and is raising $250 million a year for mass transit (You'd think it would be easy for an award-winning investigative reporter to find this sort of information). Rather, Kramer gives some airtime to Westchester obstructionist Assembly member Richard Brodsky, incorrectly referring to him as "head of the Congestion Mitigation Commission."


Charles Siegel

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