08:48 Monday 9th September 2013
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: Our milkman Jethro says “Road tax money Paul has always gone into a central pot to finance the country” he’s talking about the A14 of course. “Rumour has it that it will be abolished altogether soon and toll roads will become an unavoidable norm“. A bit like France where it takes an inordinate amount of time to get anywhere. You stop and you start and you stop and you start. This from Gerry who says “I live in Fenstanton Paul. I use the A14 regularly. A few thoughts here on the proposed tolls. I cannot believe the solution to the A14 congestion is just to charge people to use it. It solves nothing. It just pushes traffic back onto the back roads and adds some extra money to the coffers. It’s a ridiculous idea. What are the lorry drivers going to do?” says Gerry. Well let’s speak to one. Steve the Trucker’s here. Morning Steve.
STEVE THE TRUCKER: Hello Paul. How are you?
PAUL STAINTON: I’m alright. Are you going to pay the toll?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: No. No I’m not. No.
PAUL STAINTON: What are you going to do?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: I’ll just go through the back roads. Create a little rat run really like I do when the A14 is snarled up anyway. I used to go up the A142, cut across Earith that way, Needingworth, and straight down the other side of Huntingdon. It takes you ten minutes longer, but at the end of the day, why should I pay road tax .. I pay road tax for the truck which is £1600 for the year, and they want to charge me toll roads to use. Basically I’ve got road tax. It will cost me about £1500 a year extra.
PAUL STAINTON: How big is your truck Steve?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: Forty four tons. Artic. That’s my own truck.
PAUL STAINTON: And you’re happy driving that through villages are you?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: Yes. We used to in the old days. We used to go though Kimbolton, everywhere like that, where they banned the car transporters because they were too long, weren’t they?
PAUL STAINTON: Do you think a lot of truckers are going to do this, or do you think most people just think, well, it’s only a couple of quid?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: Well you see to me with the fuel prices so high, I’m putting .. I don’t want to get into fuel pricing, but I’m putting £1300 worth of fuel a week in the truck. You get the big companies, they’ve got a hundred trucks, that’s a lot of extra money for those over the year. So someone’s got to pay for it. We’re going to start charging the agents extra if there is a toll. Birmingham, there’s a toll road up there. And someone’s got to pay for it haven’t they? And that’s going to put the prices up in shops and everything. people are going to moan again about the prices. It has to get from A to B Paul doesn’t it? There’s all those extra costs.
PAUL STAINTON: Isn’t it better though to have a revamped A14, even if we’ve got to pay a little bit more for it?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: It would ease a lot of congestion at rush hour. If they made the tolls free at night, or between a certain time, get people onto the roads earlier and get through like they do at the Dartford Crossing. If you go there between ten at night and six in the morning the toll’s free.
PAUL STAINTON: Well maybe they’ll do that. You can have your say Steve. Will you be part of the consultation Steve?
STEVE THE TRUCKER: Well I live in Felixstowe and it’s a bit far to come. Felixstowe is the main place going to be affected isn’t it, because there’s a lot of container traffic from the port. Main port you see. And they’re having the consultation up in Cambridgeshire. If they could have it in Suffolk as well, which is where it’s going to be affected, I think you’d get a lot more Suffolk audience going to it I believe, instead of just one place really.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Steve thank you for calling in this morning. Appreciate your point of view. Steve the Trucker. Not going to pay it. Going to take his forty four ton articulated lorry through Earith.