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Congestion charging

London's road pricing scheme is the first big transport idea since rail privatisation. The rest of the country - and the world - is watching

By Graham Bowley   84

On a recent Friday morning, outside the Iceland supermarket near Clapham Common in south London, a crowd of 20 people waited for a bus. It was 7.55am. Nearby, commuters jostled past the stone clock above the tube and down towards the trains. Outside Starbucks, a red light had caught a pack of traffic led by a Mercedes hatchback. Faces pressed against windscreens, drivers waited for the stream of buses and lorries emerging from Clapham Park Road to spend itself out.

This was commuter country. Clapham is a typical residential district that each day supplies the capital’s inner core with thousands…

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