Traffic congestion charge included in draft to boost Turkish municipality revenue
Aysel Alp – ANKARAThe Environment and Urban Ministry is preparing a draft including the long-discussed issue of charging vehicles entering urban centers in a bid to ease congestion and increase municipality revenue.
In its draft to be submitted to parliament, the ministry has included an article stipulating the charging of individual and transportation vehicles entering and leaving city centers.
The ministry’s plan, which gives examples from major international cities, aims to lessen traffic congestion in city centers. It also foresees the transfer of authorization over traffic from police to municipalities, which would be able to give traffic tickets and tow vehicles that violate parking laws.
The plan cites the “congestion charge” regulation in London that applies charges in central urban areas starting from eight pounds sterling (around 20 Turkish Liras). It also refers to the regulation in Manhattan that charges $8 for small vehicles entering the island’s 86th Street and below between 06:00 a.m. and 06:00 p.m., $10 for bigger vehicles, and $4 for residents in the area on a daily basis.
A compulsory electronic ticket system is foreseen in the draft granting a share to municipalities from electronic ticket revenue from private sector transportation including taxis. It also foresees granting the sole authority of passenger transportation between airports and urban centers to municipalities, while giving municipalities the authority to issue licenses for taxis and minibuses.
The draft also proposes widening the range of contracted municipality employees, including experts, civil servants, accountants, firefighters, municipal police, and drivers.
Istanbul, one of the world’s traffic jam leaders, has developed several projects, including more bridges across the Bosphorus and a road and rail system beneath it, in an effort to ease congestion.
The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third suspension bridge across the strait which divides the city in half, is expected to be opened on Aug. 26 with a ceremony following a nearly three-year effort. Like the other two bridges spanning the Bosphorus, this bridge will be a toll road.
Once launched, all truck transport traffic will be diverted to the northern part of the city.
According to a 2015 study by motor oil company Castrol, Jakarta was found to be the worst city in the world for traffic congestion, followed by Istanbul, Mexico City, Surabaya and St. Petersburg.
More contracted employees for municipalities
The new draft also suggested more contracted municipal employees in a bid to increase revenues for city administrations.
Accordingly, experts, data collectors and processors, accountants, firefighters, municipal police officers and drivers will be hired as contracted employees, not public servants appointed by the central government.
Municipalities will organize local exams open to those who have achieved a set base point in the country-wide Public Personnel Selection Exam (KPSS).
Currently, municipalities can hire workers under their own authority by the public servants picked by the state.