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US Diplomats Run Up 200k Congestion Charges  
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8450 posts, RR: 10
Posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1531 times:
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American diplomats top the list of congestion charge dodgers in London, running up over 200,000 Pounds of charges in just six months, which the US Embassy says they will not pay, claiming diplomatic privilege. Mayor Ken Livingstone says they should pay, as British diplomats have to pay toll fees in the US.

[Edited 2006-05-01 22:42:12]


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1530 times:

I hope Red Ken clamps the ambassadorial Lincoln and throws the key in the Thames ! Diplomatic privilege is just that, a privilege, and should not be abused.

User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20496 posts, RR: 62
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1515 times:

Ask NYC how many unpaid "diplomatic" parking tickets they have.


International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1515 times:

What are "congestion charges"?


"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3363 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1507 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 3):
What are "congestion charges"?

For the central area of London a toll is required. This is the congestion charge.



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineA319XFW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1507 times:

Yes, this was in the news a while ago - it's not only the US embassy refusing to pay.

They state it is a tax, whereas London says it is a toll.
I suppose they are right about the tolls in the US, as British diplomats have to pay bridge tolls etc.


User currently offlineSATX From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2840 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1488 times:

Why hasn't Bush simply grabbed Blair by the ear and told him to change the rules so American diplomats to do as they please without having to explain themselves? Or is Blair unable to do such a thing?


Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1482 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
Ask NYC how many unpaid "diplomatic" parking tickets they have.

Those you refer to are UN officials in New York, they are the biggest culprits, they also have a way of getting around paying sales taxes on big ticket items.


User currently offlineA319XFW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1478 times:

Quoting SATX (Reply 6):
Why hasn't Bush simply grabbed Blair by the ear and told him to change the rules so American diplomats to do as they please without having to explain themselves? Or is Blair unable to do such a thing?

Probably because the London congestion charge is run my the Major of London and not Tony Blair?

[Edited 2006-05-01 23:15:14]

User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1478 times:

Diplomats are required to pay for the London Underground, the London busses, London taxis. They should pay the congestion charge. Its not a tax, its a service toll.

User currently offlineSATX From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2840 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1473 times:

Quoting A319XFW (Reply 8):
Probably because the London congestion charge is run my the Major of London and not Tony?

So what's the endgame then? I guess they just never pay up.

I never really agreed with the way diplomantic immunity is handled myself. You shouldn't be able to hit somebody while driving drunk and then tell the police who arrive to take you home and leave you alone. It's turned into little more than a perversion of justice at this point.



Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1442 times:

Quoting SATX (Reply 10):
I never really agreed with the way diplomantic immunity is handled myself. You shouldn't be able to hit somebody while driving drunk and then tell the police who arrive to take you home and leave you alone. It's turned into little more than a perversion of justice at this point.

Those are few and far between methinks. But some of the more recent cases have had the offender labeled Persona No Grata and shown the first flight out of JFK.

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 9):
Diplomats are required to pay for the London Underground, the London busses, London taxis. They should pay the congestion charge. Its not a tax, its a service toll.

Debatable. Taxis, busses, and the Tube are private or government industries there to make money. The Congestion Charge is a tax for those who feel the need to live in the city or insist upon driving into the city.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineScott0305 From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1431 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 11):
Debatable. Taxis, busses, and the Tube are private or government industries there to make money. The Congestion Charge is a tax for those who feel the need to live in the city or insist upon driving into the city.

Incorrect. The congestion charge is a service charge which is there to make money to be reinvested in transportation and to lighten the burden on one of the most heavily traffic congested areas on the planet.

Tha Yanks should pay up and stop being so arrogant. Diplomats may have certain privileges, but they are still guests in this country and should abide by its laws.


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13073 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1423 times:

Perhaps Diplomatic registered vehicles should pay the charge for those whom live in that zone, which I believe it is 10% of the full charge. I would presume that many of the Diplomatic registered vehicles are domiciled within the zone. This is a tax, not like a toll on a highway or bridge/tunnel. I am quite sure that there is a good arguement that for reasons of security, they need to use their cars vs taking public transist.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29792 posts, RR: 58
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1406 times:

Quoting Scott0305 (Reply 12):
The congestion charge is a service charge which is there to make money to be reinvested in transportation and to lighten the burden on one of the most heavily traffic congested areas on the planet.

Boy you sure made it sound like a tax there.

But there is a good point that the city of New York gripes to high hell about all the unpaid tickets left by those freeloaders at the UN. It does seem a bit hypocritical.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 75
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1396 times:

Quoting A319XFW (Reply 5):
I suppose they are right about the tolls in the US, as British diplomats have to pay bridge tolls etc.

Not if they don't want to. By not paying a toll, you are guilty of a crime (usually either a misdemenor or a traffic violation), which diplomats are exempt from.

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 9):
Diplomats are required to pay for the London Underground, the London busses, London taxis. They should pay the congestion charge. Its not a tax, its a service toll.

While it isn't a tax, diplomats still don't have to pay it. Even if they can be charged a fine for not paying, the diplomat can just give their diplomatic credentials and not be held responsible

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 11):
The Congestion Charge is a tax for those who feel the need to live in the city or insist upon driving into the city.

People who live within the congestion charging zone get a 90% discount, and it doesn't cover the whole city (though it does cover the City, but that is a different thing). It is a toll, just like choosing to use a toll bridge, a turnpike or a toll tunnel is.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1382 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 15):
People who live within the congestion charging zone get a 90% discount

I didn't know that.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 15):
and it doesn't cover the whole city (though it does cover the City, but that is a different thing).

I know the difference but you might have to explain it for some folks on here. It is supposed to be expanded out even further IIRC if it hasn't happened already.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 15):
It is a toll, just like choosing to use a toll bridge, a turnpike or a toll tunnel is.

I would think the folks living in or working in the zone before it was implemented would beg to differ.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1363 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
Ask NYC how many unpaid "diplomatic" parking tickets they have.

Exactly . . .

When the US Diplomats exceed the $$$millions$$$ in various and sundry charges, fines, etc that all the idiots in this country running around with diplomatic plates produce, then come see me about some congestion in London.

Quoting SATX (Reply 10):
You shouldn't be able to hit somebody while driving drunk and then tell the police who arrive to take you home and leave you alone. It's turned into little more than a perversion of justice at this point.

We agree . . . what is this - like twice???!!!  faint 

Recall in the late 1990s in DC some diplomat (country of origin forgotten) driving drunk in downtown DC (I was living there then) crashes over - literally over - a car full of teenaged girls . . . killing them all. This was his 4th or 5th DUI in DC. It was up in the air for weeks whether the bastard would be "allowed to be charged and tried" and not just shipped home. IMO - inexcuseable. His country eventually left it in DC Metro's hands . . . hopefully the bastard is still in kail somewhere.


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8450 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1346 times:
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How much is the charge anyway? How big is the US diplomatic corps in London that they can run up 200k in 6 months?


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 75
Reply 19, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1339 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 11):
Debatable. Taxis, busses, and the Tube are private or government industries there to make money

Actually, only taxis are in reality. While busses are run by the PPP, they serve as public transport and the government is not supposed to make money off of it. Whatever is made is supposed to be plowed back into the infrastructure (though the fact that they subsidize the profits of companies like First and Arriva kills that). The Tube is owned and operated by TfL, which means it is totally public and is not there to make money (though its MX is contracted out to Tube Lines and Metronet)

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 16):
It is supposed to be expanded out even further IIRC if it hasn't happened already.

The expansion to Kensington and Chelsea has been approved and will go into effect next year

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 16):
I would think the folks living in or working in the zone before it was implemented would beg to differ.

And there were truckers who drove the Autobahn before they were charged tolls (no tolls for PAX cars). It is still a toll, because it is based on optional usage when there are viable alternates

Quoting Andz (Reply 18):
How much is the charge anyway? How big is the US diplomatic corps in London that they can run up 200k in 6 months?

It has been 8 pounds per day since July 4th of last year. It was 5 pounds per day previously



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1318 times:

Quoting Scott0305 (Reply 12):
The congestion charge is a service charge which is there to make money to be reinvested in transportation and to lighten the burden on one of the most heavily traffic congested areas on the planet.

Sounds like a tax to me. But then again, so are tolls - they are a tax for using the particular bridge or road they are levied for. You can dress it up all you want, but if the government is collecting a "service charge," it is a tax.

If I was a British diplomat, I'd just stop paying tolls in the US. Same rationale.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1302 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 20):
If I was a British diplomat, I'd just stop paying tolls in the US. Same rationale.

It is, but as a courtesy to the host country, governments should pay up. They dont have to, but they should. This is especially true of friendly countries; they pay each other's charges, and they waive diplomatic immunity if one of their diplomats breaks the law.

The US might well have a case technically for saying this is a tax, but that's really beside the point. Refusing to pay hardly endears them to the British - Londoners especially, amongst whom they live and work, and for such a measly amount of money, that's a stupid thing to do, particularly when their British counterparts do pay.

British diplomats could turn around and refuse to pay US tolls, but I'd rather they didn't. That's just a really good way to piss off the local population for absolutely no good reason.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20496 posts, RR: 62
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1295 times:

I wonder how much in petrol taxes the US diplomatic mission to the UK is paying. At $6 or $7 per gallon, it must be quite a tab.


International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 75
Reply 23, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1281 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 22):
I wonder how much in petrol taxes the US diplomatic mission to the UK is paying. At $6 or $7 per gallon, it must be quite a tab.

Well, if they don't pay up, the gas station won't let them fill up. Then again, if they are at a station that still is pay after pumping, they can just cut and run.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1277 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 23):
Well, if they don't pay up, the gas station won't let them fill up. Then again, if they are at a station that still is pay after pumping, they can just cut and run.

Pretty much every petrol station in the UK is pay after pumping, and they are covered by CCTV.

A diplomat routinely driving off without paying will quickly find his movements restricted or his permission to be in the country withdrawn.


25 Halls120 : they don't pay the tax, technically. They pay it up front, but get a rebate later on.
26 AeroWesty : Hmm, that's very interesting. I wonder why a congestion charge wouldn't come under the same sort of deal. After all, a bridge toll is merely to help
27 Halls120 : While it may not endear our diplomats to not pay the congestion charge, it is a tax, and governments generally don't require other governments to pay
28 Banco : Yes, except that as has been pointed out, British diplomats in the US do pay local toll charges, which is also a form of tax. It's the same as with d
29 Post contains links AeroWesty : Ooooh, now you've done it, you'll cause another stir in Scotland! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skye_Bridge
30 Halls120 : I agree - this is probably more about the precedent than the amount of money. That the parties involved haven't reached such an agreement suggests th
31 MDorBust : Wait a second... The US doesn't pay and it's American arrogance. The rest of the world abuses NYC and DC and it's part of the diplomatic process? I'v
32 Post contains images Clipperhawaii : LOL This is such an old story between diplomats and countries. Let them sue us. And we will sue them. In other words, let them/us concentrate on matte
33 Post contains images Halls120 : The rest of the world didn't invent the double standard, they just live by it. The US embassy is in the congestion zone, as are most of the UK govern
34 MDorBust : So there is no feasibly secure way for the US diplomats to conduct their diplomatic duties without haveing to pay a governmental charge? Yeah, vienna
35 N1120A : Here is something interesting. I am betting that most US diplomats also live within the zone, so shouldn't they at least be subject to the 90% discou
36 Banco : I didn't say it was American arrogance. I said that people will perceive it as American arrogance. Come on, you know how people react to these things
37 Halls120 : I don't have an exact tally, but of the embassy employees I know, none of them live within the congestion zone. Mayfair is rather pricey, you know. I
38 Banco : And that's pretty much my point. It's managed to become a news story when it needn't have.
39 ANother : In Geneva we have a lot of diplomats and international civil servants. They are exempt from petrol taxes (they have a special card and at 'designated
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