I've no idea if anyone from 'foreign climes' will be reading this, but we in the UK have a peculiar tendency to charge for anything and everything to do with travel. We also seem to be world-leaders in punishing drivers for doing what has been recommended by way of government policy.
Some ten years ago, the UK government wanted us drivers to buy diesel vehicles. They produce less CO2 than petrol engined vehicles, and often go further on the same volume of fuel. We drivers did as the government recommended. 10 years later, diesels are now worse than petrol engined vehicles unless they use ultra-modern technology (which is not retro-fittable) although the new technology now makes them 'cleaner' than petrol engines once again. The bogeyman of older diesels "particulates".
There has been a "Congestion Zone" in the Westminster/West End of London for some years. To the occasional visitor, that charge has been avoidable, since it only operated during 'weekday working hours'. The current charge is £11-50 and that charge is made between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Secure parking is expensive too, at circa £10 an hour. On street parking not much cheaper, if cheaper at all and usually comes with a 4 hour maximum stay. Who would WANT to drive into the West End? Transport for London (TfL) would say this works well keeping the street open enough for buses and taxi's to navigate the busiest areas, and encourages people to use public transport. Having used London Underground, and been completely confounded by the London bus system, no-one will be surprised I would not use it, and that's before costs are brought into the equation. Circa £12 for a daily ticket, and an inclusive ticket that includes overground travel being closer to £24. For two people using public transport, it can still be more expensive than a short car trip into the West End, and a lot slower if you are going to one place.
With the news "particulates" from diesel powered vehicles are more dangerous than CO2 emissions, the London mayor and TfL have introduced a new charge for vehicles that produce particulates, the very engine type the UK government encouraged people to buy claiming they were more 'environment friendly'. And unsurprisingly, this new charge is applied around the clock, so no escape from it - other than staying away or even more expensive public transport. As some are saying, this is not much more than a local tax, and not a cheap one at £12-50 per day for a smaller vehicle. Visitors to the West End using diesel vehicles that don't have new technology engine management systems (with additives injected into the fuel system to prevent particulates being formed), are being charged £ 24 per vehicle per day (unless exempt from the £11-50 Congestion Charge). I drive an older diesel, as recommended by the government of the day.
How is this pertinent on the Outing V thread? Not only do I not plan to walk through London's public transport system to get to the venue wearing a court shoe (which might ruin them anyway), I do plan to drive there. My journey might be late enough to avoid the Congestion Charge, but I won't be able to avoid the Emission Zone charge of £12-50. I might be more inclined to use public transport if the each way journey didn't add up to £12 each (there will be two of us travelling) and there is car parking at the Underground Station to add to the £24 (total) transport cost. And add to the the two lots of costs, a fair bit of walking too.
Paying the ULEZ charge is more economic, saves time, and a lot of energy. So has the 'charge' actually done anything to reduce the particulates from my vehicle? Will that charge/money do anything about reducing the particulates from any vehicle? So it's not a charge, it's a fine. I get fined for driving a vehicle that uses an engine the government told me they wanted me to drive.