The original Archway Tollgate. Installed in 1813, it was eventually dismantled in 1876. This picture dates from 1873.
Published: April 1st, 2016
by MICHAEL MALAPERT
Plans to impose a charge for the use of Archway Road could mark a return to the days of the Tollgate, last seen in the 1870s. While transport bosses and planners claim that it will speed traffic flow through this notoriously congested stretch of road, detractors are criticising the proposal for creating a two tier system, with non-toll traffic being forced onto residential roads.
The recently formed development body for transport in the capital, Transit Executive for London (TEfLon), said the scheme will be introduced to coincide with the completion of the Archway Gyratory works, using technology similar to the Oyster card. An in-vehicle device, known as a Multi-User Single-Sideband Encrypted Link (Mussel), will enable drivers to be charged remotely. The devices will require a chip, similar to a SIM card, to activate them.
Responding to news that the devices would be available solely through TEfLon’s own supplier, Mo Malone, secretary of the Archway Retail Groups Union (ARGU), said she would be campaigning to allow local traders to sell Mussels and chips. She described TEfLon as “slippery customers”, saying that they had avoided answering any of her enquiries. “This will take local transport back 200 years” she added. “Dick Whittington will be turning again in his grave”.
Controversially, the contract for the scheme’s implementation has provisionally been awarded to Mountebank Solutions, the company notorious for the San Seriffe traffic system, which famously came to a full stop.
Local groups and environmentalists expressed shock at the news. Dorothy Leng, chair of WHPARA (the Whitehall Park Area Residents’ Association) condemned the proposals out of hand, describing them as “utter foolishness”.