A survey has found that British road traffic has increased by 73 per cent in the past 20 years, and Britons are spending more on cars than houses.

A survey has found that British road traffic has increased by 73 per cent in the past 20 years, and Britons are spending more on cars than houses.

A British Department of Transport survey indicated that the number of households with two or more cars outnumbers those without a car.

It also said 69 per cent of people travel to work by car, 11 per cent walk, while only seven per cent catch the bus. The number of people taking the bus has dropped by 21 per cent since 1982.

The Office for National Statistics said the average Briton spent R5 500 a week in the year to April 2002. Of this, about R800 was spent on transport, which consisted mainly of car payments and costs. House mortgages averaged R350 a week.

The reliance on cars is not good news for the British government, which is trying to reduce congestion and encourage more people to use public transport.

From this week, motorists entering London will be required to pay a congestion levy of five pounds a day (about R67). Taxis and buses are exempt. The congestion levy will apply between 7am and 6.30 pm on weekdays and be enforced by digital camera.

London mayor Ken Livingstone claimed the daily charge would cut traffic by 15 per cent and raise R1,7 billion for the city's transport system. "Everyone knows that tough decisions have to be made to tackle the congestion which cripples the capital. Congestion charging is the only option available - there is no practical alternative," he said.

However, it does not sound like motorists are willing to get out of their cars. A few protesters gathered this week and said they would not support the congestion charge. "I think it's a total liberty. It's another tax on people and we get ripped off enough," said one protester.

In South Africa, a similar idea is behind the proposed Gautrain to run between Pretoria and Johannesburg. Authorities say the congestion on the Ben Schoeman highway has increased by seven per cent a year over the last two years and it’s hoped the rapid rail system will alleviate the problem.

Original article from Car