Good news if you are planning drive into Milan, Italy this August.
Milan’s congestion charging system has been suspended which means the centre of the city can be accessed by car with fear of being fined.
It is not yet known when exactly the congestion charging system or some replacement will be reinstated.
***Update – 30 August 2012 ***
The Area C congestion charging system may be reactivated on September 17th 2012 – more here: Milan’s Area C Congestion Charge to Retun, Maybe
***End of Update***
What happened was that a business in Milan took the city authorities to court over a huge loss in earnings. The company in question owned a car park in the city centre and had seen its profits nearly halved as a result of the introduction of the Area C congestion charge system.
While the suspension is good news for tourists and for city centre businesses, it is not so good news, perhaps, for the health of the people who live in Milan. Pollution levels, if the suspension continues, will rise, especially after the summer break when the city comes back to life.
Traffic levels in August in Milan are not high because most of the city’s residents go away for most of the month.
Generally, the Area C congestion charge and its predecessor the Ecopass were suspended in August, anyway.
Milan’s authorities are fighting the suspension, but the outcome is not known yet. The Area C congestion charge had reduced city centre traffic levels by nearly 35% and the number of traffic accidents had fallen too. Surface level public transport ran more freely as a result of the reduction in traffic levels, so travel was quicker too.
For businesses in the centre of Milan, such as the car park which obtained the suspension, the Area C system was not welcomed. I did speak to a bar owner and he was very unhappy as his earnings had fallen substantially. The same gentleman will no doubt be very happy that, for the moment, Milan’s Area C is on hold.
If you want to visit Milan this summer & drive into the centre, you should be fine, and will not be fined.