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Theatregoers to Get Congestion Charge refund
- Livingstone plans 'No charge plays' scheme to lure drivers to West End shows

KEN LIVINGSTONE is to try a bold new initiative - dubbed 'No Charge Plays' - to lure people to London's theatres following the apparent failure of his original cheap tickets scheme.

In what he calls an unparalleled example of "joined-up government", the London Mayor is thought to be keen to offer reduced Congestion Charge (CC) fees to those who watch shows at West End theatres.

Livingstone was slated by a London Assembly committee for spending UKP600,000 of public money to subsidise low ticket prices, a move which the committee says has only brought forth a tiny amount of new theatregoers.

But the Mayor is determined to widen his scheme and is now looking at ways to link theatregoing and car-driving. The idea is that people who produce ticket stubs from West End shows will be able to claim a CC refund at specially constructed booths to be sited on strategic street corners across the capital.

Livingstone says the scheme will, "make the arts more accessible to Londoners and will celebrate cultural diversity as we will be painting the refund booths in lots of different ethnic colours, not just red, white and blue."

In a further move, Livingstone plans to allow CC avoiders to swap UKP80 fines for a night out at unpopular shows. "That way, experimental and duff plays get the rare sight of full stalls and a due punishment is served by CC offenders while they sit through some frankly awful theatrical dross," the Mayor explained on April 1.

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