At £8 ($16) a pop, London's congestion charge seemed eyewateringly expensive to those on this side of the pond even before the dollar went into freefall. But it's even more costly for those who drive into the congestion zone area and forget to pay the toll, who have to cough up between $100 and $300 for their absentmindedness.
Cue the Kenbuster, a device designed to save these poor souls from getting stung with hefty fines. Named in honor of Ken Livingstone, London's mayor and the brains behind the congestion charge, the Kenbuster uses a built-in GPS receiver to detect when its owner has ventured into the payment area. It then automatically authorizes the $16 payment using a GPRS connection, enabling drivers to go about their business without having to remember to pay the charge when they get home.
As noted by ourbrethren, however, there is one significant drawback to this would-be-money saver: it costs £200 ($400) for infinite use or £50 ($100) and then £8 ($16) a month one a one-year contract. This means that drivers would have to forget to pay the charge (and therefore pay the fines) more than four times for the Kenbuster to make economic sense. As our waggish British counterparts point out, the whole process can be summed up thus:
- 1) The KenBuster's detects congestion charge zone entry.
- 2) The KenBuster authorizes a payment from your bank account.
- 3) The KenBuster sends you a text message telling you how you're sticking it to The Man.
- 4) The makers of the KenBuster laugh all the way to the bank.
- 5) We laugh at you.