Public transport and the environment
January 17, 2007 10:25am CST
Are our politicians doing enough to encourage us to use public transport? In the UK, they're supposedly trying to dissuade drivers from using their cars, by adding City charges, and toll-roads, but really is this anything more than an extra tax on transport, penalising the poor, and keeping the roads for the rich? The government promised to improve public transport, to make it a viable alternative to using cars, but instead of investing money in our public transport, and regulating that industry, to provide reliable, affordable public transport, it syphons off money into making more roads. Are they serious about giving us alternatives, or is it yet another excuse for yet another way to make us pay through the nose?
20 Jan 07
I have to agree with the comments already given in this discussion, 'Two Jags' is certainly doing his bit for the environment, the more he uses them the quicker the fossil fuels run out. I was asked a couple of years ago if I had gone to work by public transport (it was the day of our Christmas lunch) as I was going out drinking later in the day. I replied that I couldn't afford to do that as the 10 mile journey cost almost double what it does when I go by car. And also, it is so unreliable, dirty, smelly no heating when you need it, on full when you don't and expensive!!! My wife is from the Philippines, the transport system there is quite good with the jeepneys running a regular service at a good price, even by Philippine standards. There are very few privately owned cars and when I was there for a few months last yearr I never even considered hiring a car because the transport systems got me where I wanted to go in relative ease and comfort. Until the politicians sort out what the priorities really are then in the UK we don't stand a chance, we will be taxed to the hilt and then taxed more. When Tony Blair states that he doesn't want to impose undue hardship on those who want to take long haul holidays then you know that nothing is being done seriously, yes they impose 'green' taxes but where are they going? What about the US, one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels pumping millions tons of toxins into the atmosphere every minute of every day? Are they taxed to the hilt for their fuel, I don't think so, not when they now have easy access to supplies in the Middle East.
21 Jan 07
Great answer! A+. Politicians aren't even attempting to make it appear that they're taxing the biggest polluters the most. These "green" taxes are yet another way to make people who can barely make ends meet, pay some more for substandard facilities, whilst proportionally making little difference to the rich and the corporations, who pollute the most. This government seem to think that the environment doesn't matter (as they won't be in power forever), and that they can cash in on the "green" thing, but that the environment's beyond repair, so why bother to actually make an effort. It's also another step on the road to widening the already huge gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots". And this is a left-wing party?!!
19 Jan 07
In Italy, specially in Turin, the situation in this period is much controversial. In these days with the block of the diurnal traffic for cars ante 1999, many persons cannot enter in the city center by day, the public transport don't offer an adeguate service. A lot of the public transport have lot of delay, the means is overcrowded and moreover it not rare that they have technical problems of varied kind, many they are so obsolete and they pollute a lot, are in the rance of Euro 0. The ticket for the public transport is valid for 60 minuts and cost 1 Euro, is not little for the service (insufficient) that it comes offered. There are an incentive in order to acquire a new car, but for me it is not right to OBLIGATE the people to change the car, not all have the economic possibility to make it!
19 Jan 07
Thank-you for your response. It sounds like it's as bad in Italy as it is in the UK. I really think that governments need to start investing in affordable practical public transport. As you say, not everyone can afford new cars, or even a car at all, and electric Trams, trains and buses need to be the way ahead. Perhaps if the politicians were forced to live without a car on a limited travelling budget, they'd understand the need, but they don't care, because these issues don't affect them, or the rich business-people they mix with.
19 Jan 07
In Manchester, we were promised an extension to our tram system in 1998, and by 2 successive Ministers for Transport, before they spent the funds invading Iraq to secure more oil for cars, instead. They allow Stagecoach to operate virtually a monopoly on buses, which they consistently fail to deliver. The authorities then slap their wrists with negligible fines, but don't remove any of their routes! The West Coast mainline rail service was supposed to take high speed tilting trains in time for the Commonwealth Games 8 years ago, and still don't today. This government doesn't want to do anything except pay lip service, and then jobs in the industry later. What else would you expect from 'Two Jags' Prescott, who drove his wife 50 yards so her hair wouldn't get messy?!