Sunday, 22 June 2008

'And this is why people prefer to drive'

. I don't drive but there are often days I wish I did; today was one of those days. I was travelling from Peterborough to York and I have to say that the experience left my totally angry at the standards of public transport, yet again. Firstly, I left my house at 08.40 because my train was at 09.46 - no bus for 40 minuets so I had to get a taxi. Now, Peterborough isn't Glasgow or London but it is a city and thus it is disgraceful that this should be the case even on a Sunday.

The train journey consisted of three changes because trains seemingly do not run between Grantham and Newark on Sunday morning. Upon arriving in Grantham we were delayed departing the train for 20 minutes while a shunting manoeuvre took place; why customers couldnt be allowed to disembark first was never explained. A cramped coach journey to Newark was follwed by a 10 minute departure delay due to a 'points failure' which resulted in a 'headless chicken' dash across Doncaster station to make the connection.

Fast-forward through my amazing day and back at the train station; 'Customers are advised that due to a major power failure at Doncaster they are advised if they are travelling to London Kings Cross to travel tomorrow. Tickets will still be valid'. So what? Tickets don't pay for a hotel room nor do they explain to an angry boss where you were Monday morning. Luckily, I made it home. However, the whole experience proves a point. Well it proves two;

a) the market and privatisation doesn't solve anything, in fact it has turned our transport system into something truly dreadful.

b) for all we bang on about getting people out of cars (worthy I agree) we wont change that with punitive taxation unless the alternative is viable which buses and trains often are not.

If we are serious about this goal then forget road pricing; forget green taxation. We have to start with sorting public transport out and then we can think about punitive taxation.....because then we can turn round and say there is no excuse for using a car.


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