This week has been quite eye-opening for me in one way or another. First we had the Government’s excuse for a “clean air plan” to reduce pollution – then I happened to read a letter in “RAIL” magazine which I agreed with the first paragraph of, thought the rest of it didn’t go far enough, and ended up wondering which planet the writer was living on. Also, there is a continuing debate about the franchises for the operation of the Railways in the UK (and how most of the Train Operating Companies are the “State owned” Railway companies from other countries). As for the debate as to whether the Trains should be taken back into Public ownership (or renationalised) – don’t get me started.
Personally I think the UK could learn a lot from other countries as far as the running of a good quality Public Transport system is concerned.
People are being encouraged to use their cars less and choose other modes of transport where they can.
As someone who is reliant on Public Transport I have a few suggestions which can make it a lot more attractive for people to use.
First – make the buses cheap, comfortable, and reliable. There is no point having a bus service which is more expensive than almost any other form of transport.
Second – instead of finishing the journey in a place apparently picked at random make sure the bus connects with another mode of transport. (More about that in a bit.)
Third – instead of choking city centres with bus fumes consider using teams or underground trains to transport humans across the city centre.
Fourth – have an “all transport modes” ticket which is available nationally as well as being useable nationally. Think “Oyster card” but scaled up to cover the entire UK.
When I go to Holland I am always amazed at how connected the Public Transport is over there. If you are at a railway station you won’t have to look very far to see a bus station (especially if you are at major railway stations). Not only that but some of the service buses run between local railway stations – allowing passengers who don’t live close to them to access them. This has the added bonus of not having Rail Replacement bus services. The letter I mentioned at the beginning of this of blog post suggested running coaches between Railway stations – and not allowing bus passes to be used on them.
I realise there are some cities in the UK which have managed to integrate their transport systems – as well as having trams and/or underground trains in the city centre but most of the country appears to be a disjointed mess.
The only way we are going to reduce pollution in our cities is by encouraging people to use public transport. The only way we are going to encourage them to use it (other than forcibly separating them from either their driving license or their cars) is by making it truly accessible. Oh, and reducing journey times to manageable levels.
Interconnected public transport can be a reality – we just need to make it happen.