Tuesday, 23 November 2010
More than 50% of Scots refuse to listen to pleas to use 'sustainable modes of transport' and the number of cars on Scotland's roads is increasing.
Last year the Scottish Government pumped £60 million into schemes promoting public transport, cycling and walking with my own council contributing their fair share. Figures released this week show that fewer than 1% of Scots use a bicycle as their main mode of transport, while bus use has plummeted to its lowest level in a decade with only 8.6% of people relying on them. Recently, ministers pledged more than £17 million of public money to fund a 'cycling action plan' over the next year while £4.4 millions being spent on a 'green bus fund'.
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: "We are fully committed to reducing road congestion whilst continuing to provide people with real alternatives to the car.
I live in a rural area and car is my choice of transport. Buses are every hour to Dundee or Perth during the day and the last one is 8pm. To visit my hairdresser in Perth by bus would take around 90 minutes. By car it's less than 30 minutes. I expect to need a car as I live in a rural area. It's part of everyday life and the freedom to go wherever and whenever I choose is important to me. I've never applied for a bus pass and don't intend to do so unless I'm unable to continue driving.
When I've lived in cities I've used public transport as it seemed the more suitable, and sensible, form of transport. No parking worries, a frequent service and a reasonable cost. Whether the bus was a more sustainable mode of transport to my car was irrelevant. The ease of travel was my priority.
Critics say the Scottish Government is 'wasting time' on green schemes as they fail to persuade the public to give up cars. A spokesman for the Association of British Drivers (ABD) said:
“When are these numbskulls going to realise that people pay out a lot of money to buy a car and pay for tax, repairs and petrol and do not want to leave it to sit there doing nothing just to stand in the freezing cold waiting for a bus?
“Having a car gives you freedom, but I can’t understand why so much is spent on attempting to remove this freedom from people.
“It’s socialism gone wrong. And as the winter comes in, they’re wasting time trying to get people to give up their cars, as most people would rather brave the cold in the comfort of their vehicles.”
I've no objections to money being spent on cycle lanes and other matters concerning road safety, but to continue to squander millions on persuading the public to leave their cars at home is foolish.
Update: I see Kenneth Roy is writing about two wheeled transport today and the excesses of NHS Education for Scotland.