Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Sustainable Transport

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.



Oldrightie said...

Part of the stupidity of our NWO morons. We really are lions led by donkeys!

subrosa said...

We could build quite a few council houses for the money OR.

Dubbieside said...


Thats fine if you own a car and can afford to run it.

Do we just let public transport die, and the people who do not own a car, what then happens to them?

Trying to encourage more people to use public transport so that it is sustainable in the longer term, to the benefit of everyone, but particularly the people who have no other method of transport, is to my mind to be applauded.

Remember this is to encourage people to use public transport, not force them against their will.

Anonymous said...

In between one of my cars falling to pieces and me buying the next one, I noticed that the problems with using a bus in Dundee are as follows:

By and large the bus drivers are an unpleasant lot. Their job is hard I know, and bus companies are notoriously mean and disagreeable employer, but, while I truly sympathise with all that, it doesn’t make it any more agreeable to use a bus;

They are not particularly punctual or reliable. I wouldn’t put my trust in one of the Dundee busses. They are likely to simply not turn up or to be late. That’s OK if you are off to visit friends (well relatively OK), but if it’s for an appointment, an interview or to work, it’s a useless situation.

The authorities seem not to worry too much about the neds who put their feet up on the bus seats, the old men who spit on the floor and the people of all ages who leave the bus dirty and unpleasant. The stale beery fumes from old blokes that have spent the afternoon in the pub alone would persuade me to take my car. Small matters but none the less, another unpleasant part of the experience.

Most of all the cost is astronomical in comparison to using the car. It costs me about 10p to drive to my mother’s house; it costs me £1.30 to go on the bus. QED.

Don’t get me started on trains in the UK. Nightmare!

JRB said...

For long enough I have criticised and decried our politicians for their inefficiencies and ineptitudes. Now at last I think I have found something at which they excel – wasting public money.

Already we have seen in the last year some £60m poured into schemes which have made no substantial improvement in public transport. Use of existing systems still remains at an all-time low. Now, yet another £20m is to be wasted in trying to persuade Scots to get on their bikes.

As an occasional visitor to the urban conurbations of the central belt, I can clearly see the need for an efficient public transport system which caters for the needs of the people; but that is where it falls short, it operates to the bottom line of a commercial enterprise, not the social need of the people.

And I would remind all, that the central belt of Scotland is but a small fraction of the land mass of Scotland. Those of us living in rural Scotland would consider our rural public transport system as no more than a cruel joke imposed upon us all.

To give a simple example –
My surgery is, as the crow flies, some 5miles from my house. To get their by public transport is a 13mile tortuous round trip involving three buses. Due to the vagaries of the timetables, that 13mile trip takes some two and a half hours; ie - five hours there and back for a ten minute appointment.

Is it any wonder that I use my car.

Sandy said...

Last few times i have been on a bus I have been one of the only paying customers on.

Of the 20 or 30 people getting on at the bus station something like 90% seem to have free passes.

Appears to me that it is not economic or convenient to travel by bus unless you have a free pass.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"I can’t understand why so much is spent on attempting to remove this freedom from people"

He really can't understand it?

He doesn't realise, then, what the hidden (and not-so-hidden) agenda of the Left is?

He hasn't noticed that the Left's idea of a good citizen is one who waits patiently in the rain for the nationalised bus to arrive (times, dates, and routes arranged for the convenience of the bus company employees, of course), and never complains?

All this talk of freedom, good grief, that's not for the little people.

Derek Bennett EU-Sceptic said...

Just this morning I have received an e-mail from Peter Roberts of the Drivers Alliance in response to an e-mail I sent out with a press release from Mike Nattrass MEP about the problems being created from the High Speed rail route.

I have put Peter's information on my blog at: http://derekbennetteu-sceptic.blogspot.com/2010/11/relative-transport-spending.html

It relates to the lack of spending on our roads per passenger numbers compaired to the railways.

Apogee said...

Hi SR. As a driver and also a holder of a bus pass, I use whatever is the most useful at the time.
I am not against using public transport when it is the best option, but often it is not.In my own case a trip to the nearest town by car is 10 minutes, and 45 minutes by bus, great if you don't mind a scenic tour around the various council housing schemes.Of course there is the waiting time, between 10 and 20 minutes, so that is at least two hours out of your day by bus, max of 30 minutes by car.Because of my bus pass, cost is not a consideration in determining what to use,but 2 hours wasted certainly is.
As for using a pushbike, forget it.
On todays roads with todays traffic,its a very good way to reducing the population !I would prefer not to go to the promised land on the bumper of an Artic !

Elby the Beserk said...

I live in rural Somerset. Here, public transport is largely a notion, and when it does happen, costs two to three times what using your car does.

I lived in Bristol for over 20 years, and the PT there is a nightmare. Outlandishly expensive, utterly unreliable, and as a result, the roads are clogged - all the time it would seem.

subrosa said...

Dubbie, I run a cheap car. Including servicing it works out at around £10 a week. Nobody expects to live rurally without their own transport nowadays.

I only know one person who doesn't drive. He uses public transport to work as he works in the city. Otherwise he has people like me to give him lifts. :)

subrosa said...

Don't get me started on trains either Tris. I can't even manage the timetables these days.

subrosa said...

Well said John. All this is in the interests of commerce and nothing to do with moving the population as easily and comfortable as possible.

Of course it's not aimed at us. There's no big money to be made from small communities.

subrosa said...

That's interesting Sandy. I should think it's very similar around here. Many pensioners use the bus because it's free with their pass even though they have a car. Their choice I suppose.

subrosa said...

No, us hoi polloi are immaterial in the big scheme of things WY, although the likes of Edinburgh does have a good bus system. What will happen to it if/when the trams start is anyone's guess.

subrosa said...

Many thanks Derek. I'll have a look right now.

subrosa said...

Hi Apogee. Now I'm persuaded to get a bus pass whether I use it or not. :)

I gave up cycling some years ago exactly for that reason. Not that I did long trips but it was good for small shopping.

subrosa said...

I know rural Somerset well Elby as I had family live there for 30 years. Public transport was a dream right enough but there was a bus once a week to take folk into Sainsburys in Bridgwater.

Joe Public said...

"To visit my hairdresser in Perth by bus would take around 90 minutes."

You could cycle, but the effect of the safety helmet & wind rather defeats the objective of visiting the clippie.

Joe Public said...

Our council spent millions creating dedicated "Bus Lanes" from which private cars are banned. The result is massive congestion because relatively little traffic uses 50% of the road space.

It wouldn't be so bad, but it's car drivers' RFL that's used to pay-for & maintain these massive expanses of road.

I've no objection to bus lanes, provided the bloody bus companies pay for them. In their entirety.

subrosa said...

It's 19 miles Joe. Cycling?

subrosa said...

Quite a few cities are doing away with bus lanes now Joe. Obviously yours isn't though.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Don't knock free bus passes. For many pensioners it's not the efficiency of PT as a system of transport that matters its the fact it is a means of free heat and socialising that makes it attractive during winter.

By the way Rosa: the date of April the 29th for the wedding seems close enough. Close enough anyway to keep ruling Britannia hogging the airwaves and bask in the limelight.

Westminster Abbey might just be a pantomime stage but the Westminster parliament doesn't miss a trick.

Anon said...

Even when we have had a chauffeur, we have liked to walk to work.

- Aangirfan

subrosa said...

Forgive me for knocking free bus passes RA because, yes I know many older folk go 'bussing' because it saves on their heating bills. In fact, I only found out last year that many did that from here - taking the bus into the cities then getting the next bus back home only to do it again.

Doesn't that say something about how we treat our pensioners that many can't afford to heat their homes enough for them to live in comfort but feel a bus gives them something they can't afford?

Of course they don't miss a trick. Never mind, we'll do the best we can to stop the unionists on their endeavours to campaign on the back of the marriage of two people.

subrosa said...

Aaangirfan, I do admire your tenacity. Must admit I'm my own chauffeuse so I maked the choice not to walk the 19 miles -not even on an occasional basis.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, there is next to no viable public transport in Scotland apart from the Glasgow underground, which I as someone who lives 25 miles from Glasgow has never been on. I can be in Glasgow city centre in 20 minutes if the A77 is clear, but it would take an hour and a half by public transport. So, who is going to use it?

Apogee said...

Hi SR, I can understand the idea of using the bus as a means of keeping warm, but I would be worried about freezing to death waiting for it to turn up.
Which all reminds me of a guy I worked with in Australia many years ago. He was in UK on a holiday and he discovered that it was far cheaper to use the sleeper on the trains than use hotels, due to the concessions available to overseas travellers, spend one day in the north, next day in the south, he reckoned the overnight sleeper was a great way to go, much cheaper than hotels.

Anonymous said...

The problem with other people's freedom to use cars is that it makes life a misery for some of us living (because of work) in the country. My otherwise idyllic road was a rat run. The previous tenant had planted Leylandii around the garden, which we were going to cut down but soon discovered that there was a good reason for them being there (namely, the amount of passing traffic). Waiting for the bus at the end of the road was a test of nerves, as lorries and cars zoomed past at 60 mph or more (the most fun were the lorries racing each other) and I stood at the edge of the road and looked at what should have been a peaceful country scene with only the roar of tractors to disturb it. It was miserable because of all the people who didn't bother to get themselves to a train into Edinburgh.

subrosa said...

I've never been on it either. Yes DL, that's the problem. There's no system down your way where there should be a highly organised one to encourage people to travel on public transport.

Even Italy does it better, but then they've kept all their railways.

subrosa said...

They used to be cheaper Apogee, but I suspect, like everything else, a sleeper will be an investment nowadays rather than a service.

subrosa said...

Unfortunately berenike that's the price we have to pay when we live on a main road even though we are in the country. Didn't you notice when you bought your house? Surely it quietens down in the evenings?

I don't hear traffic these days but maybe it's just because I'm used to it.

Billy said...

Only one big problem folks...in about five years time no one will be able to afford to put petrol in their cars because demand will overtake supply by then...the huge Chinese, Indian, South American etc populations are using the oil now at a rate faster than the west has ever done.

All those rights and freedoms everyone likes to quote has led to us 20% in the west using up 80% of the worlds reources now the other 80% of the worlds population wants their share of what is left.

This is going to be the next big crisis as oil affects eveything and any alternative is going to be expensive as the demand is not going to go away.

subrosa said...

Aye we're exporting a lot now Billy if you look at that chart I published with an earlier post.

There is going to be a crisis and it will affect all of us.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The problem Billy with the management of crises, is that most of them areengineered and the rest exploited to suit the short term pockets of the Oligarchs.

Yes, in the end, the poor will inherit the Earth. But, by then, it will a depleted asset capable of offering little in the way of comfort.

Or, conversely, a playground for the few and a bonded existence for the other few they need to service them.

Huxley and Orwell, amongst many others, warned of it; we have allowed it to become entrenched.

The financial "crises" of 2008 was merely a pustule of this cancer/poison (call it what you will) erupting on the surface. When do we decide to clear this toxin right out?

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a main road, and we were tenants. There aren't that many farms for lease around Edinburh that seclusion can be high up on the list of priorities.

Anonymous said...

And what about somone in their seventies or eighties living in an inherited house on the main street of one of those little villages/towns that now straddle main roads. Your front door is four feet away from constant traffic, often lower than the level of the road, noise, fumes, ...

And if people in towns did use more public transport (I'm not saying they're unreasonable for not doing so, especially as the public transport in most of the UK is useless), town centres would be a lot nicer for everyone else, and indeed for the ex-car-users. Repeat: I am not saying "You Must/Should Use Public Transport".

Just wanted to point out that using cars is not without deleterious effects on other people's lives, which wasn't really mentioned in the post.

subrosa said...

Berenike, I live on a main road into a small town. That's my choice because the road was there when I moved in here.It has it's benefits because it's usually reasonably well gritted in winter so I'm never stuck.

No that wasn't mentioned in the post because I don't think cars make any worse an impact on people's lives - even less that Tesco wagons flying past during the night and endless farm vehicles rumbling along.

Then again, I don't live in an area where there are endless traffic jams and these days I can usually pick and choose my time to visit the cities in order to avoid them.

It's all about choice berenike. You seem to have decided on a house on a busy road but unfortunately didn't identify how busy it was beforehand. I choose to live in a rural area because I have a very economical car which provides me with freedom of movement.

You should have tried for a farm up this way. They're all well off any road, main or B road.

Anonymous said...

Well, as I said, there wasn't much choice (couldn't leave the Edinburgh area cos the clients wouldn't move with us) :) We know what the road was like, having lived just down the road for eight years. But please not I wasn't complaining, I was just pointing out that my or your free choice to use a car does (often, at least) affect other people negatively in some way. I wasn't complaining. It's possible to point out something bad without complaining about it!


subrosa said...

Unfortunately berenike, one man's meat is another man's poison. Aye we all make choices and many of us have to compromise, but in this day and age I doubt if people will stop using private transport.

Anyway, I'd much rather have 10 cars whizz by my door than 10 buses. ;)

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