Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No will for carbon friendly transportation strategy

While binge flying relentlessly puts pressure to expand airports thanks to the fact aviation fuel is not taxed, the government has just released details of its rail strategy: Rail fares to soar as government slashes funding - Times Online

Or rather the lack of:
"Ministers intend to shift the burden of paying for the railway much more heavily to passengers, who paid 50 per cent of the cost this year but will pay 75 per cent by 2014. "

This is appalling and hypocritical.

On one hand, the government is encouraging motorists stealth tax pretexting carbon emission and on the other it simply does not invest enough in non-polluting public transport. Trains are over-crowded and little improvement is to come. It took over 10 years to get the Eurostar connected with a proper high-speed line to London -with a great result: over 60% market share against airlines on the London-Paris route. This represents many many planes not buzzing in Richmond skies....

Commuters are often criticised for preferring their cars. This is in fact a perfectly rational choice. For instance, a Richmond resident working in Thames Valley Park in Reading, like many thousands of other employees, can travel by car of train. From North Sheen it takes about one hour and half although TVP is right between the Reading line and the Thames. This is because the station that was planned when TVP was developped has never been completed and one has to take a shuttle from Reading station.
So it's adding 30 mn each way, which is £8 if you have to pay childcare, plus £11 in rail faires, versus less than £10 by car and one hour.

Why can't we have continental-grade infrastructures? Why indeed...

PS: read also Mike Rutherford's column on Autoexpress: More rail inefficiency and more rate increases – and more investment from the Government

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