Monday, December 01, 2014

Transport of despair

The government announces a 15 billion pound investment in roads.  Roads, people.  Not public transport, which would be the greenest way of bringing the most happiness to most people, but roads.  The bloated fat cats in Westminster need their transport, and hopefully the changes to that dreadful road down to Cornwall will cut the time it takes for them to get to their holoiday cottage in the back of beyond, don't you know?  /end sarcasm.

One of the commenters on the Guardian story suggested that people being able to drive out of Cornwall for a variety of reasons might also be important.  I'm not denying that Devon and Cornwall have been badly served for public transport and road infrastructure for a long time, and that probably does deserve investment.  But if the government has money sloshing around for transport, it seems to me that they should use some of it to improve public transport before they start making the roads shiny.

This area of Lincolnshire still has people in the signal boxes!  Although we have a journey of only 19 minutes to our county town, Lincoln, it is made very difficult to commute there for work. as I said in the Guardian comments myself "...It seems that the powers that be in this area expect you to drive and have a car, and if you don't, screw you. There are trains which thunder through Market Rasen station all the time on their way to Lincoln, but only two stop at the station in the morning - one at 6.22 am and the other at 7.39 am. As it takes 19 minutes to get to Lincoln, our nearest large town and employment centre, this means that you can get to town for 6.40am or 8 am roughly... if you can get on the second train at all, which is not infrequently impossible as it is a single carriage cattle truck. If you can't get on that train, you are stuck for two and a half hours before the next train stops.
We are killing our planet with our reliance on fossil fuels and cars. Our grandchildren and great grandchildren would rather like some of that money spent on improving public transport so that they can still breathe in 2050 - and I'd like some of it spent now so that commuting 19 minutes to town isn't an impossible dream."

And it's true.  The public transport system available in the capital is decades ahead of the system I have access to in Lincolnshire.  And it isn't good enough.

I am wondering how it is that the government justified the nationalization of the railways.  The East Coast line, which was taken back into public ownership, made £225 million in profit last year, and people were very pleased with the services it offered, but they went ahead and reprivatised it big fat anyway. so now the profits will go to the shareholders and not to the public purse.  It's no wonder at all that the governments books aren't balancing, with the income and possible profits going to private firms and the costs of transport infrastructure all being paid for by the public purse - and that includes train infrastructure - it's only the profitable parts that are in private ownership.  We own the costly bit.

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