Cheaper by car by far

Dramatic new evidence” states that car travel has become far cheaper than public transport according to this article from the Independent:

“Dramatic new evidence that car travel has become far cheaper while buses and trains have soared in cost led to renewed attacks on Labour’s transport policy last night, as MPs said the Government was undermining its own battle against climate change.

According to newly disclosed statistics, the cost of car travel has fallen by 10 per cent over the past 30 years, while the price of bus and train tickets has risen by more than 50 per cent. The respective trends have continued throughout Labour’s period in office.”

What’s so new about it?  All those struggling, juggling working parents have known this for years.  That’s why they’re still in their cars!  It’s perfectly obvious in this climate-change age that we need to get people out of their cars and the only way we’ll achieve this is to provide an easily accessible, convenient and affordable town transport system. 

As for those huge freight trucks – cripes!  I cringe when I see those humongous things on the tiny roads of my small town trying to tlorries.jpgurn a sharp corner at a junction or squeeze through the traffic with parked cars on one side and the traffic queued on the other.  I can’t believe that we still haven’t got a decent rail network system in place yet which has taken those things off the road once and for all.  A rail delivery network will have the desired result of a cleaner, faster delivery system and will ease road congestion and maintenance.  It would drastically reduce town smog and pollution and will be a lot less of a burden on our roads.  What are they waiting for?

Gordon – procrastination is the thief of time!


12 responses to this post.

  1. They have been subsidizing cars via tax dollars for years. That’s why it SEEMS cheaper. If drivers had to take the actual cost of their car out of pocket, then public transport would be cheaper.

    I’m glad little indian turned me on to your blog via “the power of schmooze award.” sorry I’ve been missing it. I am adding you to my blogroll.

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer


  2. People think driving is a lot cheaper than it actually is. Dividing the TOTAL cost of ownership by the distance driven makes the cost per mile a lot higher.
    But if you already have a car anyway, the INCREMENTAL cost of another car journey is relatively low.


  3. Here a tram service has been established between the two most important towns in the island (12 kilometres apart). Efficient and clean it appears to be reducing private driving considerably, contributing to a cleaner environment. I opposed it at the beginning because it meant a fantastic disbursement ( more than Euro 300 million ) while we still lack hospital beds, doctors and nurses and the buses could have been re-conditioned to use non-polluting fuel. Being a fait accompli, there is nothing else I can do but use it and think of its advantages.


  4. Yes, excuse the title. T’was for dramatic effect. When somebody already owns a car it’s always going to be hard to get them to use public transport so it should be made harder to own a car. But before that, we need a reliable and convenient public transport system.

    The point is, public transport costs are rising while car travel is getting cheaper. How can this be right? The Labour party promised an integrated transport policy but we’ve had nothing but U-turns. According to the report, since they came into power, the cost of using a car has fallen by 10% yet bus travel has increased by 13% and rail travel by 6%. How can they justify this while pledging to lead the world against climate change?

    Public transport, as it it now, is extremely limited, it’s requires regular expensive up-front costs and it’s just not convenient enough for us. It won’t take us where we need to go, when we need to be there. I have to take my kids to school and be at work fifteen minutes later. There are no bus or train services that would provide that. The only alternative would be a taxi which would defeat the object and would be expensive.


    Clapso, thanks very much. I’ve returned the compliment. I love your blog.


    Jose, I hear what you’re saying with regard to the allocation of funds where it’s needed most. Public money spent on weapons and defense would be much better spent on our schools and hospitals too. If only!

    Tram systems do seem to ease congestion in our towns and cities. Strangely, I’ve was always frightened of getting on a tram but I did grow out of it.


  5. Most of the buses in London are heaving most of the time and there are loads of buses on the road. The same goes for the underground system. They could probably make better use of the overground train network but that to is full to bursting south of the river.

    Difficult to know what else they could do for London except encourage investment and work in other UK cities (eg. the BBC moving north). The efficiency of cars need to be improved, their wastes dealt with by recycling, which new EU directives have started to deal with and people need to be more considerate with their use.

    Otherwise I think the car is an incredible invention.


  6. Yes, I know what you mean about cars Matt. But improving their energy eficiency won’t reduce congestion. I agree that there’s nothing more that can be done about London and to be fair I think Ken has done a great job there (good point about encouraging business out of London). But across the country, public transport needs to be hugely improved. And I feel strongly that we need to get some of those freight lorries off the roads and onto rail networks.


  7. > But across the country, public transport needs to be hugely improved. And I feel strongly that we need to get some of those freight lorries off the roads and onto rail networks.

    I agree.


  8. One issue that will have to be addressed is that of reducing the amount of travelling that people and goods do, whether public transport or private cars. Transport is one of the major energy consumers, and energy will only get scarcer and more expensive in the future.
    Never mind the old chestnut of encouraging working from home. We need to create a mindset where everything is done more locally: food production, shopping, working. Not only will this cut energy consumption and pollution, it will foster a renewed sense of community and encourage interest in the local environment.


  9. Great place you have here! 😉


  10. Pete, spot on!

    This is an excellent article …..


    Harmonia, thank you. 🙂


  11. Hi earthpal, yes, good article. I admit to being a bit taken aback by the statement that “an acre can feed twenty people comfortably”. Being a baby boomer, I revisited my dusty 70’s self-sufficiency ‘bibles’.

    “One acre of land can easily be made to produce food for a family of 5 to 10 people, but if intensive methods are used, 5 people may live off as little as 1/4 of an acre” (Survival Scrapbook 2: Food)

    On the other hand, my hero John Seymour wrote:
    “if you had 5 acres of good well-drained land, you could support a family of, say, 6 people and have occasional surpluses to sell”
    (The Complete Book of Self-sufficiency)

    I guess it all depends on what your land’s like, what you want to eat and how you want to grow it. I’m becoming very interested in the idea of urban and suburban agriculture. After all, we can’t all move to the country, and we’ve got to eat something when oil-powered agri-business goes belly up.


  12. Hi Pete. Yes, I think the writer probably over-generalised with that comment.

    Yes, absolutely localising agriculture would dramatically reduce all those ludicrous food miles and would allow us to eat organically instead of being all but force-fed the mass-produced, intensively-farmed rubbish.

    I’m getting more and more into this food-growing lark too. And it would be wise if more people were to get started. I’ve even got my kids minigardening and they love it. I’ve grown stuff before but not to any levels of self-sufficiency. Now I’m aiming high.


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