Roddy Graham's Blog: 2 July 2009 - Hot in the city
02 July 2009
Imagine the scenario. It's 28degC and climbing. The well-meaning passenger on the train alights from the air-conditioned train to tackle the burning inferno of the Capital's Underground. By the time, he returns home later that evening, the temperature has fallen slightly, only 26degC.
Having survived the return journey on the tube, he looks forward to the air-conditioned splendour of a fast Inter City train only to be faced with a grinding journey on an airless baby brother. To cap it all, the connection has been cancelled and replaced with a bus service, which stops at every local rail station on route. Our exhausted, dishevelled traveller returns home an hour late and spends half an hour in the shower cooling down. Okay, the last part was an exaggeration but the rest was what happed yesterday to a colleague of mine.
For the privilege of foregoing the climate-controlled environment of his company car to become a public-spirited citizen and go green by using mainly public transport to get in to London, he paid £4.60 car parking at the rail station and £46.50 for an all-day travel card.
Had he driven in, and his appointment was south London, it would have cost him in direct up-front round terms £15 in petrol plus £6 in parking. £21 as opposed to more than £53 plus the convenience of getting directly from A to B in much greater personal comfort and, as it turns out, much quicker too, even allowing for inevitable traffic delays. Had he been travelling with a colleague it would simply be a no-brainer.
Alright, I haven't taken into account running costs for the above illustration but it clearly illustrates that much needs to be done to change the mindset of the average driver to consider swapping his four wheels for something greener when the opportunity arises.
Indeed even taking total standing and running costs per mile, based on the AA's calculations, a car costing up to £12,000 covering 10,000 miles per year would have cost my colleague on the journey above £44.57 in total had he been using a petrol-driven car (cost 37.14 pence per mile) or £43.91 had he been using a diesel-driven car (cost 36.59 pence per mile). In either case, the car proved the cheaper option.
The above typical scenario is against the backdrop of the East Coast mainline being nationalised and a looming £30bn shortfall in transport investment. Likely victims of cutbacks include the £16bn Crossrail scheme between London Heathrow and the Capital's Canary Wharf, the delay of a high speed rail network and £6bn worth of road building, including the widening of hard shoulders on motorways.
As always, transport is the first to ever get hit by Government when budgets have to be cut. The trouble is that the demand for rail and road transport has never been greater and as we all know these are the arterial routes to keeping our economy pumping. If the Obama administration in the USA considers the current economic woes to be a good time to be investing in transport infrastructure, why can't our Government see the light?