Of airports and trains, politicians and brains…

By | Category: Travel rumblings

transport Sec, Justine Greening

Justine Greening

This morning the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening has gathered media coverage by the shedload. Firstly she suggested that the appointment of First Group to run the west coast rail line would go ahead and secondly that there would be no u-turn on a third runway at Heathrow.
At the risk of boring readers, I say again that us ordinary travellers couldn’t care less who runs the west coast line as long as it is efficient, punctual and reliable. It would be nice if we weren’t saddled with extra costs and First Group did say that the standard fares would drop by 15%. Now let them deliver. Virgin brought some improvements and new trains but the rules were agreed to by all the bidders. It could be time to shut-up and move on.
What the public wants is fares that can be understood, transparency in service and less in the way of excuses when things go wrong.
As for Heathrow you could applaud the government for sticking to its manifesto commitments and following what it believed in. As for business and airline bosses, frankly, if we can fly in and out of London airports then why not just put more capacity into Gatwick or Stansted? But airline bosses love Heathrow unlike passengers who, when we survey them, don’t have much loyalty to that. Overseas passengers just want to fly into London. Which airport they use is immaterial as long as the links to the centre work properly. Similar to the comments on trains, what we flyers want are flights to where we want to go at prices we can afford and with as little hassle as possible. And Heathrow is a hassle. The airport is probably at the end of its life. Any changes incur massive disruption internally so why not bite the bullet and create a new airport? But whilst you have asinine comments like that from Tim Yeo MP questioning whether the prime minister is a man or a mouse just because he is not being pushed around by some businesses, business organisations and airlines, why should we think politicians know better than the rest of us?

If Mr Yeo had any brains he might stop thinking that the UK would collapse if Heathrow doesn’t get a runway and ponder on making the best use of the three airports that we have including one – Stansted – where the number of passengers has dropped substantially in the last few years. Doesn’t that suggest there is spare capacity there? So we could have more flights from Stansted for a start. But of course, Yeo’s constituency is only about 20 miles from Stansted and he has backed the campaign for no expansion there so readers couldn’t expect him to agree to that!

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