Removing cars from roads?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

With fine and sunny weather forecast for much of the next week (unless you live in Northern Scotland) there will be the urge to get out, see some of the countryside or visit attractions.

London and big cities may have buses but in rural areas they can be rarer than tractors!

And how will most of us do that? By car. And why a car? Because for many of us that is the only option.

Readers will know that I live in a village. To a local town we have a bus service that goes five times a day. To our nearest big town, the centre for most bulk shopping items, there is a bus that goes on the first Wednesday of the month. The nearest railway station is sixteen miles away and would take two buses to get me there.

For anything else you walk, cycle or drive.

So when the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) report calls on the government to devise a strategy allowing people to have a good standard of living without needing a car, one of the things it has to consider is the availability of public transport.

CREDS say electrifying cars will not address traffic jams, urban sprawl and wasted space for parking and I agree. But given how important the car is to tourism and its growth along with the impact that has on employment and local economies, CREDS might want to clarify its thoughts on where we go from here.

For example, none of the local garages, as far as I know, within a twenty mile radius have charging points for electric cars. In rural areas it can be rare to even find conventional filling stations so many have closed.

Two coach trains are the norm in rural areas, sometimes even one. This in Cardiff is a valleys train so is longer yet still there is standing in the rush hour. Where will new stock come from, will platforms be lengthened?

If we revert to public transport then there will have to be subsidies until the number of people using buses makes it economic for the companies to operate. And services will have to be more frequent and faster. To travel to our big town, the 28 mile journey takes about eighty minutes because the buses visit so many small villages. By car even allowing for no overtaking lanes, no dual carriageways, tractors and articulated lorries straining on the hills, it takes between 40 and 50 minutes.

Electric cars in themselves will require an expensive infrastructure in rural areas which is where many tourist attractions are to be found. Urging us to use public transport to visit attractions and beauty stops is going to require a major re-think about how to plan, pay and implement it.

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