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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 13:23 
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Years ago there used to be a night train from Shropshire to London.

Business people who needed to make an early start would take the night train and be refreshed and ready for an early meeting. That train was removed years ago. Someone told me they deliberately messed around with the time table so that less-and-less people used it. The result was that they could 'honestly' say they were removing the service in order to save money. :roll:

Communities were given replacement bus services in the Beeching era. "These will replace your trains" towns and villages were told. In fact, they were in many cases the train timetable operated with buses.

But over time, things started to go wrong. Of course, in the winter the roads became impassable, so the buses did not run. Then if drivers felt like not bothering they would pretend to take the bus out but would park up have a fag break and a thermos of tea and return to the depot saying: "No, no passengers on the 10am run."

And in order to "rationalise" services National Express stopped many of the inter city bus services. Not to save money, you understand, just to make it easier for the bean counters and service planners at HQ.

So people began to realise that if they wanted to travel anywhere, they would need to learn to drive.

People who feel nervous about driving, who have poor eyesight, with certain medical conditions, or who have poor motor coordination skills -for example- people who really should be on a train, coach or a bus are either to be housebound or driving when perhaps they should not be.

How can this problem be solved? The government's answer seems to be: "If you can't drive safely, you must hand in your driver's license." Without thinking that this is tantamount in many cases to the equivalent of giving some poor totally innocent person a house arrest order.

One bus to and from town every Thursday if they are lucky, so they can't get to the doctor, the hospital, the chemist, the post office or the library, or to buy food at a supermarket. And some parts of town and cities have similar problems.

If the government want to remove driving licenses from people then the government must make sure that they are not sentencing them to rot in their homes.

Should there be better public transport provisions for those who really should not be driving?

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Last edited by Thatsnews on Thu Dec 27, 2007 14:00, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 13:46 
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Public transport is already very heavily subsidised and the question must be asked to what extent it is reasonable to pay even more subsidy to allow people who are unable or unwilling to drive to live in out-of-the-way locations.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 15:12 
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PeterE wrote:
Public transport is already very heavily subsidised and the question must be asked to what extent it is reasonable to pay even more subsidy to allow people who are unable or unwilling to drive to live in out-of-the-way locations.


I agree with this sentiment. It is the ready availability and subsidy of such transport that has seen the decimation of village life and pricing out of all proportion of local country housing so that locals of the ... can't think of the right expression but settling on less sophisticated - non cut-and-thrust lifestyle can no longer afford to buy within their own local community any more.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 16:48 
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PeterE wrote:
Public transport is already very heavily subsidised and the question must be asked to what extent it is reasonable to pay even more subsidy to allow people who are unable or unwilling to drive to live in out-of-the-way locations.


Wouldn't this mean that rural and some urban poor are going to be even more marginalised?


How would this be addressed, then?

"I am sorry Mrs Miggins, but under the Human Travel Radius Regulations 2122, part 4, sub-section vii, the Forced Relocation of Persons Act declares that we are empowered to force you to move from your cottage in the village of Little Wittering. We will put you in a tower block in New Croydon. And auction your cottage off and keep the proceeds to defray our expenses. This is because Little Wittering is .7 of a Kilometre outside the Government Safe Travel Radius Scheme." :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 16:54 
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Roger wrote:
PeterE wrote:
Public transport is already very heavily subsidised and the question must be asked to what extent it is reasonable to pay even more subsidy to allow people who are unable or unwilling to drive to live in out-of-the-way locations.


I agree with this sentiment. It is the ready availability and subsidy of such transport that has seen the decimation of village life and pricing out of all proportion of local country housing so that locals of the ... can't think of the right expression but settling on less sophisticated - non cut-and-thrust lifestyle can no longer afford to buy within their own local community any more.


How'd you work that out? :?

There's a village I know of that has two buses every Thursday. The rich incomers do not need the bus it is the elderly villagers who are dependent on public transport that need the subsidised buses.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 17:07 
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Thatsnews wrote:
PeterE wrote:
Public transport is already very heavily subsidised and the question must be asked to what extent it is reasonable to pay even more subsidy to allow people who are unable or unwilling to drive to live in out-of-the-way locations.

Wouldn't this mean that rural and some urban poor are going to be even more marginalised?

I think you're missing the point there.

What I am saying is that, despite numerous complaints of it being inadequate, public transport in rural areas is already very heavily subsidised.

Even if you subsidised it a whole lot more, it is only ever going to provide a very basic service that won't remotely approach the convenience and flexibility of the private car. Even in the "golden age" of rural buses in the late 40s, it never did.

And is it really reasonable for the taxpayer to pay for a regular bus service that is only ever going to be used by a handful of people? In practical terms, there has to be a limit to subsidy, it cannot be a bottomless pit.

Perhaps we should be looking at alternative means of provision such as providing the elderly in rural areas with no access to a car with taxi vouchers? I once saw a quote from the official at Lincolnshire County Council in charge of rural bus subsidies that he would have saved money if he'd paid for a taxi for every individual rural bus journey.

And the point still stands that, if you are unable or unwilling to drive, you have no right to choose to live in an inaccessible location and then expect lavish taxpayer-funded public transport.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 22:42 
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Many councils "heavily subsidise" services.

In Shropshire the County Council (soon to be a unitary authority, God help us!) needed to transport a child by taxi. So they hired a taxi firm from 30 miles away to drive all the way to the child's house, take the disabled child to school and then drive all the way back to base.

That trip was "heavily subsidised." But I bet only the councillors who run the Education Committee thought it was wisely spent.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 13:31 
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Quote:
you have no right to choose to live in an inaccessible location and then expect lavish taxpayer-funded public transport.


What if one has lived all one's life in a rural area?

Forced removal, a la Nazis? :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 13:40 
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PeterE wrote:
And the point still stands that, if you are unable or unwilling to drive, you have no right to choose to live in an inaccessible location and then expect lavish taxpayer-funded public transport.

Hmmmmmm...

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 13:59 
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PeterE wrote:
And the point still stands that, if you are unable or unwilling to drive, you have no right to choose to live in an inaccessible location and then expect lavish taxpayer-funded public transport.


So would you have a right to expect just some basic taxpayer-funded public transport. Or did you just throw the word 'lavish' in there to add weight to your point?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 14:26 
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If you become ill, who is going to fund your move to an apropriate city pad? It can cost around £10k including stamp duty.
What if suitable city housing costs much more than your worn out home was worth?... bill your children?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 14:27 
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Oscar wrote:
Quote:
you have no right to choose to live in an inaccessible location and then expect lavish taxpayer-funded public transport.

What if one has lived all one's life in a rural area?

Forced removal, a la Nazis? :shock:

Don't be silly, now :P

Nobody's suggesting forced removal - but you have to accept you're not going to get a bus past your door every fifteen minutes.

People seem to be getting unnecessarily worked up on this topic. But hopefully we can agree that:

(a) it is a fact of life that public transport in rural areas is never going to be as good or comprehensive as that in large cities, and
(b) there are limitations on the amount of subsidy that can or should be given to public transport, especially when value for money is taken into account

I don't regard it as a good use of taxpayers' money to pay for empty or near-empty buses to trundle around rural lanes on fixed schedules and, as I said earlier in the thread, there must be more effective ways of delivering transport assistance to those without the use of a car.

In reality, of course, in rural areas people tend to help each other out, and by far the most common form of transport for those without cars is likely to be lifts from those who do have cars.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 15:14 
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Very interesting thread which is giving me a lot of food for thought. It's relatively rare on this forum that you get a discussion where there's no obvious right answer.

I had an idea a while ago, which I actually thought of to help people outside London get back home from a night out after the trains had stopped running, but it could potentially be used for this sort of problem as well. Basically it's a website where people who are willing to give others lifts (for a fee of their choosing, including zero if they wanted) could be hooked up with those who want them. I thought maybe the taxi licensing requirements (which I believe they now have for private hire, at least in some places) could be got round by calling the fee a "donation" or something, but then it occurred to me that insurance would probably be an issue as well, and I gave up.

If anyone who knows about such things could think of a viable way of making such a site work, I'd gladly start one. It just seems silly that there are cars sitting on people's drives, their owners who wouldn't mind making a few bob and/or helping people out, and other people who don't have adequate transport and would gladly be conveyed in such cars. Since drivers would have to give their details (and have them verified), it would certainly be safer than the unlicensed cabs that are apparently relied upon in some areas at the moment. Whether it would be safe enough is another matter. Perhaps being able to specify a lady driver would help. But there's not much point in thinking about anything like that if the idea is a non-starter in the first place, which I suspect it is. :(

Roll on teleportation. :cloud9:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 18:08 
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I'm very pro public transport and use it where appropriate and available. I support some level of subsidy for PT in rural areas (but agree it has to looked at in cost/benefit terms).

The thing that always strikes me is the strange planning decisions that are often made by local authorities regarding where subsidies go.

Simple examples:

Eccleshall is a small town near Stafford. There is quite a good late bus back to Eccleshall which allows people to have a evening out in Stafford. BUT Eccleshall has a some nice pubs and restaurants, so WHY OH WHY does the last bus from Stafford to Eccleshall return "Out of Service" to its depot in Stafford instead of taking passengers?

During the week (Mon-Thurs) most pubs in Stafford chuck out around 11.30, so WHY are the last buses to all the big residential areas in Stafford around 11pm?

The local buses are quite presentable and clean so availability at the right times is the biggest barrier (apart from snobbery by some) to take up.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 01:34 
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Thatsnews wrote:
Many councils "heavily subsidise" services.

In Shropshire the County Council (soon to be a unitary authority, God help us!) needed to transport a child by taxi. So they hired a taxi firm from 30 miles away to drive all the way to the child's house, take the disabled child to school and then drive all the way back to base.

That trip was "heavily subsidised." But I bet only the councillors who run the Education Committee thought it was wisely spent.


That's a very common situation. Councils tend to put school run contracts for disabled kids out to tender and people with wheelchair-accessible taxis can bid for them. It could be that the firm 30 miles away were actually a cheaper bet for the whole contract than a more local one.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 01:38 
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bombus wrote:
:Since drivers would have to give their details (and have them verified), it would certainly be safer than the unlicensed cabs that are apparently relied upon in some areas at the moment. Whether it would be safe enough is another matter.
Roll on teleportation. :cloud9:


There shouldn't be any unlicensed cabs operating anywhere in the country. Councils are obliged to licence all cabs as either "hackneys" or "private hires" as far as I'm aware.

As for the running of such a scheme, it is fraught with complexities. as soon as you start doing it "for hire or reward", it opens up a huge can of worms!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 13:29 
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In my opinion, most of the problems with public transport - perceived and real - stem from the fact that they try to make it 'all things to all men' and to 'get people out of their cars', instead of concentrating on providing a service to those who cannot or will not use private transport.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 16:59 
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Pete317 wrote:
In my opinion, most of the problems with public transport - perceived and real - stem from the fact that they try to make it 'all things to all men' and to 'get people out of their cars', instead of concentrating on providing a service to those who cannot or will not use private transport.

Yes, absolutely. Cars and motorcycles account for 86% of all passenger mileage in the UK and the government needs to accept that private motor transport is going to remain the default mode for a large majority of journeys.

Public transport, rather than pretending to offer an alternative for most journeys, needs to be focused on those things it does best, i.e.

(a) large-scale commuting into major cities, and
(b) high-speed inter-city travel

together with providing a basic service for the minority who are unable to use private motor transport.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 18:43 
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You've been very vocal on the subject of subsidy to public transport in this thread, but strangely mute on the issue of the public subsidy of private motoring.
Where the political will exists to end the subsidy/investment gradient that heavily favours private motoring, a modal shift is achieved reducing the total of passenger miles travelled by private car to a third of all journeys.
And your two point list is inadequate. All commuting, whether 'large scale into cities' or not, insofar as people are making regular predictable journeys from places of residence to places of work, is amenable to public transport solutions. Not all public transport has to look like the 08:06 to St. Pancras. I've used dial-a-ride schemes where a taxi full of dispersed rural commuters can be deposited at the local rail station or bus terminus for the equivalent of a bus fare. Small scale but entirely workable.
And not just commuting into, but most travel within major cities is best effected by alternatives to the private car.
In places where private motoring has become the minority mode of transport, should motorists cease to qualify for any but the most basic services?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 18:50 
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glaikie wrote:
Where the political will exists to end the subsidy/investment gradient that heavily favours private motoring, a modal shift is achieved reducing the total of passenger miles travelled by private car to a third of all journeys.
And your two point list is inadequate.


Got reference for this please? (Please note from my posted that I am PRO public transport, BUT also pro appropriate use of private transport)

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