ENOUGH STICK! - HOW ABOUT SOME CARROT?
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Government transport policies are trying to squeeze the lifeblood out of the British population.
- Motorists are taxed to the hilt
- Our roads are heavily congested
- The government agrees that part of the solution would be to encourage more motorists to switch to public transport -- but ...
- ... government transport policies and finance ministers are deliberately preventing the development of good public transport (perhaps because they fear a loss of tax revenues from motorists??)
- Meanwhile, new policies encourage road speed limits to be reduced, so that ...
- ... self-financing safety (aka speed) camera partnerships can fund themselves plus raise extra revenue for the national exchequer by entrapping otherwise law-abiding motorists.
- ... it becomes financially attractive for Dick Turpin Highwaymen style police forces to put their primary energies into using speed cameras as an extra source of funding, with solving real
crimes relegated to secondary importance.
- ... the more prosecutions for speeding the better the police force's conviction rates looks, giving a false impression that the police are actually solving more crimes, this being
something that is always popular with the electorate.
- ... road safety is compromised as motorists watch the speedometer more than the road and slower, longer journeys result in an increased number of over-tired drivers on our roads.
(Official advice maybe to take a break but drivers don't want longer slower journeys - instead they would much rather be there already)
- A one law for them and another for us syndrome as police officers and government ministers' official drivers ignore speed limits with impunity.
- When assessing costs for new public transport schemes the British treasury insists on including the financial implications of any possible tax revenue abstraction which results from the predicted modal shift away from private motoring.
- Although they speak fine words on the need to reduce carbon (and other fossil fuel sourced) pollution to counteract any possible human cause of climate change the politicians' only actions are to increase taxes.
In Britain motor fuel tax is so high that for every £40.00 of petrol purchased the government helps itself to £30.00 - - leaving the oil companies (who admittedly are not paupers
themselves) just £10.00 to pay for the forecourt, extracting the oil, transporting it, refining it, etc
|For many years petrol retailers have operated customer loyalty schemes - whether by offering free cutlery, drinking glasses, Green Shield Stamps or, as here, in a promotion called "Make Money" which
involved collecting halves of "tear open to reveal" paper tokens - and if the holder matched two halves then they would win some money.
Click image to see larger version in a new window, and weep when comparing
the price of petrol from the early 1990's to "today". NB: Image sourced from S-VHS-C videotape and is a little fuzzy.
Despite taking over £46 billion per annum in motoring taxes (of which just £6 billion is spent on transport related expenditure) the government claims that there are insufficient
funds for the sort of improvements that would entice motorists out of their cars.
Instead they want the improvements to be funded from new revenue streams (ie: yet more taxes!) which will be raised by either a return to the medieval system of private roads funded via motorists paying
a toll at turnpikes or by charging motorists to use existing roads within congested conurbations. In theory the monies raised from road user tolling taxes will be dedicated to funding (just)
a few of these necessary transport improvements, but already the treasury has said that it does not like the hypothecation of funds in this way and that after only 20 years it wants the money for itself.
In London they found a way to get their mitts on monies raised this way from day one!
Initially, knowing that the new road user tolling taxes would be very unpopular with the electorate (who for revenge might vote them out of office at the next general election) the national politicians
were encouraging local politicians to make the final decisions on which urban areas will be involved and how much the charges will be. However, by 2005 it became clear that local councils had become wise to this
scenario and outside of London only one (Edinburgh) dared to "test the water" with serious proposals that could be put to the local electorate to vote upon. With the electorate voting "no" Edinburgh's scheme was
effectively killed off and several months later (June 2005) the national government announced that it would be looking to a national pay as you drive system after all. (Then in 2007 it changed its mind and
said that it would only be looking at local schemes; these frequent policy flip-flips give the impression that further policy changes will be made in the future!)
Road user tolling is looked at the Road User Tolling & Congestion Charging page.
The sticks have failed -
its time for some carrots.
To entice people to use public transport it needs to be:-
- Frequent: For urban areas at least every 10 minutes daytime, 15 minutes evenings and Sundays. And if such frequent services are not commercially viable
then - providing the route serves genuine transport needs - some revenue support payments will be appropriate. (Sometimes 'cross-subsidy' from a very profitable route could be
an alternative to taxpayer's money).
- Reliable: So passengers can have confidence that the transport does exist and will get them to their destinations without undue delays.
Reliability also means that whenever there is an 'incident' getting services moving again should be the absolute first priority - instead of the desires of the various
authorities to take unreasonable time periods 'investigating'.
- Fixed: Transport that is 'flexible' enough to change route daily is also flexible enough to disappear altogether. For people to change their habits and rely on
public transport they need confidence it will be serving them long term - fixed infrastructure transports give that confidence because they require upfront investment
to serve their transport corridors and therefore are less likely to disappear at the whim of a transport operator. Trains, trams, trolleybuses, monorails, maglevs (etc) require
that fixed infrastructure whereas experience with motor buses shows that it is far too easy for them to be here today - gone tomorrow!
- Comfortable: Not everyone expects - or even wants - a seat for every journey but neither do they want to travel as the proverbial sardine in a tin can!
Comfort also applies to ambiance, quality of ride, temperature, no unpleasant smells, and noise. On all counts electric transports win in this department.
- Full-time: It is no good transport stopping at 6.45pm weekdays and not operating at weekends - especially Sundays & public holidays - as this is useless for
people who work late shifts / odd hours and inhibits social activity.
- Direct: Transport needs to go where people want to go!
- Integrated: Cars often offer 'door to door' transport, this is not always a realistic possibility for public transport but with integrated systems which offer easy
to use, pleasant, sheltered interchange facilities, short waits for the next service and through 'one purchase' ticketing passengers should not be seriously
inconvenienced by the need to change vehicle to complete their journey.
To further assist passengers all network maps and timetables should highlight interchange opportunities.
(These topics are fully covered on the Transport Integration page).
- Safe: Passengers must feel that their personal safety is not being compromised, either by failings in the transport companies' infrastructure & vehicle
maintenance systems or through the actions of fellow passengers. Travelling by car - and bicycle, if sharing a public highway with the general traffic - are some of the most dangerous
activities a person can perform, its just that a blind eye is turned to the dangers whereas with public transport danger is perceived even when there isn't any.
- Well-publicised: Before even considering using public transport potential passengers need to know that the transport actually exists, where it goes, when and for how much.
This means good publicity, such as household leaflet distribution, TV, radio and other media advertising, etc.
- Understandable: To give passengers confidence that they are taking the correct vehicle for their destination it is important that there is good sign-posting to
and between stops / stations and on the vehicles.
Understandable also means that all publicity - timetables, fare charts, system maps etc - are laid out in an
easy-to-read / comprehend format.
- Affordable: People will not use public transport if the fares are so high that it is cheaper to go by car, this especially applies to groups of 3+ people.
Transport is not just for the rich!
With cars passengers often choose to travel "on spec" - and can make that journey at the same cost as if they had planned it six weeks previously;
a significant deterrent to using public transport (especially with longer distance train travel such as London - Manchester) is that they charge premium fares just because a passenger
chooses to travel "at the last minute".
- Honest: Passengers are expected to be honest and pay the correct fare before travelling; however it is also important that the transport system gives them
a reasonable chance of doing so. As the British Prime Minister's wife found out [January 2000] it is not enough just to offer to pay your fare at your arrival station as this is
a common trick used by habitual fare evaders which explains why, when she travelled from a station where the ticket office was apparently open, she was given a £10 'penalty'
ticket. (Habitual fare evaders are also prosecuted though the courts - this usually results in them being heavily fined and getting a criminal record.)
The benefits of better, cleaner transport would extend to us ALL...
a reduction in costs in the National Health Service as less air pollution results in fewer early deaths and less hospital treatment for pollution related illnesses.
a more productive economy because the costs of goods and services should fall as transport costs fall due to less congestion.
less road rage leading to improved road safety as the hassle factor associated with transport falls.
an increase in the attractiveness of UK PLC to investors thus growing the economy.
a need to build fewer roads and undertake less road maintenance due to lower traffic volumes.
investment in transport infrastructure would create employment.
Who runs the country?
Elected politicians or unelected quango's?
Do the politicians speak with forked tongues?
Do they knowingly stifle transport integration?
Naturally the politicians are waffling-on in favour of real solutions but in their actions they show themselves to be typical politicians who (except when suggesting new forms of taxation) make empty promises
destined never to be brought into fruition - and worse still they are allowing unelected 'quangos' such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to create transport policies for them by prohibiting the sort of
proper integrated transport schemes that experience has shown DOES attract motorists out of cars. The OFT claims that proper integrated transport systems jointly operated by more than one business are
anti-competitive cartels which could operate against the passenger's interest (sic).
When two private bus companies and a local council in North Wales created an integrated system of services
and through tickets the Office of Fair Trading cried foul as it might deter passengers from making a conscious decision to choose one operator's buses rather than
the others. Never mind that the joint service was popular and had led to a decent rise in patronage (over 12%!); also never mind the fact that before 1986 these
companies were part of one large company that was split across the same Welsh / English border that these routes also traverse.
The OFT does not want private bus
companies entering into joint timetable and ticketing agreements, even if they are approved (and partially funded) by local governments. So, the reality is that despite
their fine words the politicians are unable to deliver Transport Integration ---- and apparently unwilling to use their executive powers to encourage the
OFT to make a change of policy.
Bus Deregulation Creates Confusion Which Deters Potential Passengers From Using The Buses.
In Britain just about anyone can provide a public bus service - all they need to do is buy an often pre-used bus, decide upon a route & timetable and register the services
with a local traffic commissioner - whose primary interests (requirements) will be to be satisfied that the bus operator is financially sound, will maintain the vehicles to the appropriate safety standards and is capable
of operating the published timetable.
At no time does either a potential bus operator or the local traffic commissioner need to pay any regard to any other bus services which might also be operating along the routes it wishes to serve.
The hows and whys of bus deregulation are looked at on the main Buses page, however what is relevant here is that the system is so fluid, and so flexible that it actually
creates an uncertainty and confusion which deters people from using the buses. Both locals and visitors.
If it really wanted to see better public transport the government *could* take action to create a more customer / passenger friendly system. Maybe though it feels unable because it might mean upsetting
some global businesses which are active on the stock market - plus that if as a result the British people en masse switched away from driving oil powered vehicles there could be a noticeable decline in tax receipts?
A typical scene in deregulated Britain. The bus stop flag lists a multiplicity of operators - which charge different fare scales - and (often) do not accept a common "pay-once-ride-at-will" local travel ticket.
At this bus stop confusion is deepened even further because bus route No.12 is duplicated between two of the operators - except that despite having the same number the two services follow different routes / serve
It might be noteworthy that human actions which negatively affect the stock market & consequently this countries' perceived economic stability now fall foul of the very loosely defined definitions
that under the 2004 Civil Contingency legislation would create a "national emergency" (a condition which would end 1000 years of human rights - Magna Carta, 1689 Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, etc) even
though positive actions to live in a pollution free environment, use tried, tested & proven viable non-chemical natural remedies and eat foods which have not been poisoned with additives & chemicals would significantly
improve human health and quality of life. This implies that our government sees the well-being of Britains human population as being "of lesser importance" than the economic well being of trans-national planetwide
It is worth noting that global experience has shown that fixed infrastructure electric (street) transport systems both attract the most passengers and provide the least strain on local environments,
whilst motor buses attract the fewest passengers and the exhaust fumes from their heavy duty diesel engine are a significant part of the cause of the urban air pollution which according to a report issued by the Committee
on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants hastens the deaths of between 12000 and 24000 British people a year, is associated with 14000 and 24000 hospital admissions and re-admissions - costing our health service &
Our treasury says it is too impoverished to invest in new transport infrastructure.
Yet it was happy to see a partial-privatisation Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal for maintaining and upgrading the London Underground which cost upwards of £1 billion of taxpayer's money
just to set up & finance and in March 2005 a House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report damned as being "very poor value for money" - because there were far cheaper alternative options that could have been used.
As an aside, the Commons Transport Select Committee was also sharply critical of the PPP scheme.
What seems to have been forgotten is that Britain is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. If we really wanted to we could afford better. Transport taxes already raise billions, there is no need for either more or new
taxation. Nor is there any need to saddle transport fare-payers with debt repayment charges. As for the idea that motorists are a 'captive audience' which should be 'soaked' even more... many would suggest that they are
already paying an unreasonable amount of taxation and if anything it should be lowered.
Note that just because Britain is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet it does NOT imply that there is spare money available "to waste", as per the chosen method of London Underground PPP.
All that need happen is the current levels of expenditure are re-balanced so that more of the funds raised through transport taxation and windfall
oil revenue is actually spent on transport - especially investing in good public transport.
According to media reports it is 12 years since auditors passed the accounts of the European Union. Yet we still let them take taxpayers' money! In 2005 they received a whopping £15 billion of British taxpayer's hard
earned money. Would any other organisation be allowed to operate like this??? Apparently horrendous amounts of money are "going astray" and despite attempts to plug the leaks the money is still being siphoned off... If we withheld our
contributions until the leakages were plugged then we could reduce our net contribution (without any financial loss to official schemes) - resulting in even more money to invest in our domestic transport systems.
Time passes, yet some things do not change - in November 2008 it became known that 2007 was the 14th consecutive year that the accounts failed to be 'signed off' by the EU Court of Auditors as being accurate and reliable.
Yet still our leaders willingly give them money to fritter away.
For more information follow this link (which opens in a new window)
Was 2005 the year of "P E A K O I L ?"
"Peak Oil" is when over half of recoverable global oil deposits will have been exploited, with the remaining reserves becoming increasingly difficult - and expensive - to recover / exploit.
With China and India rapidly motorising the demand for oil might soon outstrip supply. Would it not be wise to put the windfall profits to good use now - whilst there is still time?
And what about our North Sea Gas reserves? Those too are running out - where have the profits from this finite resource gone? (not into our nation's infrastructure, thats for sure).
Just what will our descendants think of us in years to come, for consuming so many irreplaceable resources in such a short time?
So much for "sustainable development", or as a former British Prime Minister put it "not cheating on the next generation" - - or was that fine talk nothing more than typical
politicians' "hot air" - aka: "lip service" to placate the masses?.
(hopefully not, although their actions suggest that this
IS the reality of the situation -- see below).
The Light Rail funding conundrum.
Despite the fine words the reality suggests active counter-measures (by the politicians? treasury?) to stifle the use of Light Rail in Britain.
Since this section was written there was (on Wednesday 30 November 2005) a debate on light rail funding in the House of Commons, from where the assertation made below that despite its fine words
the government is actively inhibiting better public transports (ie: light rail) seems to be too mild.
Worse still, it seems that the government is happy for a whopping £284 million of taxpayers money to be spent promoting light rail systems in Leeds, Liverpool, South Hampshire plus expansion of the Manchester
Metrolink, only for the funds to be wasted when its "very expensive" DBOM system sees prices (but not costs) rise very steeply - so it cancels funding for them! (but in a perfect example of two-faced double standards
does not cancel road schemes where cost over-runs also see the total price rocket upwards).
A transcript of this most interesting Parliamentary debate can be found
here (link to an external site which opens in a new window)
A Midland Metro tramcar arriving at Birmingham Snow Hill Station.
When the Canadian Province of Alberta became wealthy through developing
its oil reserves it spent some of this windfall money on building light rail rapid transit* systems in its
two principal cities.
Britain too benefits from windfall oil money, but when our transport planners wanted to
invest in public transport in our cities our government (at that time the Conservative party was in power) set out to discourage them from even looking at light rail
and other types of Rapid Transit by setting onerous funding criteria and telling the planners to evaluate every
possible alternative, and choose the cheapest - even if an alternative mode would be more successful.
Having failed in stifling the planners it then rationed schemes to one at a time and as a result of this
construction of the Midland Metro which back in 1989 was found to meet all the funding criteria and achieved
parliamentary approval in 1990 did not begin until 1996. (After Sheffield's Supertram was completed.) It finally
opened in 1999 - a ridiculous 10 years later.
On the mainline railways the government stiffened investment criteria (for
example: it required an 8% rate of return when it was found that too many investment schemes were likely to meet
its previous 7% minimum criteria) and forbade local government from investing in local transport improvements (for
example: railway electrification in Hampshire or modernising Bank underground station in the City of London).
Furthermore it biassed railway investment criteria to only look at the balance sheet and expressly forbade it from
even considering any possible benefit to either the environment (contradicting its commitments as agreed at the 1992
Rio conference) or non-transport users §.
On the buses a planned first of several trolleybus
scheme in Bradford was scuppered because the cut throat 'free for all' system of bus deregulation encouraged a 'spoiler' company to
split the fare base by introducing a rival service along the same route which would compete by providing part-time services using
cheapo secondhand minibuses.
*Rapid Transit is a generic term that includes all forms of 'guided' (sic)
transports that require the installation of specialist fixed infrastructure before they can commence operation.
Included in this remit are trolleybuses, the introduction of which also requires the same detailed and cumbersome approvals
procedure as other fixed infrastructure public transports.
§ The government saw / still sees
investment in public transport as a 'subsidy', a dirty word which implies losing money down a black hole. Therefore it
was / is is only really interested in investments which will make a profit. As a contrast investment criteria for
roads includes factors such as: safer environment for local people and road users, reduced pollution, faster journeys for road users
and the ability to cope with increasing traffic levels.
|Unusually for Britain part of the Beckton branch of London's Docklands Light Railway was built as a combined
package whereby both road and railway infrastructure were constructed simultaneously. This was only possible because the government had made
the Docklands a special economic zone, and the railways' financiers / project instigators (the London Docklands Development Corporation / LDDC) was
E-X-E-M-P-T from the governments' usual anti-public transport financial criteria. Otherwise it is very unlikely that such
a combined road and rail package would have been allowed.
Since then there has been a change of government (so now the Labour party is in power), but despite their many fine words these different politicians have just continued on with the same old policies.
This includes trying to price motorists out of their cars by treating them as 'soft' (or 'easy', 'captive') targets for ever increasing taxation (or,
as the politicians claim - to reduce all non-essential car use and encourage responsible thinking about the negative effects of ones' journey).
Sadly the reality of this policy is that it penalises the poorer motorist and those who live in rural areas where public transport is virtually non-existent.
Now in the face of a massive outcry over the high taxation, and as revenge because the public are not voluntarily giving up their cars (in favour of motor buses which many people actually don't like)
both sets of politicians have agreed that the way forward is to introduce a new form of revenue generation (ie: yet another tax!) and charge motorists to use
roads within congested cities. In theory the monies raised from this tax will be dedicated to funding some transport investments, but already the treasury has
said that it does not like the hypothecation of funds in this way and that after just 10 years it wants the money for itself. And, knowing that the new tax
will be very unpopular with the electorate (who for revenge may vote them out of office at the next general election) the national politicians are going to
get local politicians to make the final decisions on which urban areas will be involved and how much the charges will be (ie: pass the ticking buck elsewhere!).
What no-one knows is whether motorists will vote with their feet and alter their lifestyles to avoid the areas covered by the new taxation. As yet
(datestamp: September 2003) it is too soon to be sure if this is what's happening within London's 'congestion charge' zone, although it seems to be the situation. What is
certain however is that the sticks of high taxation have failed to work, mainly because the politicians have failed to offer any carrots (in the
form of viable alternative choices) as enticements.
Despite the fine words the government's actions prove they speak with forked tongues.
In February 2000 it was announced that the government would be re-balancing its financial criteria related to the cost of replacing the under-road utilities whenever a
new transport scheme would require their moving.
Previously when new transport schemes were constructed the utilities (water, gas, electricity, telephone etc.,) would have to contribute just 18% of the cost of any
diversionary works required to permit easier future access without having to dig up the road. In effect this meant the utility would get brand new infrastructure at a
whopping 82% discount!
However, in February 2000 the politicians and civil servants decided to adopt a policy of double standards by changing the rules so that for
new public transport works the utilities' contribution should only be 7.5% (with the private sector public transport promoter now having to bear the 92.5% balance) whilst
if the utilities need moving to accommodate changed (or new) roads then the utilities' contribution will remain unchanged at 18%.
In other words, they changed the utility discounts so as to make trams more expensive to install - and now complain about the price of installing new tram systems
as being too high. It is simply inconceivable that they did not know what they were doing. Quite the contrary, their actions clearly demonstrate that they actively don't
want trams - maybe the 75% tax take from petrol has some bearing on this?
More recently the same government has adopted investment criteria whereby the entire financial risk involved in designing, building, operating and maintaining new
tramway systems must be bourne by the private enterprise consortia which wins the tender to build and operate it. (This is known as DBOM). They refuse to accept any of the
financial risk themselves, and to further endanger the project have expressly prohibited local councils from becoming financially involved.
The real "problem" with DBOM is that it entails an element of financial risk which often is over things that the DBOM consortium does not have any control - yet can
seriously and adversely affect the project's finances.
Possible examples of risk include:-
- finding the work (civil engineering) to be more difficult (hence expensive) than originally expected;
- finding a rare plant / animal species along part of the route, and work being halted until it can be relocated;
- finding buried treasure / human remains / ancient buildings along the route - and work being halted until the police / archeological body
investigates / conducts a dig to discover what other buried treasures / ancient relics can be found;
- finding that the local government(s) have changed their policies / local area plans, so that the forecast ridership (and hence fare receipts)
are not achieved - such as in Sheffield where - just as the tramway opened - the high density housing the tramway was built to serve was demolished, and green belt land
which had been earmarked for housing was now not to be developed.
So by having to declare its business plan in advance - and without any way of adjusting those plans if an unexpected situation arises - the only way that the DBOM consortia
can "play safe" is by increasing the initial size of the contingency fund - which effectively means that the whole project will cost more.
And,... despite knowingly creating the conditions which caused this situation to arise the government has been refusing to accept culpability and / or (fund) the increased costs.
Land use planning is also important.
Land utilisation can also play a significant rôle in affecting traffic levels. Almost all commercial activities will attract people, so by choosing the right location it will
be possible to influence their method of transport. For instance - locating an office near a busy railway station is more likely to encourage train commuting than an out-of-town site
served by just one bus an hour, which not surprisingly will only attract car users.
The trick is to use planning controls to encourage development where it can be easily reached by good public transport that serves the widest possible hinterland and discourage it
in areas where the transport is virtually non-existent.
This will encourage more compact centres, where - hopefully - journeys are shorter (who really wants to spend / waste 45+ minutes twice daily commuting?) and people can reach all the
important amenities without too much further travel. Note that this does not mean that people will be prohibited from coming by car, rather as urban centres would normally be better served
by town-wide public transports more people will be able to reach them more easily and therefore would not need to go by car in the same way that is the case with out-of-town complexes.
Unless there is a very important reason - such as nearest railhead for a 'transhipment depôt' - building on greenfield land (usually former farmland) should be discouraged, instead
more of the run-down localities that feature in so many urban areas could - and should - be redeveloped. Not just for retail use but also offices, entertainment / leisure etc. Even if a large
supermarket were to be built and it attracted some car-based traffic it will (if the local public transport is half decent) also attract many people who will be more than happy to visit by bus
(etc,.) - - or even on foot. If these shops were located out-of-town then they would only attract road traffic and the loss of the amenity would be detrimental to the less mobile members of society.
Industrial complexes should be built close to rail lines (or rivers / canals) so that goods can be received / sent out by train (or barge). To encourage more railfreight here in Britain we need
to reconnect more of our factories to our rail system, to help achieve this there is a need for land-use planning criteria which encourages companies to think rail and government tax concessions
to ensure that any business that switched to rail from road will benefit. There is no reason why track sharing arrangements between freight trains and light rail (or even a preserved / museum railway,
if it is in the right location) could not be utilised - with track grants towards infrastructure expenditure. If need be (off-peak) freight services should be restored to surface sections of London's
underground. Surely London's former Post Office underground rail line could reopened - even for non-post freight use?
There is also a need for a network of local transhipment points where long distance railfreight could be switched to roads for final local delivery - perhaps by electric vans. In some
areas such local distribution centres could become truly multi-modal by being located close to waterways / airports too.
Massive retail complexes such as Lakeside, Bluewater, and Merry Hill may be very nice to visit but not only do they harm established town centres but also because of their poor transport
facilities lead to significantly increased traffic levels. Even centres such as Metro Centre and Meadowhall, which are served by local (urban / regional) rail transports still attract much car
traffic, indeed surveys have found that people will travel as far as 50-60 miles to reach these centres. With our already overburdened congested road networks this is somewhat crazy.
|For non-urgent freight greater use of rivers and our extensive canal system could also offer an alternative solution to busy roads.
The sham of the pre-election bribe. 1
With an election looming within a couple of years, and known public dismay at severe traffic congestion on the roads
and poor service plus overcrowding on many rail services, in December 1999 the government announced a new £80 billion 10 year transport investment plan.
What they forgot to say was that most of this expenditure had already been announced over the previous months / years and that compared to the over £46 billion
they receive each year in motoring taxes, £80 billion over 10 years is not very much money.
When the election came they used the old pre-election giveaway trick to announce that funding had suddenly been found for several new transport schemes - schemes that
had been awaiting finance for many years. This suggests that there will be little further investment money until the next pre-election bribes - - what a shocking way to run a country!!
The sham of the pre-election bribe. 2
For the 2005 election the government announced that (after having amputated one of the planned branches) funding issues for the construction of London's very long awaited CrossRail
scheme had been resolved and it would now be going ahead with an estimated completion date of around 2013. Unfortunately they were not so generous with public transport schemes for the rest of Britain
and having created the conditions which meant that private companies must bear any unexpected installation costs over-runs it then withheld funding accusing them of pushing up costs - in advance - to
cover for any unexpected cost over-runs.
This page was mostly written in the period 2000 - 2004 and since 2006 has only received cosmetic updates.
E & OE.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Simon P Smiler and named contributors.