That is a stupid idea. All it will do is encourage even more commuting into
a city centre. If you did that here, commuter and tube trains would be even
more overcrowded than now.
Commuting needs to be discouraged, not encouraged. It's the only way to
stop London sucking up the entire UK economy.
On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 00:52:57 -0000, "Capitol"
And the Belgium taxpayers are paying for free commuting which benefits
their environment, their health and their children's safety by having
fewer cars on the roads.
NO! There is no such thing as good free public transport. Providing it at
the expense of the majority taxpayers, simply distorts the market and
enables an elite minority to continue with an unsustainable way of life. The
number of cars on the road decreases by a negligible amount. The much
vaunted London congestion charge only increased rush hour bus usage by 111
people per day( if I have done the sums correctly). If you wish to live in
a socialist state, where everyone WILL use public transport, then take the
honest solution and ban personal ownership of any means of transport
(including bikes) and increase income tax to pay for it! Then try to get
As a further comment, how many people become sick from say colds as a result
of using public transport and what does this cost? It is reckoned that the
infection rate on a transatlantic jumbo jet is close to 100%!
The problem is not public transport, but centralised employment! Public
transport is an uneconomic patch applied to cover up the real problem.
In 1970, 90% of people in new towns worked locally. Today, it's less than
30% as a result of employment instability together with lack of housing
mobility. Public transport has no hope of providing the transport routes
Public transport reduces pollution levels, which saves people's lungs.
What is being subsidised to the hilt is vehicles. If vehicle users paid the
full amount for their usage and ramifications, fuel would be twice the
amount. They do not pay the full cost of traffic police, health due to
accidents and pollution, lost working days due to accidents etc.
Vehicles are clearly not in the free market, no more than public transport,
but public transport saves lives.
Probably not. It also keep 100s of cars out of the centre reducing air and
noise pollution and less accidents. Ken is right! Extend the congestion
Even in extreme right wing regimes, they realise public transports is a
necessity and subsidise it.
< snip drivel >
I detect some sense...
Its also worse than that, the real problem is that car being up till now
ceap and convenient, and towns being expensive and dificult tpo park in,
most major large volume ot latge o]bject stores now have to be placed on
or near arterial roads, this increassing traffic levels enormously.
Instead of driving into town, parking by teh electrical shop, one
drivbes miles into the nearest Curry=s, to find they haven't got what
you want in stock, don't understand your questions, and in any case will
have to arrange to have it delivered sometime next year.
I teh beginning, we had towns with roads going through them, As
journeys increased in length, we built roads around them. This was the
last sesnible idea road planners had.However since then we have ben not
releiving traffic in towns, but banning it altogether , thus forcing
intra town traffic, and most of the shops at which you need to load
goods directly into the car, not to mention businesses, out along the
places you are stil allowed to drive - the by passes. The net result is
that we have reversed the trend of separating localised traffic from
arterial traffic, and every major road near any major town is now
blocked up by short haul traffic.
I would agree that public transport is a public health issue.
During my career, I have sometimes had jobs where I needed to use public
transport (train into London, follwed by a tube trip), and some where I have
Every winter that I have had to use public transport to get to work, I have
had 3 or 4 bad colds, and at least 2 days off work. Every year I had to
drive, I had no colds at all.
If ever something infectious is released on the Underground, you can be sure
most of London will catch it.
Both Capitol and you seem to think it is a bad thing to get a cold and
challenge the immune system. Britain has the highest rate of childhood
asthma in the world! We need to stop using crap like antibacterial
washing up liquid and eat a peck of dirt a day. (Actually, a peck
might be a bit too much, but you know what I mean.)
Not only does public transport strengthen your immune system for later
life when, faced with things like cancer or other horrid diseases,
we're all going to need a healthy immune system, but also you get to
mix with other members of society and have to adapt to their funny
little ways, just as they adapt to yours. This is another healthy
aspect which Britain is missing more and more. And we all know what
huge problems we have in Britain trying to establish a cohesive
society, when that daft old bat Thatcher tried to pretend there was no
Moreover, on public transport, especially trains, you can read a book
or the newspaper (and get up to date on current affairs), you can do
some work, perhaps write a novel. Cooped up in private cars we are
continually faced with danger, it is unhealthy, antisocial, dangerous
to kids and the elderly and costs the NHS millions to patch up all the
injuries cars cause. Sure, lorries also cause accidents, but most
lorry drivers have had to have extra training to drive their lorries
and are more responsible drivers by and large (excluding white van
man, of course - they should all be dragged to the side of the road
and bludgeoned to death with a pickaxe).
Utter, complete, total and unmitigated hogwash. If you're lucky, you
might have room to inhale. You won't be able to read because you can't
sit down and you need both hands to hold on, and even if you could, the
seats are too small and too close together. Besides, you'll be too busy
making phone calls to rearrange your life around the unreliability of
Sat in a comfy seat, listening to our choice of music, at our choice
of temperature and not inhaling the delicate bouquet of the festering
armpits of our "fellow" travellers, at a fraction of the cost and far
greater convenience than public transport can ever provide.
"The road to Paradise is through Intercourse."
[email me at huge [at] huge [dot] org [dot] uk]
I believe in freedom of choice for the individual. I am perfectly happy for
you to travel on unreliable, uncomfortable, filthy, unhygienic public
transport. Please feel free to get as many colds etc as you wish. I would
not deny you this vital opportunity. However, I would ask you to pay the
full costs of travelling in this manner and not ask those of us who do not
wish to join, to pay for your enjoyment. When you are faced with meeting
the true costs, you may wish to pursue gainful employment in another
location and discover the joys of reliable, comfortable and clean, personal
True, there are potential public health issues, but they are not unknown and
in themselves are not an argument for not using and developing a public
transport system. The risks of infectious agents being released on the
tube network are certainly known about by the security services, they've
been talked about often enough.
Despite the presence of infectious diseases in London (TB, for instance)
evidence does not back up the various catestrophic predictions, because the
majority of people using transport systems do remain healthy and free from
serious infection. If what "might" happen was actually "likely" to happen
then surely this would not be the case? (and I know that TB is a serious
health issue, and that numbers of sufferers in large cities such as London
are growing, but it is not at serious epidemic proportions, and if public
transport networks were such high risk places then the numbers would have
grown at an unstoppable rate).
A few years ago I remember listening to one of the 5-minute pieces on R4
Today programme (I think). A research paper apparently showed that
extroverts were less likely to suffer from common colds and other infectious
diseases than introverts. The conclusion of the paper was that the more
people you came into contact with then the more your body's immune system
was able to deal with potential infections. Isolating yourself from the
masses would in that case be a strategy of folly in the long run.
A doctor of my acquaintance a number of years ago was convinced that another
winning strategy for avoiding nuisance infections was simply to wash your
hands when you first arrive at work each morning and at home in the evening.
Reasoning went that a lot of infections are contracted through contact.
Person with a cold hurries to the tube station in the morning. Has slight
runny nose, gets wiped with hands. They hang onto the straps (handrails
now) and a few minutes later you hang onto the same strap. You get to work,
pick up your pencil, chew the end of it, or wipe your mouth or another such
contact. Cold virus now introduced quite happily into your body. Washing
your hands reduces your chances of this (no need for any of this
anti-bacterial paranoia handwash stuff - normal soap is fine).
Whether this has any basis in fact or not I couldn't tell you, but it's a
reasoned line of thinking, and is after all a similar basis to the practise
of surgeons scrubbing up before performing surgery.
email me at
richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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