3 April 2005

Public Transport and Politics

John Hemming (LibDem), Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, is proposing that the age limit for free travel on public transport be lowered to 60. He has indicated that it is a move to relieve congesation by getting people out of their cars and onto public transport.

I've heard a rumour that he's making another run for MP, perhaps this is part of his strategy?

Whilst I'm very much in favour of enouraging people to use public transport, I feel that the moeny should be spent on improving usability, safety and reliability for all passengers. Not just for those over 60. Plus free travel passes are only usable in off peak times, which are not the problem. It's when everyone is travelling to work/school or home at the end of the day (i.e. the peak times) that are the problem.

For example I have to travel into Birmingham city centre each week day for work. Fortunately I'm on flexitime so can arrive at work anytime between 07:00 and 10:00 and leave anytime between 16:00 and 19:00 (although it's far from unusual for me to have work later). If I leave the house at 09:00 then I generally get into work at around 09:30-09:40. If I leave the house at 08:00 then I generally get into work for about 09:25-09:35. To get the same travel time as at 09:00 (travelling in just after rush hour) I'd have to leave the house before 07:00, not being a morning person I choose the later option.

Similarly at the other end of the day, if I'm not out of the office by 16:15 then I may as well not bother to leave until 18:00 (unless I've got shopping to do). Fortunately that's not often a problem as my managers have perfected the art of dropping big packets of work on me at 15:55 as they head for the door.

1 comment:

John Hemming said...

Oddly enough this was in our manifesto and all we are doing is what we promised to do during the local elections.

Still an important point is that this means that services will be maintained off peak which is important.