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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Public transport 'can ease jams'
London bus pass
Is this just the ticket for curing congestion?
Reliable buses and trains are a simple and vital way of easing congestion on Britain's roads, campaign group Transport 2000 says.

The suggestions come after a report from the Sustainable Development Commission's report.

The report said traffic is "dreadful" and a serious environmental issue.

"The essential problem is that we're using our cars too much in this country," says Transport 2000 spokesman Steve Hounsham.

"What we need to do is provide better alternatives - better public transportation, better opportunities for walking or cycling. And with that approach we could see a reduction in congestion."

The Sustainable Development Commission's report says road traffic is growing "inexorably," and notes that Britain's roads are Europe's most crowded.

The RAC, which provides services to motorists, agrees with the need for better public transport.

Cars 'a necessity'

The association's members say congestion is increasing. And the group says it's willing to explore solutions that put fewer people on the roads.

"Motoring used to be a pleasurable activity, but it wouldn't be considered that now," Susie Haywood, spokesperson for the RAC says.

"It's a necessity. And the car is the most valuable household good."

We are not in the business of hindering people's ability to travel if they wish to.
Department for Transport statement

A recent survey of London motorists revealed that 85 per cent of them said they could not adjust to life without a car, the RAC says.

One of the reasons for that, Ms Haywood says, is because they are dubious about the quality, safety, and efficiency of public transportation.

"Quite a number of them would be happy to use public transportation as an alternative to the car, if it was safe, efficient, and affordable - which it is not," she said.

But Transport 2000, which advocates for environmental transportation solutions, say that things aren't that bad.

A marketing campaign to spruce up the image of public transportation could be effective, spokesman Steve Hounsham says.

'Economic success'

The Department for Transport, however, says roads and travel are essential to Britons' ability to make a living.

"Traffic growth itself is closely associated with economic success and the increased opportunities this brings. And we are not in the business of hindering people's ability to travel if they wish to."

Environmental group Friends of the Earth, which is part of the Way to Go coalition - an association of groups committed to finding transport solutions - says prosperity is coming at the expense of the environment.

"The government is still effectively promoting Tory-lite policies in a vain attempt to keep Britain economically competitive," they say.

"True leadership would put political will and more money into giving the country a transport system that works for people, for communities and for the environment. "

RAC reveals true cost of motoring
01 Mar 04  |  Business

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