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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ban Cars! Seriously!

I was on a bus this afternoon, and I was furious. It was baking hot, stupidly crowded, and taking much, much longer than the journey I was making should have.

And I sat there, fuming (I was, at least, sitting down).

I was furious with all the car drivers who, each in their individual cars, were causing this hold-up by insisting on driving into / out of a city centre. Drivers who were probably all also annoyed by the traffic jam without ever stopping to think that they are part of the jam and that the jam is made up of people like them. It is not other people causing the jam, it is everybody in their car who is in the jam. If you are a car in a jam, you are the jam.

If all of those people were on buses, my bus would have sailed down the city's streets without hindrance. And not only that, if all of those people were on buses there would be more buses, with better provision and frequency.

If all of those people were even car-sharing - if each car in the queue held 4 or 5 people, as they are (mostly) designed to - then there would have been a quarter or a fifth of the cars, leading to much less of a hellish standstill.

But no. Individual people in individual cars. One after the next after the next after the next. Causing me and the 30 other people on my bus to get stressed and annoyed and uncomfortable and hot and vowing to never leave the house again.

I was absolutely furious. I wanted to write this but figured it would make me some enemies. I'm less furious now, but I'm more aware that making enemies is always a risk for someone like me, and that this blog is here so I can say this stuff. You can read or not.

Public transport needs extra money, but many of those who dismiss public transport out of hand have never been near a bus for years. They don't have the first idea what it's like. And, to be honest, the more people who use buses, trains, coaches, the more money will be ploughed into these provisions, and the better the services will be. I am the first to admit that public transport is not perfect, but carrying on driving your polluting, cluttering, dangerous, arrogant car around causes many, many more problems than the odd late bus.

World Carfree Network

(Disclaimer of sorts, incomplete: I know that there are people who really do need cars more than others - those who are disabled and particularly those in rural communities with poor public transport. I'm not talking about those people.)

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OrganisedPauper said...

Couldn't agree more. Non driver here with a cyclist (polite considerate cyclist) partner. I live close to some major inner city roads and have to breath this stuff in 24/7. Btw did u know when u try and leave a comment you get the same page of your blog up twice & then see a 'post your comment button' then you get the 'leave your comment' box finaly. BWs OG :)

Anonymous said...

When I'm in a 'Jam' I like to roll up the windows, turn up the air conditioning, and put on some good tunes and the traffic just seems to melt away. Hello reality check: traffic last 2 1/2 hours at the most the rest of the day cars are faster hands down; they even beat subways systems. Even if Public transit vehicles arrived every five minutes you'd still have to wait four minutes for a vehicle, that's 12 minutes if you're switching onto three different vehicles. I live in Toronto Ontario and in twelve minutes on a Friday evening I can cross from the west end to the east end of the city in 12 minutes a journey that takes more than 40 minutes by public transit. Cars will never ever…ever be banned…ever and public transit will never ever be faster (not including rush hour stats). Traffic isn’t even an issue about whether or not cars or transit are better suited to handle high capacity. Any infrastructure is going to be bogged down when masses of people are active at one or two specific times of the day, and further, any infrastructure that designed to handle massive peaks will be wasted 80% percent of the time when there aren’t massive peaks in traffic flows. The issue isn’t whether cars or busses are better suited to handle massive flows of travellers (Public transit is better suited to handling massive flows of travellers whereas cars are far more efficient at getting small numbers of people to their destinations quicker) the issue is why there are massive peaks in people travelling? If people’s work schedules or sporting schedules at stadiums where staggered such that a quarter of people working start a half hour later and ended a half hour later traffic would be reduced by a quarter for a half hour period. The best example is a sporting event. Prior to a sporting event traffic isn’t as bad because people arrive at various times, but after the event everyone scrambles at once clogging up the roads surrounding the stadium or halls or sidewalks that lead to public transit accesses.