Inertia (public transport)

A story in Glasgow Evening Times this week where Managing Director of McGills bemoans number of car commuters and effect of buses being delayed in congestion.

The comments under the article bemoan dirty buses, ticket prices only ever going up, parking a car all day is cheaper than using bus for a family of four and that there’s a lack of suitable night time services.

Inertia. ‘Why give them help, it’s so bad and they just want to make profits by going faster and better’.

Now, if we ever to get anywhere in improving public transport it’s getting people to change their habits and particularly to remove single occupancy cars as these use up road space particularly.

On first sight of the article, I agreed with the points made by the bus company MD and my experience of going to Braehead at a weekend by bus illustrated to me how much and how often the journey slowed due to congestion and the amount of cars on road.

Simple priority measures for buses only should be looked at. Bus Lanes, priority at traffic lights, roundabout bypass measures and whatever can help. (I remain fixed in my view that only buses and bicycles should use such lanes. Taxis and private hire vehicles are not public transport in my view)

Now the issue is that public money would assist a private company as one of the comments made plain. But buses are already subsidised for socially necessary routes, night routes and other ‘public’ services.

I doubt we’ll ever see municipal or public ownership of companies, but the companies should clearly have on the inside and outside of the vehicles the logos of the public transport partnership and councils that fund services on all their routes in the area.

If roads are altered for bus priority, there should be clear signage to say this is to reduce journey times on the ‘X’route. Planning for any such improvements must be with the operators and emphasis made that it is to help public transport use. 

The cumulative time saving for passengers should be considered and obviously it may help emergency services in some instances.

A rethink is needed. A refreshed view of getting everyone in and out of cities is needed and the bus shouldn’t be seen as the last resort.


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