You see, because the French government has announced that it is banning vehicles on alternate days in Paris, the Guardian has floated the idea of the same being imposed here. Their readership has predictably lapped it up with a poll showing 76% approval - they get mighty excited about the chance to ban something over there, so they do.
The 'jokes' I read out were merely suggestions posted in the comments by people who seem to have no clue about transport, money, or even life in general for that matter.
If we said that all black cabs, buses and licensed minicabs have to be electric by 2017 (or whenever), what difference would that make to air quality in the long term? What if we extend the congestion charge system? What if we ban the same of diesel vehicles in the UK by 2020 (or whenever)? These are more serious policies, because they are less random and capricious.That's the one which started off the chuckling, it's something you'd expect from a 13 year old before you sit them down and explain that it's a nice idea and all that, but hopelessly naive. Firstly, there isn't yet an electric vehicle which is economic enough for widespread use amongst domestic drivers with low mileage, nor will there likely be for probably another decade at least. The chances of there being an electric motor capable of operating at consistently high mileage is even more into the future, and one capable of reliably running a rig with the power to carry 150 passengers for continuous day-in-day-out periods is probably two decades away at least.
And even if it were available now, its cost would be massive as Puddlecote Inc knows very well having looked into alternatives ourselves on a regular basis. LPG, electric and hybrid are still novelties and come with a huge price tag. The replacement and running cost of such a huge shift in transport over three different industries would be so immense - because, contrary to what many believe, fossil fuel is way down the list of factors in pricing transport services - that fares would be unaffordable to all but the wealthy.
Isn't it odd how so many 'progressive' hobby horses seem almost exclusively designed to impoverish the poor?
Of course, the same can be said of the article's main premise of banning vehicles on alternate days. Those rich enough to run two cars will simply buy another, the less well off won't be able to. The proposal has a cost in itself because if it was an efficient and cost-effective way of running a city, it would be in operation already without the need for government intervention. Increased costs to businesses and public services are all passed on somewhere, either through taxation, reduced services or higher prices. It's a zero sum game.
But in the world of the Guardian reader, you just wave a magic wand and all your utopian dreams become cost-free reality ... it just takes someone with the
Introduce fare-free public transport and there would be even fewer reasons to bring a car to London.Yes, great idea, that won't cost anything at all. Simply tap up the government money tree and the problem is solved!
OK, so tube fares only account for 50% of the cost of running the underground and the state already has to chuck in £3bn per year - but what's another three billion per annum, eh? It's not like the public have to make up the monumental shortfall with increased taxes/reduced benefits/services, is it?
Eventually, all the country will be blessed with high speed internet access, all south facing roofs will have solar panels/water heaters on them, sewage farms will produce methane gas to be pumped into the gas grid and wind power, tidal turbines, wave power and energy efficiency will be the norm.Yes, that one had us in stitches too.
You are right about Athens, this system still continues. It had a huge impact on pollution levels and congestion, positive impact.This is in reference to Greece sometime ago also having instituted the same ban as France. Because, of course, Greece has been a tower of economic strength ever since.
Unfortunately this positive impact on the environment is somewhat counteracted by the fact that the country is suffering from an epidemic of illegal logging, and, therefore, wood burning as people can no longer afford to buy heating oil nor the taxes associated with everything and so are turning to any other means. Mount Olympus, for example is being decimated, Athens is often clouded in smog, from wood burning.Wait for the punchline ...
Still, there are fewer cars on the road and that's jolly good.By this time, tears were rolling down cheeks at Puddlecote HQ and questions were being asked as to where I was getting this top drawer material. Viz 'Top Tips'?
We need to get properly radical if we are to maintain an anthropofriendly climate. Commuting itself must be banned. People are going to have to live where they work and work where they live. We are subsidising a practise that is destroying our environment.Err, "anthropofriendly"? And spoken like a truly myopic office worker who obviously wants his plumbing fixed remotely.
Why not something that celebrates diversity, multiculturalism or multi-ethnicity; driving days could be based on identity; gender, race, nationality, etc. So if you needed a ride you'd have to integrate, which would be good for a liberal city like London which is still very much separated by neighbourhood and choice of transportation.Banned from driving into work today? Simple. Just stand at the side of the road and wait for a black or asian person to drive past and thumb a lift. Brilliant!
What should be banned in London is single driver vehicle drivers. It should be mandatory that vehicles in London have high occupancy of at least 75% of all available seating in a car filled as a prerequisite requirement to commute to outer and inner London.This will give incentive for drivers to seek out and advertise for and acquire fellow travelers or give up and use public transportation.Seriously, I'm not making this up, they're all there under the line if you feel like fact-checking.
Anyhow, the suggestion is that - to be able to drive to work and contribute to the economy - you must have to expend your time and money first to find at least three other people to share your vehicle with. That's going to help to achieve full employment no end!
That's not all, this particular contributor is just warming to their task.
Also taxis should not be permitted to cruise for fares but park and be radio dispatched and only for multiple fares that fill available seating to at least 50% of available cab seating.We all have cell phones now.Because tourists all have plenty of numbers to ring and anyone using cabs always, but always, knows another three people who want to go the same way. And also because sole trader black cab drivers won't demand their union push for increased fares by being forced to subscribe to radio control services. Oh no.
But he/she still isn't finished. The bright ideas just keep on coming.
Vans and commercial vehicles should be higher taxed or even ticketed and fined for "dead heading" on return deliveries from inner London.Higher taxes which will be passed on in prices; fines - and 'ticketed' suggests licence endorsements - on deliveries for which there is no return package can only be performed by big businesses, who will massively increase charges to compensate or simply not deliver.
How about requiring that all the unoccupied/unused buildings in inner London be made into accommodation and rented out to anybody who works locally at an amount of, say, 20% of whatever their income is.
That way people won't have the need to travel as much.Are we talking about buying this property from the legal owners, or stealing it?
Someone else sees a charge he/she doesn't have to pay, so wants it expanded.
London is extremely well-served by public transport. It's largely flat, and it's quite compact. My suggestion would be to extend congestion charging to the M25.That's right, charge everyone in the home counties to drive any kind of vehicle and give their already taxed cash to the state. That won't result in higher prices through increased demand on wages at all. Of course, charging everyone for using the roads could work, but I can imagine quite a lot of Guardian readers being up in arms about that considering it was proposed by the IEA last year.
But my personal stand-out fave was this.
Some don't have a 'choice' of transportation. Some disabled people either have to drive, be driven or take a cab because public transport is inaccessible to us. As long as anyone who physically could not use public transport was exempt from the ban I'm all for it.In other words, as long as other people suffer and not me, that's fine. Which is what all the others were saying, really, just without the honesty. Oh yeah, and without even a basic understanding of transport realities and the consequential costs which offset every benefit known to mankind.
Still, terrifying as such ignorance can be if you take it seriously, it brightened up our day so can't be all bad.