Friday, July 31, 2009

The motorist to get it in the neck ...... again!

I'm lucky enough to be able to work from home as often as I like, but I frequently go in to the office anyway - partly for the social aspect and partly to get out from under Mrs Stan's feet during the day.

I live just ten miles from my office and, thanks to my flexible working hours, I'm able to drive in early or late and avoid the rush hour so the journey only lasts around 20 minutes. Sometimes I cycle - though not that often anymore - and it takes around 45 minutes. Only once in the last 10 years have I tried to use public transport to get home - about four years ago - and it took almost two and a half hours.

Despite being just ten miles and living close to bus stops and railway stations there is no direct public transport link between where I live and where I work so I either have to use a combination of trains and buses to get to the office - a minimum of three changes - or take various buses where, in some cases, they actually go in the opposite direction to where I want to go!

It wasn't always this way. When I was a young lad we would often go to the town where I now work to visit an aged great aunt who lived there. We had no car back then so we relied on buses and they were plentiful and reliable. There was one change at Slough Bus Station and the whole journey took no more than 45-50 minutes.

So, given the time the journey takes public transport just isn't a viable option for me unless I want to give up five hours of my day to travelling to and from the office - which is why I am opposed to schemes like this.

The reason cited is that it is a bid to cut congestion - but that is rubbish. The reason is to raise money - nothing else. If they charge us for parking at work we are still going to drive to the office so it will not make the slightest difference to congestion. If they were serious about cutting congestion then they might consider having decent public transport systems that were a viable alternative to using cars.

If they really want to cut congestion then they would open more schools so that local children can walk to local schools without having to get mum or dad to drive them there every day - surely they must have noticed how congestion drops when the schools are on holiday? Everybody else does.

And if they want to raise money they should start getting the likes of ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury's to levy a charge for people using their massive car parks - rather than those going to work.

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