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park & ride

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  • Simon Norton
    Whether park & ride is part of a sustainable transport policy depends on how it s used. I suspect that one reason why it developed in the UK is that bus
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2005
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      Whether park & ride is part of a sustainable transport policy depends on how
      it's used.

      I suspect that one reason why it developed in the UK is that bus deregulation
      made it impossible for local authorities to develop conventional bus services,
      so they tackled town centre congestion in the only way they could. Local
      authorities were so desperate to keep cars out of city centres to avoid
      congestion that they blinded themselves to the fact that the subsidy to park &
      ride buses was helping to undermine the viability of conventional buses and to
      fuel the growth of traffic in the areas around cities.

      The key requirement for sustainability is that motorists should have financial
      incentives to park as close to their homes (or wherever they are starting from)
      as they can, rather than as close to their destinations as they can. In other
      words, it means that the cost of motoring needs to soar and the cost of rail and
      bus fares to sink. In such a context the actual level of parking charges doesn't
      matter too much. What would then happen is that motorists would then use their
      cars only for the initial section of longer journeys to town centres, so they
      wouldn't be too hard hit by the higher motoring costs even if they lived in
      areas with poor public transport.

      People visiting such areas would still face problems, of course, so we should
      still aim for reasonably comprehensive coverage of the country by public
      transport of one form or another. (This is where the UK, and many European
      countries, does score over N America.)

      Simon Norton
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