Re: [NewMobilityCafe] Fair Transport - comments
On 2 May 2006, at 08:55, Eric.Britton wrote:
> (Dear Friends. We are getting some fine, very challenging comments,
> challenges and even some support for this idea coming in over the
> transom this week, some of which is reaching you here directly but
> all food for thought – which you will shortly have here in more
> comprehensive form with comments, along with an entirely redrafted
> set of background notes on our strange new term (for poof of its
> strangeness or at least unfamiliarity in this context, I propose
> you check it out on Google, stripping it away of course from all
> (that is most off it) which has nothing to do with our topic). In
> the meantime, I am pleased to share with you the following note
> from my esteemed colleague Professor Richard Allsop, who makes a
> point that I for one am not going to let slip. “Fair Transport”
> may in time perhaps serve to extend and fine tune the phrase
> sustainable transport, but let me not kid myself. It is not about
> to wipe it out. But more on that shortly. ericbritton. And oh yes,
> PS. One of the ideas behind this new phrase is to create a base for
> some form of high profile Fair Transport Labeling. But that too in
> due course.)
If you are thinking of a "Fair Transport" mark akin to the "Fair
Trade" mark, there are several additional comments to make which
relate solely to the mark itself.
In the UK, there has been some backlash against the Fairtrade
Foundation, who administer the mark, with a number of coffee and
chocolate producers particularly arguing that it is all very well to
say the trading of a product is done fairly, but that gives no
guarantee of the quality of the product (for proof of this, see some
of the lower end Fair Trade products such as some supermarket own
brands). In addition, the business ethics of the retailer can be seen
in some eyes to negate buying Fair Trade products from, say, Wal-
Mart, on an ethical perspective.
What this means from the perspective of "Fair Transport" is that in
theory there are two planes of conflict:
1. Are the people in charge of the accreditation trusted?
2. Is "Fair" always "Fair" regardless of who is operating the system?
Are there political or other reasons why something that might
otherwise be "fair" can justifiably be called "unfair"?
Perhaps I am overstating the problem here, but I think it's
potentially very serious. We could lose a lot of credibility very
early on if we (perhaps accidentally) upset the bees some people have
in their bonnets (I don't know how well that lot will translate).
To start off with, what I understand that you, Eric, propose here is
an overarching concept that can be quantified, at least in a way in
which it is possible to provide an accreditation that will be
recognised the world over.
May I suggest that instead of going down the potentially very
complicated route of deciding whether this bus service or that
cycleway package in fairer than the other, that we follow another
Fairtrade strand that is becoming popular in the UK at least by
accrediting "Fair Transport Towns" (and cities) where policies and
the implementation of plans have favoured a people centric approach
to transport. This would be awarded to the municipality and recognise
a complete integrated package and "attitude" towards urban transport.
Anzir Boodoo MRes MILT Aff. IRO
transcience, 72 Staplehurst, BRACKNELL RG12 8DD