Ellis Thorpe (Letters, 24 July) is to be sympathised with, living as he does in the clogged and hydrocarbon-laden streets of Inverurie, but he’s tilting at the wrong windmill when he seeks to penalise buses at the expense of the motor car.
It is true that public transport infrastructure was neglected and even ignored for decades in this country at the expense of the vaunted economic and personal freedom epitomised by the motor car – and also to support a heavy-employing indigenous car industry subsequently destroyed by bungling bureaucrats, inept management and cretinous unions – but it still offers a real means of moving people back and forth quickly, relatively cleanly and efficiently, with just a little tweaking in the short term and decent investment in the longer.
A bus may be three times as long as a car, but it can hold four times the number of passengers as three of them, assuming the rare event when all three cars would be fully occupied.
Additionally, we have to accept that most of our city centres are simply not suited to wholesale car movement and parking.
I do not support congestion charges for motor cars, but my experience of Edinburgh’s generally excellent and value-for-money (as opposed to parking charges for example) day-time bus service – a pox on the tram – suggests to me that properly co-ordinated, sensibly charged public transport is the best means of moving people in and out of a city centre, and should be encouraged. The carrot, and not the stick.
Magnus K Moodie