Jam tomorrow

Your report, “Congestion charge back on the agenda in bid to boost shops” (21 July), has a telling picture.

It is worth a thousand words as it reveals graphically the cause of city centre congestion.

How many buses can be counted, bearing in mind the average bus is three times longer than the average car? There is no sound economic argument for charging motorists to drive in city centres between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

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Aren’t the consultants commissioned by the government aware that motorists go to work in the morning and go home at night?

Perhaps they are unfamiliar with retired people using city centres during the day with some travelling on a free bus pass. It is this and the bus companies’ naïve policy of “increasing frequency to stimulate passenger growth” that causes off-peak congestion.

Few buses, if any, carry an 
economic load of passengers between 9am and 4pm, causing congestion, pollution and wasting fuel.

Increasing the “frequency of buses” is encouraged by subsidising free travel because it boosts the companies’ revenue.

Arguably bus companies should face a penalty deducted from the subsidy when buses carry less than 40 per cent capacity between 9am and 4pm.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk