In these days, when we’re encouraged to leave the car at home and take public transport instead (bus or train), rarely have I seen full buses (other than school runs) or full local trains.
Why is that, if it’s seemingly so important?
Using public transport does have personal and community benefits. There are social benefits of actually talking to other members of your community that you wouldn’t normally see – at bus stops, rail platforms and during journeys. In addition, a full bus for example could easily take 20 or more cars off the road – relieving congestion; reducing noise; improving road safety risks; also reducing risks for pedestrians and cyclists. A full train carriage has all of these benefits, too, and, importantly, could also give cost savings compared to the car and bus (dependent on journey distance).
Using the car is very convenient; very secure because we can cocoon ourselves; very comfortable and probably quickest overall – unless, of course, you’re stuck in the congestion in Wigan or Leigh.
The downside is expense – considering fuel, parking (and fines!), insurance, road tax and the capital cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.
On certain journeys, however, the car may still be cheaper overall than taking the bus. For example, an adult return ticket from Pemberton to Wigan by train costs £2,80, by bus, that rises to £4.50. The bus fare for the same journey is 60% higher – no wonder buses are often only half-full.
So, come on Wigan Council. Find ways to facilitate cheaper bus travel and/or increased train travel if you really want to improve the health and social conditions in the communities you serve.
Wigan & Leigh Green Party, via email
Searching for Navy shipmates
Local newspapers across the country recently printed a letter from me seeking those who had served in the Royal Navy, at the Shore Establishment HMS Collingwood at Fareham in Hampshire, and who would like to be reunited with their old shipmates through the HMS Collingwood Association.
Well, they came out of the woodwork – the power of the letter to the editor has even brought responses from those who volunteered their services back in World War II.
Any reader who didn’t see my first letter can contact me, Mike Crowe at 7 Heath Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight PO36 8PG or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isle of Wight
Virgin have had their chance
Regarding Virgin Trains losing the West Coast franchise to FirstGroup, Richard Branson has been making millions of pounds of profit on his train services for years.
The service, which serves Wigan North Western, was subsidised to the tune of millions, and he sees that golden goose slipping away.
How come he could not increase his bid? Now he is offering to run the service for nothing.
He has the interest of the public at heart ?
I think not!
Is it possible that ‘a mobile phone operator’ could be behind the 100,000-email protest?
He had his chance – and lost.
Corriander, via website