Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Integrated Transport

Two stories caught my eye today and made me despair slightly.

The local tram network - the Metrolink in Manchester - is reconsidering allowing bicycles to be carried on trams during off peak times. This follows a recent decision to maintain the ban, including folding bikes unless in a case. Local cycling groups made a concerted effort to force a reconsideration. Protesters took ironing boards, amongst other things, on to the trams in order to show how ridiculous the current bike ban is. The non-bike objects are allowed to be carried as the regulations stand. I had no part in the local effort but certainly applaud those who took the time. There is still no reversal of the ban but maybe there is hope.

Contrast this with a posting by David Hembrow from Holland. He describes a bike scheme for users of local rail services - the OV-fiets. Apparently 40% of rail passengers in Holland arrive at the station by bicycle. As so many bikes cannot practically fit on the trains the Dutch have developed a bike hire scheme with a difference which integrates with the rail services, is available at a minimal cost and for a decent hire period. This allows commuters to make the local journey to and from the stations without having to use a car.

What a difference in attitude. Is it possible we will ever be that forward thinking in the UK? I think we might get somewhere near at some point in the future but it will take a major shift to get people out of their cars and that has to mean a major increase in cost. We are just too selfish as a species and so appealing to people to consider the environment just doesn't have the impact to make the difference needed. I'm sure when oil is next pushing towards $200 or $300 a barrel we will see an upsurge in car share schemes, more people cycling and so on. Roll on the day is all I have to say.

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