|London, 7 May 1999.
For immediate release.
Why has this not received the same level of exposure as the more recent Audit Commission report on exhaust emissions? Could it be because it is not politically correct to accept the woeful inadequacy of our public transport system to even scratch the surface of road traffic?
"It is completely unreasonable for the Government to attempt to tax drivers off the road and then force them onto public transport which they themselves admit is wholly inadequate" says Mark McArthur-Christie, the ABD's Roads and Traffic Spokesman.
Coming so soon on the heels of John Prescott's proposals for new taxes on drivers to park at work and travel in towns, the paper reveals a vision of public transport that is expensive, unreliable and that fails to go where people need.
Despite the Government taking £35,000 million a year in tax from drivers, the report shows how only £520 million is invested directly in providing public transport. "The Government need to practice what they preach," says McArthur-Christie, "and begin investing more than a token amount of the tax taken from drivers in public transport. The average driver now has to pay £1,300 in tax every year but public transport is just not an alternative."
The poorest and most vulnerable in society are hit hardest by the Government's failure to improve bus and train services. 80% of people living on their own and 60% of single parents have no access to a car, yet they are not served adequately by public transport. "This lack of mobility affects us all," continues McArthur-Christie, "so why should these people be offered a second-class service? How can they go about their lives - get to work, see their relations or travel to the shops?"
There is real scope for innovative transport solutions, but the Government seems simply to favour taxing drivers off the roads instead. It's time they: