I dont listen to the 'how much hidden pollution you produce' brigade - trains produce a shit load to manufacture and a shitload to power and are never full enough (despite the early morning/ evening crush) to warrant the 'low emissions' badge.
Then there's all the infrastructure that has to be included in the CO2 emissions.
A 500 metre bus lane in Huntingdon cost about £1.9 million-ish. My old Headmaster, Peter Downes calculated that all the polution created by the subsiquent traffic jams during the work would take about 125 years to offset by the shorter journey times of the buses.
Its a cynical attitude I know but I'm tired of the bullshit we're fed.
My journey calculation was based on what cash I would physically have to hand over in order to get from A to B.
That's a valid point, but the reality is much more complex than that.
It's impossible to argue one way or the other in simple terms, in truth its difficult to make anything other than informed assumptions.
We have created a society where we live in one place and work in another which, in honesty, makes no sense but for the foreseeable future we're probably stuck with it so the first step to more sustainable transport is to make sure the journey is necessary in the first place. It always amazes me how many journeys are made that never needed to happen but that's another discussion for another day.
Once unnecessary journeys have been eliminated ('Cos that would be SO easy!) then we need to make what we have work better.
On the face of it all you say is right, however if the trains (and other public transport) were cheaper and more convenient then it would be used more effectively and become more sustainable. More people on trains and buses means less in cars and lorries which eases congestion for everyone. It's true there is embodied energy (or more importantly carbon) in the manufacture of trains, buses and rail networks but the amounts pail into insignificance when compared to the manufacture of cars and road networks.
It's not about one form of transport being right and one being wrong. There is room for all, but lets use the most suited for the job and make sure we have a decent quality integrated system that works.
Back to the original point though. The rail service in this country stinks and costs way too much. The way things are going it will only get worse in the short term but I do hope for a brighter future.
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