By on March 12, 2009

So what if you’re a sub? Not a TTAC sub, of course, because guess what? The corporate mothership has heard your pleas and seen sense. The “sub or die” mandate has been withdrawn for the time being. More info on that tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Brits love affair with hating the cars they love continues.

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25 Comments on “Auntie Beeb’s Anti-Car Crusade Continues...”

  • avatar

    Daytime TV used to consist of shows featuring people painting their walls magnolia and “adding £50,000 of value, well done”. I think all that’s over with now.

    Welcome to the daytime TV nightmare.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    See, stripping people of their freedom is fun! Up next, property rights. Cup of tea Comrade?

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer


  • avatar

    Did the bus driver say his trip went from 15 min by car to and HOUR and 15 minutes by bike and mass transit?

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    Its not just the Beeb. In Edinburgh they have posters on the bus stops with a picture of Bolar Pears on them with the words “Thank you” all over them to make the bus queue feel warm and fuzzy…

    …whilst the rest of us drive past, presumably without the gratitute of our white, furry friends but with heaters, radios and a chance of arriving on time.

    Did the bus driver say his trip went from 15 min by car to and HOUR and 15 minutes by bike and mass transit?

    Yes. I used buses for a while when working in town – my journey went from about 15 minutes to an hour. I’m afraid the thanks of the BPs wasn’t enough and I switched back to the car as soon as I could.

  • avatar

    Are we surprised that public transportation is less efficient (trip-time) in cities geared around cars?

    Does it really take 1 1/2 tons of material, 170hp, 5 seats, and most importantly a badge . . . to get someone to their office?

    There are plenty of uses for cars, but do they make sense as primary transportation for most people?

    I hope we are not too deep in this car centric culture to see that there are other approaches available to us.

  • avatar

    That’s the thing that suprised me. In England, the cities are set up very well for mass transit and bicycles; adding an hour to the commute sounds like something you’d get in a really car-centric city, like Toronto.

  • avatar

    mehow :
    Does it really take 1 1/2 tons of material, 170hp, 5 seats, and most importantly a badge . . . to get someone to their office?

    Good grief, no.

    It takes at least 300hp these days.

    Anyone who thinks public transportation makes sense should read the annual report of any mass transit agency. Look at the charts in the back and you’ll see “subsidy per passenger” or some other phrase signifying the same concept. Buses and choo-choo trains are money ratholes and utterly uneconomic, usually pissing away $1-$5 for everyone you see taking a ride. Without being propped up by pandering politicians robbing car drivers to pay for their social control experiments, there would be no mass transit.

    Name one city in the world where mass transit stands on its own economically.

  • avatar

    I work with a bunch of former British ‘Squaddies’ here in Afghanistan who are all providing security services – representative of ranks from Rifleman up to RSM.
    To a man, in addition to putting ketchup on their baked beans for breakfast, they all have been up to Bagram to order their respective Harley-Davidsons from two Irish guys who run the franchise there.
    I really can’t see middle-class British citizens being any more able to abandon their cars than their American counterparts.

  • avatar
    Pat Holliday

    I live in London, and I have to say I fail to see why anyone would want, let alone need a car here (besides perhaps the elderly.)

    Public transport is excellent, reliable, and cheap (granted it may not seem it, but compared to running a car it really is.)

    The trouble starts when London-centric politicians start trying to push people towards non-existent bus and train services in rural areas.

    The BBC have the same myopic view of the UK.

  • avatar

    # Neb :
    March 13th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    adding an hour to the commute sounds like something you’d get in a really car-centric city, like Toronto.

    Toronto is a public-transport paradise compared to, say, LA. Or some other American cities. I agree Toronto is very car-geared, but in rush hour, often the public transportation can be faster. I know I’d rather take the bus + subway then drive down the Gardiner at 8:30 in the morning. Or 5:30 in the evening, for that matter.

  • avatar

    Mass transit is for Commies and wanna be terrorist targets!

    Libertarians ride bicycles!

  • avatar

    @ RichardD

    Luzern, Zurich, Lausanne, Geneva, Bern, Basel…all have fantastic public tram/train/bus/boat systems, I can’t say if they are govt. subsidized, but if they are, great! A Govt. program that finally works!

    I have left my car in the garage for a couple of months as a trial, and now get to work in exactly the same time by going by bike-train-bike or bus-train-bus…45 mins exactly + no risk of a speeding ticket and no traffic jams or morning stress either. I just sit back with a coffee and chat to all the honeys using the train…seems to be about 75% of train users are chicks these days! nice!

  • avatar

    Neb knows Toronto. My drive from work takes about half an hour . One day, a dead battery convinced me to try the TTC, Toronto’s poor excuse for a mass transit system.

    One bus, one subway, one bus.

    Two hours and fifteen minutes.

    And now, someone is going to tell me that the construction and maintenance of the subway infrastructure, the rolling stock and the buses, the fuel consumption of the buses, the fuel consumption of the power plants, and the fuel-wasting routes of the subdivision-exploring buses is less wasteful than the gallon of gas I use in my car.


    But all this will be moot, anyway, after the powers-that-be crank the cost of petro to 600 a barrel and nothing moves anywhere.

  • avatar

    He also said he lives 15 miles from work. I’m wondering if his 15 minute drive time was legit. I was never never able to drive 15 miles in 15 minutes in any city in the UK by car.

  • avatar

    Are there a disproportionate number of peeps from the TDot here?


  • avatar

    “Are there a disproportionate number of peeps from the TDot here?”

    That or we’re very vociferous.

  • avatar

    I think I’ve written this here before but it bears repeating.

    A few years ago I tried to go visit a friend outside the city on a Sunday starting at my parents house. I visited them in the morning and then took off. The trip was approximately 50 miles away.

    I left about 8:30 am to take the Chicago CTA bus to the train stop (brow line/western). I then hopped on the brown line to downtown/loop. I then took the metra out to Joliet. I then had 3 miles to walk (further nowadays).

    Just under 8 hours later, I was there. Needless to say, he insisted on driving me home later that evening or I probably wouldn’t arrive for work the next morning on time.

    50 miles in 8 hours. How is that _AT_ALL efficient if your time is worth anything?

    if I did the rent-a-car service that you get x hours per month, it is _still_ impractical. As far as I understand if I wanted to drive 75 minutes there, stay 8 hours & drive 75 minutes back, They’d charge me 10.5 hours on my allocation.

    If I rented a car from the places closest to my house (last I checked) they closed at 6pm on Sunday and I’d have to pay 2 days rental.

    Bicycling 50 miles at a conservative 10mph with lights would be 5 hours each way.

    Example 2: Going to work.

    I have _many_ ways to get to work by public transportation and the fastest route (on a good day) is 50% slower than driving and costs more in fare than gas+parking on my already-paid-off-car.

    Since n/s I’m 2 blocks+ from a main street & 2 blocks+ e/w from a main street, I end up walking to the bus (7 minutes) waiting 3-15 minutes for bus #1 and travel 7 minutes by bus. I then wait another 3-20 minutes for bus #2. and travel another 5-7 minutes by bus, and _if_ I’m on time, I’m then at the trainstop waiting 3-10 minutes for the train. The train takes 10 minutes to put me within 2 blocks of work which takes about 4 minutes walking. If my bus wait is anywhere near the middle/to maximum range, I’m going to miss my train. The next train (metra) is 20 minutes later.

    Best commute time? 45 minutes. Worst commute time? 80 minutes. Price? $2 metra + $2 cta + $0.25 transfer, each way, total: $8.50

    Car commute time? Best 28 minutes, worst 40-45 minutes. Parking IN THE GARAGE OF THE BUILDING: $6. Gasoline @ 20mpg @ $2/gallon. $1.40 (7 miles each way).

    Keep in mind that my city (Chicago) was ranked 3rd best IN THE NATION. I cry for public transportation everywhere here.

    Also keep in mind that:
    * I don’t do errand running after work.
    * I don’t have to pick up or drop off kids at school/daycare/activities
    * I have a flexible schedule enough where I can come in 1-2 hours late & my boss doesn’t care as long as I get the job done.

    How normal people with families & errands to run & non-flexible 8-5 schedules deal with the unreliable public transportation in my city I have no clue.

  • avatar

    mehow> Actually, in summer, it just takes me 450 pounds of metal :)

    I also get 35mpg city as well, only have to pay for 2 tires, has a purchase price 1/4 of my car, and has insurance 1/4 of my car. Only downside is you don’t usually have a very good chance of surviving in an accident.

  • avatar

    It is true that most US cities were largely laid out after the private automobile had arrived, yet in New York City, which is the most densely populated urban area in the US, the subway system, which is by far the most efficient mass transit organization in the United States, is still subsidized by the government. This is also true in the case of the Washington DC Metro, which is successful enough that prices are higher for houses that are close to Metro stops.

    When cities are laid out such that places to work are all over the map, and places to live are likewise, it is not possible for mass transit to be efficient. Does that mean that all American cities should be laid out like NYC? Most people don’t seem to think so.

    For a long time I worked at a large government shipyard, and during all the hoorah the last few years about trying to encourage mass transit, carpooling, and other ways to reduce single-occupant commuting it was at a disadvantage because the metric used was the percentage of improvement. The reason for this was that everybody was already carpooling or riding buses or ferries or bikes to the shipyard if it made sense for them. When I first came to work there, I talked to people who had carpooled to work in 1939. The point is that people will make other arrangements than driving by themselves to commute to work only if it makes sense to them.

    Everybody’s time is worth something to them; if it takes a lot more time to ride transit than to drive, very few people will ride transit.

  • avatar

    TV programmes like this are always silly since they always seem to target suburban housing estates that were never designed for efficient public transport.

    Where I live within the UK, in a few streets of 100-ish year old terraced housing in a city of around 250,000 people, the public transport system works well, since we’re only about 2 miles from downtown.

    I have the choice of 2 bus routes which take about 15-20 minutes, or a 7 minute walk to the Metro station for a 6 minute train ride. The same route by car takes around 8 or 9 minutes at 3am after a night out (in a taxi, not me driving obviously), so would clearly take a lot longer at rush hour. Thanks to bus lanes the buses aren’t delayed too badly at those times, and the Metro is packed but still fast, and I would prefer to rely on this than crawl through traffic for 30 minutes every morning (just give me an iPod on the train and I’m happy!).

    Basically, this rant of sorts is trying to demonstrate that in the right locations and with good planning, public transport DOES work, but forcing people in inconvenient locations to use it is a ridiculous idea (having grown up in a rural area I should know), and one I wish this government would stop pursuing through higher tax rates and fuel duties.

  • avatar

    What this overlooks is that outside of the major cities the transit system in Britain is so thoroughly gutted that people are just as car dependent as they are in Kansas. Also there is still a time factor and a routing issue, if you need to change trains or buses 2-3 times per trip it’s a strong negative.
    The guys on this forum have some interesting input since many of them work for the London Underground, and the rest are transit enthusiasts.
    OTOH if you really want to haul a load without a car, you need one of these

  • avatar

    v65magnafan1 :
    March 13th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Neb knows Toronto. My drive from work takes about half an hour . One day, a dead battery convinced me to try the TTC, Toronto’s poor excuse for a mass transit system.

    One bus, one subway, one bus.

    Two hours and fifteen minutes.

    I guess it depends where you live.

    My daily Toronto commute (Etobicoke->College St.) used to take about 40 mins. to 1 hour by the TTC (walk + bus + subway + walk or change subway + walk).

    The same route by car in rush hour via 427/Gardiner will easily take you AT LEAST as long, often longer. In fact if I had to drive the route during rush hour I’d take the streets (because the deadbeats from Missisauga only know to clog the Gardiner! Sorry to any Miss. deadbeats) instead of the highway, and still you can’t get there in under 40 minutes, no way. Oh, and let’s not mention the cost of parking! Fun, fun, fun!

    Granted, the drive at 2 am takes like 15 minutes. But that’s 2 am…while the TTC ride outside of peak hours takes longer – no express bus, and if you miss the bus coming off the subway you can sit there waiting for the next one for up to 15-20 minutes. Btw, the sad thing is that the TTC is probably the 2nd best transit system in North America (after New York).

    So for me TTC > car in rush hour, car > TTC at any other time.

  • avatar

    When cities are laid out such that places to work are all over the map, and places to live are likewise, it is not possible for mass transit to be efficient. Does that mean that all American cities should be laid out like NYC? Most people don’t seem to think so.

    Well, most developers don’t think so. I live in suburban Boston, but I think NYC is a wonderful place, and I would be happy to live there if I could afford it.

    I suspect that if someone could plan and build a city as nice as NYC, people would flock to it, and that a lot of people would be just as happy, or maybe happier living in similarly densely populated environments. You can’t just look at the way most of the US is laid out and say that’s what people want. I doubt that many poeple really like commercial strips of the sort that are all over the US. People in general don’t really have a say in how the US is developed. Developers give them what will make the developers the most money, and people don’t really have a choice.

    Having said all that, it’s obvious to me that outside of NYC, there are very few places in the US where traveling by public transit is faster than car. Or even bicycle. I lived in DC near the metro, and to go to my doctor;s office downtown took twice as long by metro as by either bicycle or car (40 minutes insetad of 20).

    I doubt Malcolm will keep spending the 1 hr and 15 minutes to get to work by bicycle and train when he can do it in 17 by car.

  • avatar

    I’ve been to New York City. It’s a nice place to visit, but, no, I do not want to live there.

    The surveys I’ve seen show that the majority of people want single family homes on a separate lot. They do not want to live in New York City.

    If people want to live in New York City – more power to them. Same with Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.

    It’s interesting to note that the well-to-do who do live in New York City usually also have a house in either upstate New York or rural Pennsylvania.

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