Cutting congestion - volvoman
I live in a smallish town on the outskirts of London. I can walk to the local shops in less than 10 mins, to the mainline station in 15-20 mins. and the nearest bus stops are within 2 mins walk. Why then, do so many of my neighbours choose to drive EVERYWHERE ?

Despite having lived here since the mid 80's, there are certain inhabitants who I've hardly ever seen on their 2 feet. Why is this ?
Don't get me wrong, for a trip to the supermarket I take my car and for longer/inconvenient journeys I use it too. However for things like visits to the bank, post office, local shops, school etc. I do something which seems to be getting less common - walk !

Given the amount of whingeing people do about the price of petrol, parking costs/fines etc. I really can't understand why people who live in areas like mine don't walk or even take the bus more often. For some it seems to be a question of image - the "I'd never be seen on an effing bus mate !" attitude.

But why not I ask ? Here we are lucky to have regular, clean and relatively cheap buses (70p flat fare) yet many locals still don't use them, they'd rather drive and get all stressed up about all the congestion, the traffic calming measures, the lack of parking spaces and (ironically) all the inconsiderate morons doing exactly the same thing as them. Surely this is madness !

I think some form of self control is required. Driving can be a pleasure but increasingly it's a real pain in the bum. How much clearer our roads would be if everyone in a position to do so decided to use their 2 feet a bit more or, God forbid, even the bus occasionally. I'm beginning to think however that some people would have to be surgically separated from their beloved vehicles first !
Cutting congestion - Marcos{P}
We live 1 min walk from a very good JMI school and some of the parents park down our road to drop their kids off. The problem is a lot of these parents live 5 mins or less from the school.
There is one woman whose driveway you can see from the back bedroom in my house and you can watch her load the kids up into her car, reverse out of the driveway, drive 300 mtrs, park, walk the kids to the school gate and drive back home again.
It would take less time for her to walk out of her door and straight to the school and back again than to take the car and have to park etc.
I think it just comes down to pure laziness and then then she will wonder why on earth both her and her kids are so overweight.
Cutting congestion - THe Growler
I remember in my day we walked 2 miles to the bus stop and back morning and evening, at 9 years old I had to make a 45 minute 2-bus trip Stanmore to Northwood on my own, rain or shine and in the winter the chilblains on my toes hurt unbearably, while the ones on my ears used to bleed. In the Smog of '52 we all got bronchitis but it was back to school the moment you could get out of bed, no idle kids hanging round the house.

Stop fussing, don't be such a baby, and finish your homework, from a Mum who brought up 3 kids single handed in the war with rationing and nightly air raids.

Bring back National Service.... people nowadays got no moral fibre....

Cutting congestion - Mark (RLBS)
My sister and I used to walk to our school on our own, about 1.5 miles through the local council estate, until we were about 10 or so.

However, I've not sure I'd like a child of mine do that these days, even in the same area. Actually, I'm not sure I'd do it myself.
Cutting congestion - CM
I live in a smallish town on the outskirts of London.
I can walk to the local shops in less than
10 mins, to the mainline station in 15-20 mins. and the
nearest bus stops are within 2 mins walk. Why then,
do so many of my neighbours choose to drive EVERYWHERE ?

It is because we are all SOOOO busy that walking 10 mins (opposed to 1 mins drive) just takes up too much of our precious time. :-(
Cutting congestion - volvoman
I certainly agree that time is an issue for some people but also feel that laziness is a big factor. It is very hard to park in Orpington yet many people won't use the large car parks because they would have to walk a short distance to the shops. They seem to prefer wasting even more time driving up and down the high street searching for a space as close to their destination as possible.

Practicality is also a factor and I wouldn't really expect every mum with a clutch of toddlers to walk their older children to school every day. However, many of the people I'm referring to are either retired or not working and they still seem to want to drive everywhere. A close (retired but very active) neighbour of mine drives to get his paper every Sunday morning rain or shine, a round trip to the local shop of less than a mile!

I think many people are so used to their cars it's become a habit - a bit like smoking I suppose, they just jump in their cars without even thinking about it.

The reason I'm raising this topic is because we all tend to bemoan the state of our roads and all the traffic whilst we could all so easily do something to reduce the volume of cars on our roads. What a difference it would make if everyone chose to either walk, cycle or use public transport for just 1 in 10 of their weekly journeys !

I fear that if the vast majority of drivers continue on this "drive at all costs" attitude we're all going to suffer increasing regulation and prohibition which will deprive many people of the ability to use their cars when they really need to.
Cutting congestion - volvod5_dude
I agree with you VM however it's a vicious circle. I could easily cut my car use by 10% - 15% but if every motorist did the same the Chancellor would find a big hole in his budget due to loss of fuel tax etc and find some other stealthy way to tax us.

Cutting congestion - Andrew-T
It may be part of the gradual Americanisation of Britain which has gone on steadily since WW2. Across the Atlantic anyone who walks in urban areas is thought a bit weird, and many main highways have no 'sidewalks'. People reach a mindset which says 'if you go out of the front door you get in the car' - there is no alternative.

Another part is the regular scare stories about assaults, which make parents keep kids indoors wherever possible, often the car doors.
Cutting congestion - RE
There is a way to cut congestion. Drastically cut the number of new cars allowed to be registered each year, and likewise with the issue of new driving licences. Remove licences from people over 70 years of age and under 25 unless they are engaged in essential work. Restrict cars to limited milages each year enforced at MOT time unless used for essential business. But this won't ever happen because most politicians are gutless and only interested in the tax collected, not the overall well-being of the people or the transport infrastructure.
Cutting congestion - NorthernKev {P}
Remove licences from people
over 70 years of age and under 25 unless they are
engaged in essential work.

Excuse me? Why is it always the young and the old who shouldn't drive, you ageist *insert swear word*
Why not all drivers have to prove they need a car?
Are you going to surrender yours?

I would catch a bus, but it costs a fortune, doesn't come when I want one and doesn't go where I want it. It takes ages, there are very un-attractive people on them and I can't sing on a bus.

I do however catch a train. As trains are nice and bettter for long distance. GNER's ex-Eurostars are so comfy.

We should be encouraged to use public transport if it is better than a car, and leave people to make their mind up. I'm fed up with being told what I can and cannot do.
Cutting congestion - terryb
Hear, hear (or should that be Here Here!)

I must say we have some excellent local shops which we tend to use in preference to supermarkets, although dry goods and the like have to be bought from Sainsco weekly. But a walk to the local butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer a couple of times a week is a pleasure. And the cost isn't any more either, especially when you take quality into account too.

As regards schools, I'm happy to say that recently I've noticed a "walking bus" along our road to the local first school (yuk, it was called infants or primary in my day). A brilliant idea and the kids seem to love their dayglo bibs. To temper this, on the drive to work (12 miles, no viable public transport) there are still lots of mother-and-1-kid cars going to the private schools that abound in Surrey.

As Growler says, I had a 1 mile walk each way from age 5 - 11, then for grammar school a 45 min train journey (1 change of trains) with a ten or 15 minute walk at either end. I don't think the risk to kids these days is any greater, just that the media hypes it up and mothers tend to think there's a potential rapist behind every bush. We were always warned not to talk to strangers or accept sweets or gifts from anyone we didn't know.

On the downside, when I'm expecting a surfeit of merriment at the office (not often but Xmas and the like) I can and do catch a bus. The 12-mile jouney is an hour and a quarter door to door when the bus bothers to turn up, the cost is over £5 and the bus is filthy and the driver miserable. So a car is not only more convenient, it's cheaper too.

But overall if parents and kids used their legs more, allowed more time (and hence quality time with each other) not only would congestion be reduced but family values might take a turn for the better too. And we'd have a healthier population.

Rant mode off

Cutting congestion - doug_523i
How's about a no parking restriction 100yards either side of a school at dropping off and picking up time, rigorously monitored. While I'm on my soapbox, why are schools built on main roads?
Cutting congestion - Dave_TD
How's about a no parking restriction 100yards either side of a
school at dropping off and picking up time, rigorously monitored.

Er, I thought we already had that? The yellow zig-zags with "SCHOOL - KEEP CLEAR" written on them. Although I sometimes tear my hair out over the lack of monitoring. Trouble is, the kind of people who park on the yellow zig-zags are exactly the kind of people who won't be looking for kids running out in front of/behind them when they pull away. And largely the kind of people who won't have any insurance/MoT/tax/licence anyway.
Cutting congestion - Oz
I couldn't agree more. I get a huge pleasure out of driving, am an active member of the relevant Car Club, my car is my pride and joy, etc. etc., but I since I bought it brand new just over 2 years ago I have recorded 89 days with zero miles on the clock. The car stayed in the garage. Where I needed to go, I walked.

And when I needed to take rubbish to the local tip, I used SWMBO's Peugeot 205 - it being a hatchback!! :-)

Oz (as was)
Cutting congestion - Rob the Bus
>>and the driver miserable<<

Terry, I don't want to set the thread off at a tangent, or to say anything contentious, but if you did my job day in day out, then I suggest that a smile on your face would be terribly rare! ;-)

It may just be simply that you caught the driver at a bad time ie abusive passenger at the last stop, some 'expletive' car driver doing something stupid, a passenger tendering a £20 note for a £1 fare etc etc. Please do remember that we're (mostly all!) humans too. I know that some bus drivers - including some I work with - are just downright unpleasant, but most of us are genuinely nice people doing a stressful, low-paid, unappreciated (by the management at least!) job. And before people tell me to get another job, I am. As I've mentioned before, I'm quitting to take up a teaching degree.

I totally agree with you about the fares and dirty buses though. Some of our buses have interior floors that are literally black and when I'm doing my first user checks, I can feel my shoes sticking to the floor. Nice!

With regard to what the thread was about in the first place, I agree that congestion is getting silly, but while the Government continues to tax the life out of motorists, said motorists will continue to drive on a 'I've paid for it ten times over, so I'm going to get my money's worth'.
Cutting congestion - clariman
And before people tell me to get another job, I am.
As I've mentioned before, I'm quitting to take up a
teaching degree.

Frying Pan


Cutting congestion - Rob the Bus
Funnily enough, clariman, you are not the first person to have said that....;-)
Cutting congestion - Baskerville
>Frying Pan


Quite. In the barber shop this afternoon I was reading The AA book of Driving from 1980 (this barber does an excellent line in ancient driving books mixed in with current motorcycle mags) and the foreword went something like: "As congestion gets worse increasing numbers of motorists no longer find motoring a pleasure. On today's crowded roads the motorist finds ever tighter restrictions and limits on their freedom. What was once a great source of enjoyment is now a chore." Sound familiar? Having said that, I'm right with VM on this one. We'd enjoy driving more if we did less of it.

Cutting congestion - martin
The general notion behind this thread is sound, in my opinion. Far too many people are just bone-idle, car addicted posers who think that people really do care about what motor they happen to be crawling along the high street in - if they can see it for all the smog and fumes. I'm a car owner and live in South France where I admit public transport is pretty good, TGV, cheap local trains/trams/buses, need I go on. I keep my car partly to use at weekends, going up to the mountains or friends who live in remote places not covered by a train route - perhaps i cover 5000km a year. Trains being so cheap, it is often more economic to not take my car and pay the petrol prices. But living as I do in a city it is incredible how many people (mainly young 18-40 year olds) will use their cars for 1-3km journeys. The concept of walking, busing or tramming simple escapes them, they think that pedestrians like me are impressed with the twin exhaust pipes and fire stripe stickers along the wings of their cars. These idiots rack up euros of fines every week just so they do not have to walk in what is a city no larger than Bath.

Case in point: a friend regularly gets two 25euro parking tickets a week for parking on a prohibited zone either in town or by her house. When I say why not park up somewhere free she responds, because there is no free-parking/pay & display in the town. This is true, there is practically no parking space in the whole town, so why, I ask do you insist on driving around and paying 50euros a week for the pleasure?? Because, walking is apparently too much hassle, and now it's getting to hot to walk!!!! Too b***** Hot!!!!!! I shout in disbelief!

The car, as someone pointed out above is becoming an extension of the body. No wonder our girths are expanding, just look at Americans, I couldn?t believe what I saw when in California. I think that many of our problems are stemming from the point that we use the car in an seriously inappropriate way, cities are not car friendly places, they are too urban, too concentrated with people, kids, activity already, let alone cars, which now cover 2/3s of all city public spaces - this is absurd.

Attitudes need to change; we do not need to be taxed to death for the pleasure of driving. Why should I pay all that road tax for the kilometers I cover???? Pay as you use, could this be a workable scheme?????
Cutting congestion - Tomo
Surely the punitive tax on petrol is pay as you use?

Anyway, I am not taking up avoidable exercise at my age, I did have to walk a bit yesterday and it knackered me.

We are having elections up here and parties are promising all sorts of extensions to "free" (paid for by other people, that is) public transport travel for old blighters. I say that as I never use public transport in equity I should get some free petrol; or free road tax, like television?
Cutting congestion - bugged {P}
I have just moved to a new estate as have some friends we work with, there is a supermarket within easy walking distance, i carry my recycling up there and shopping back with me.

They have introduced a car share program where we all work, means i get a special space to park near the building and if the person you share with cant take you home for whatever reason the company pays for a taxi home!!! Im afraid i used a bus to get me to and from work (when it bothered to turn up) for a few years and vowed never to use one again, they are filthy and take twice as long as the same journey would take in a car, they are unreliable and expensive.

But i am doing my bit, its just a shame the school on the estate, (which is all evironmentally friendly) has no car park for all those 4x4's, to encourage the mothers to walk the little darlings to school. Trouble is as they block up the road with their atrocious parking, (i must have sat for a good 5 minutes the other morning while a woman painfully tried to get into a space big enough to park the bus that her children should take to school!!!)

We all notice the difference on roads when its school holidays,
i reckon thats the best way to cut congestion (and bad parking and high blood pressure) make the parents who insist on driving 5 minutes down the road to school twice a day pay to do so. gates outside the school would let buses in and out but no cars unless they paid to do so!!!

Cutting congestion - Ian (Cape Town)
My favourite example of how bone-idle and stupid people can be is the local gym. It is situated next to a huge supermarket/shopping centre, and has about 2000 carpark spaces.
I'll often take SWMBO and the kids to the shops, and walk over to the library, which is in the same building as the gym.
What do i find? cars parked on red lines, in disabled bays, up on pavements etc etc, as close to the gym doors as possible!
These morons are going in to have an hour-long 'work out', yet couldn't face a 100 yard walk to and from the door!
(But given some of the shapeless boilers in lycra tights, maybe they are just embarrased to be seen in public for too long?)

Cutting congestion - THe Growler
The converse is thus true! Keeping fit actually can CAUSE congestion! I echo that gym thing. I have a new one nearby. A local dignitary patronises it. When he shows up it's in FOUR cars. One lot with his bodyguards and who knows who in the others. Probably his mistress and her bodyguards, I don't know. They all double or triple park with their hazards on while he puffs away on his treadmill, and the ladies get themselves aromatherapised in the downstairs bit. This is a guy whom I have seen beckon over a waiter in a restuarant to do up his shoelace for him...

I try and walk every day at least for 20 mins (that's how long it is to the beer shop and back :-0 )
Cutting congestion - Ian (Cape Town)
Is that what they call it now???
Cutting congestion - THe Growler
Well, called it "spa-ed out" or whatever they do in those pretentious nonsensically expensive salons for women who seem to think it combats their wrinkles etc. I suppose it does get the girls focussed in one place so they can gossip while we get a bit of peace and quiet for a while....I prefer a good old-fashioned massage parlor for dealing with congestion problems.

Wait for it, wait for it as my old RSM used to say....WHAT were you thinking? I mean I can walk to Massage Central from the bar (exercise, no need for car, lack of pollution, conservation of scarce resources etc).

But to the point: did you see your Mr Ken is thinking about jacking up the London congestion charge? As if anyone with half a brain didn't spot that coming all along. I'm a neophyte in such matters but I would expect a boom in number plate theft...


Value my car