Road

 

There are certain myths about road transport.

First, that it constitutes a private solution.  While privacy is undoubtedly one of the strongest attractions of the car, it is certainly not a “free market” solution.  On both sides of the ‘pond’, the State has built almost all the ‘track’, and provides it free at point of use.  Charge below the market price for anything, and expect a queue.

congestion shown slowing traffic to a crawl

Not quite 70mph

Second is the idea that the car has given us greater mobility.  In fact, every trip we make – to school, work, shops, etc. – now takes considerably longer than it did in the age of foot, bike, and rail.

Then there is the myth that getting about by car is cheap.  If you only count the cost of fuel (even at today’s price) it may seem so. But the full cost of using a car, given the average UK mileage, comes to around 40p per kilometre (~60p per mile).

Far the slowest and most expensive road transport is the bus.  Buses average about 8mph, allowing for stops.  Allowing for time waiting at a bus-stop (never mind a connection), this reduces to about 2-3mph. My last bus ride in Oxford cost £1.20 for 2 miles at 4mph.  But this does not include state and county subsidy, both open and hidden.  Aside from direct subsidy, bus operators in Britain also receive their track for only a fraction of the cost, often paying less for the road than the owner of a car weighing a tenth as much.