What's all this nonsense about road charging? Okay, I thought we had dealt with this stupidity already on this blog but obviously the powers that be don't read these pages, so here we go again. Manchester does not need road charging in any shape or form. There is no congestion in Manchester or on the roads of Greater Manchester or on the routes into and out of this metropolis.
What we do have however, is a growing number of blocked arteries. These are caused by bad planning, bad road signing and deliberate attempts to slow the traffic flow by the different local councils. One of the things that annoys me and other motorists in this city is the number of no right or no left turn signs.
No amount of arguing, ranting and raving or just plain and simple shouting about the bitter cost of road charging will make a haporth of difference because the powers that be have already decided what they want and what is best for us. Yes it always comes down to that in the end doesn't it? Us and them! You see, while everybody else is out there debating the pros and cons of road charging, they (the powers that be) have already introduced it.
You see, what they've done is they've made it so difficult for anybody to park in the city centre. If you can find a space you have to pay and if you overstay you get a ticket. And then all the nearby places like Hulme where the motorist could park and walk to the city centre they've gone and made it residents parking only. Fair enough, the local residents need somewhere to park of course they do, but what about all those vacant lots, surely some of them could be made into car parks.
Sometimes it seems like the streets are really congested, but if you travel by bike like I often do, you will know that the traffic is directed into congestion corridors. What I mean by this is that there are many alternative routes in this city that are unused. I can cycle right across the city centre in the evening rush hour using the empty back streets and hardly meet a moving car at all. In fact I've noticed the same vehicles going round the same circuit time and again either looking for somewhere to park or trying to pick up their son/daughter/wife/etc. from the shops, just driving round and round wasting fuel, time and energy at great cost to us all.
The message to the faceless powers that be, must be, Think again! Firstly if they did introduce a charge to enter or leave the city at different times of day it would be the very people who live and work here who would have to pay extra for the privilege, how mad is that? Secondly, all the other big conurbations in this country have already rejected the idea as unworkable. Thirdly, in the case of Cottonopolis I believe it would be very wrong to introduce a road charge, after all what happened to Free Trade?
Anyway, before a road charge could be made all the alternatives should be looked at. In Manchester and throughout the area we have hundreds of miles of disused and or dismantled railway tracks. The local A-Z map used to say: reserved for rapid transit in the year 2000. The latest editions don't and the year 2000 has long since come and gone. What we still have though are unused routes that could be made into dedicated bus ways etc.
Don't you just hate buses? We shouldn't but we do because they are too expensive, they don't go where we need them to, they take stupid congestion corridor routes etc. If we are serious about alternatives to private car ownership then we need to get the buses sorted. The first thing we need to do is de-privatise the blooming buses. It makes sense doesn't it? They (the powers that be) don't want us to have private cars but they are happy for us to pay top dollar to line the pockets of the private bus companies. How mad do they think we are?
The future is free, or so they tell me. You see what really happens is, it's free to get in but you have to pay to get out. And that is exactly what road charging is like. In short it's a swizz! But there is a solution, of course there is. If we did introduce road charging in five years time and get a shed full of money from the government for being a guinea pig, would this amount be enough to de-privatise the bus companies and if not, well, it really isn't enough, is it? The solution is make the buses free for everyone! You think that's mad? It would be mad not to!
MORE MAD ROAD MAD LINKS
Clink-this-link If you want to read more of my road mad stories.
Clink-the-link to The future is free?
Clink-the-link What I said about the mad roads in June 2007.
Clink-the-link to my July 17th 2007 posting
Clink-the-link to my bit for July 24th 2007.
Clink-the-link On the Buses..
Clink-the-link Madchester.. Congestion What?
Clink-the-link London, Electric Vehicles!
Clink-the-link Bus De-regulation!
Clink-the-link Fifty-five minute ride..