Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Our views on cars' usage stuck in reverse

It's not only Ulster's politics which need dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but also our views on car use and the environment.

I take the train to work, for sound reasons based on competitive price, concern for the environment and, to a lesser extent, convenience.

With a 10-minute walk at either end, it isn't necessarily the most convenient option, but I know it is the right thing to do.

How many of the 'one-person-per-vehicle' journeys which are made into Belfast each morning involve someone who lives within 10 minutes of a bus stop? At least three-quarters I would guess.

It is these thousands of vehicles which are clogging up the city centre - not the bus lanes, which convey 80%-90% of the populace to and from work. I have worked in other large UK cities and they are light years ahead in terms of public transport usage. Although few will admit it, there is still rampant snobbery involved when it comes to taking the bus. I pay for my car and it's my right if I want to use it where and when I please, they say. That's their choice, I hear you cry.

Well, yes, it is. But it was also the right of smokers at one time to do so where they pleased, and look how that ended.

It is now accepted that global warming is responsible for climate change. Yet we still insist on the right to use our cars in such an irresponsible manner. Time to catch ourselves on.

COMMUTER

Jordanstown, Co Antrim

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