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Price of public transport would drive you crazy

I read the Belfast Telegraph article 'Our poisonous love of the car' (News, September 8) with keen interest as I returned to England following one of my regular visits to see the family in Northern Ireland.

I am an user of the rail-and-sail deals which take you from any UK mainline station to Belfast using the Stena ferry lines.

I do this not because of any CO2 fixation, but because it is cheap, quick, and enjoyable public transport.

Enjoyable, that is, until you have to negotiate Northern Ireland's public transportation.

By way of an example: during rush hour this morning, I was dropped off at Lochview Park and Ride in Craigavon, thinking it would be a cheap and convenient journey into town.

However, £5.30 certainly isn't cheap (particularly adding the extra £3-odd for the onward journey to the ports) and an empty bus proves it is hardly convenient.

I do not profess that I fully understand Northern Ireland's public transportation, nor the reasons for its drawbacks.

Perhaps the problem is an Ulsterbus monopoly. Perhaps the Assembly stumps up too much cash to cover the costs of landowners to consider subsidising public transport.

Perhaps the widely-dispersed population will always make decent public transport a hopelessly romantic ideal.

Nevertheless, £8-plus for a 25-mile trip on the bus is ridiculous. I calculate it would be 25-30% cheaper to drive your car from Craigavon to Belfast Port than catch the bus.

ED MOWLAM

Bradford, West Yorkshire

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