OK, so our kind hearted government wants to reduce pollution, congestion, stress, etc by taxing us off the roads. Fine. So what are the options?
Until last week, I commuted 20 miles to and from work by bus. There is only the one service that runs this route - and First Group operate it. Its usually run by drivers with personality disorders (aggressive, ignorant, generally unfriendly), the buses are dirty (yes FirstGroup - they ARE!), the drivers do nothing about anti-social behaviour - drunks abusing passengers, kids playing loud music on their mobile phones, etc - and this 20 mile journey takes between 1.5 - 2.0 hours! I can drive it in about 40 minutes. What makes it worse, is that the buses manage to run late, and sometimes don't appear at all. As I said, there is no competition.
To take the train, I'd need to take a bus into town - there is little parking available around the railway station, and what there is is discouragingly expensive.
My only option is to take the car to the outskirts of Sheffield and use the park and ride tram - a fantastic transport system - clean, punctual, plenty of staff to enforce good behaviour, and reasonable fares.
I've used the buses for 3 years, but the service is now so very poor, culminating in a recent assault and lack of action (or even the courtesy of a reply) from FirstGroup, that I have now returned to the car.
If pay as you go road pricing is to be introduced (as seems inevitable now) then realistic alternatives MUST be in place FIRST - which requires huge government investment in public transport and a complete rethink on the bus system - deregulation has been a disaster!