Public transport is no longer public

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It is shocking that with the environmental challenges facing us today, we are presented with plans to solve the problems of moving people around our area with no thought for anything other than building or upgrading roads, at vast expense.

This government’s road building mania is a hangover from the 1990s, and indeed both the Chichester and Arundel bypasses are what have been called ‘zombie’ roads – because the plans have been killed off with reason many years before, but suddenly they are resurrected again in a deeply undemocratic way that pays lip service only to public opinion.

The Green Party is asking the question: Where is the sustainable plan that should be considered by local people alongside any road schemes?

Has anyone noticed that public transport is no longer ‘public’, as it is in fact privatised, while public money is instead spent by the government on exactly what it wants?

The money earmarked for these short sighted and old fashioned ‘solutions’ (in fact new roads are proven to attract more traffic and to cause more congestion) should in our opinion be used to make transport properly public once more.

In many European cities, public transport is efficient and cheap – in some cases free – and if others can do it, so can we. Creative solutions we would like to see for both Chichester and Arundel could include increasing and extending cheaper train services, a system of electric powered buses, reinstating or building new tramlines, safe cycle ways into the centres from outlying areas, using tunnels to cross the A27, and possibly small, landscaped park-and-ride schemes.

Moving people in this way would free up the main roads for the small proportion of drivers who are in fact bypassing the towns.

In the words of an inspirational green transport planner, Paul Mees, we should take the opportunity to do something ‘human-scale, non-threatening, intelligent, enriching, health promoting, child-friendly, deficit reducing and life affirming’ in planning for our Sussex towns and cities.

Isabel Thurston and

Sarah Sharp

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