Wednesday 2nd November 2011, 9.00am (day 69)
What irritates me most about the public transport in this country is not the unpunctuality (which tends to be concentrated on certain lines at certain times of the day, and after a while you just learn to avoid them – if you can, of course). No, the thing that gets me the most is the stupid ‘no growth in numbers’ contracts which the train operating companies have signed.As a result, public transport is an utterly backwards industry in which there is actually no business incentive to increase custom. (Undergraduate education is becoming another one.)
There is one, and only one, reason why such a state of affairs is tolerated: it’s because every journey by public transport represents a little redistribution of tax income. The government like collecting tax, so encourage us to use cars, which are enormous sources of tax revenue. They don’t like paying tax back out. so don’t want us to use public transport, which is ‘subsidised’ (I call it ‘invested in’). As a result Britain has the highest public transport costs of almost any country in the world.
But despite everything, it’s still a damn sight better than using a car.