'Tax cars more to cut train and bus fares'

Silhouettes of people with their bikes at dusk on Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, north London.

Silhouettes of people with their bikes at dusk on Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, north London. - Credit: PA

Tax cars more to cut train and bus fares

David Reed, Swiss Cottage, full address supplied, writes:

Sunday, the best-weather day in recent weeks, and I joined the crowds heading to Parliament Hill for the free music celebrating 150 years of Hampstead Heath as a public open space, travelling from Swiss Cottage.

Lots of traffic of course, a dozen or more different buses, most as full as my C11, a few hundred cars but not many vans and even fewer cyclists, perhaps half a dozen over the whole couple of miles!

This informal observation confirms what I feel: cycling will only ever be the main mode of transport for a tiny minority of the public, with buses and other public transport taking the bulk of people, and cars being a choice for the selfish few, apart from a few disabled people who really do need the help.


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So why is supposedly cash-strapped Camden Council spending so much money on creating bike lanes for this tiny minority of the population at great inconvenience to the majority of travellers including those of us on buses?

I am of course in favour of making cycling safer, I used to be one when I was younger, but it’s time some realism was applied to the situation: tax cars more and use the proceeds to cut public transport fares, and train cyclists to ride more safely.

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And when I say “more safely”, cyclists should take my dad’s advice when I was learning to ride: “don’t be afraid you might get killed by accident, just imagine they ARE trying to kill you!” Start by NEVER going down the inside of any large vehicles: you are a dot in a bus or lorry driver’s mirror, they will not see you!

Invest in cleaner public transport

A number 24 bus arrives at the stop outside London's New Scotland Yard.

A number 24 bus from Hampstead Heath - Credit: PA

Susan Bennett, St Regis Close, Muswell Hill, writes:

What is the point of Hampstead? Is it destined to become a picturesque “cycle route” for lycra clad fitness freaks and brave souls on two wheels to whizz through en route to where?

From what I understand from these pages, pedestrians and motorists are to be marginalised. How will the few remaining restaurants, shops and community facilities survive? Without them, how will residents cope?

Hampstead used to be a “destination”. My husband (born in New End ) and I had many links to what was an attractive village. For many years I sold my pots every summer at the Open Air Art Exhibition.

We ate in local restaurants, browsed and purchased in an eclectic assortment of shops. Now, sadly for us, it has become a “no go” area.

You see, we live in Muswell Hill. Too far to walk, cycling is not an option. Parking is impossible ,and despite many campaigns, there is no bus route serving us. Yet our residents are referred to the Royal Free to which access is a nightmare!  

Why is everyone so preoccupied with cycle lanes when an additional alternative solution could be better access to clean public transport? 

Much of the air pollution complained about by concerned parents of school children, for whom, being asthmatic I have much sympathy, is caused by the very school run. Yet there does not seem to be the will to organise a bus or coach service to include all local schools with suitable pick up and drop off points, avoiding  car journeys. I “woke up” to the world in 1942. When will the ‘WOKE’ wake up and express some common sense?

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