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On The Buses….

So this week the Go-Ahead Group reported that more people are ditching their cars and using public transport as a result of rising fuel costs. The news came as music to the ears of certified ‘greenies’ who have for decades been trying to prise British motorists from their cars and persuade them that public transport really isn’t so bad.

The organisation reported a 7.2 per cent increase in the number of passengers using the company’s deregulated bus services in Q1 of 2011 and a 5.8 per cent increase in those travelling by train around the Go-Ahead Group’s Southern, South Eastern and London Midland Franchises.

Keith Ludeman, Go-Ahead’s chief executive, said the figures demonstrated that the public were increasingly leaving their cars at home and choosing a better value alternative transport.

Although rising fuel prices have been a headache for UK motorists to say the least, this research carries the small possibility that something good will come out of the crisis. We all use our cars far too much, whether it’s ferrying our children back and forth from school when they could quite easily walk, giving in to friends asking for a sneaky lift and even driving the two minutes to the local shop to pick up a pint of milk.

Obviously there are occasions when driving is unavoidable, especially for those living in rural areas, however if the fuel crisis forces us to think twice about making short journeys, it can only be a good thing, not only for our wallets but also for our health and well-being.

At the risk of sounding like an old bore reminiscing about the ‘good old days’, we certainly did not use our cars as much as we do now 20 years ago. In fact, walking used to be the first choice mode of transport for short journeys around the locality, with the car only selected if the trip was deemed to be too long to make on foot. Now the opposite is true. And we are a lot fatter for it.

So if one good thing comes out of the fuel crisis, it will be healthier hearts, cleaner air and perhaps the odd blister.



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