Friday, 25 March 2011

The Cost of Fuel and the Green Police

All I have heard of late, each and every time the issue of the cost of fuel is raised, is a dour blanket of protests from the ashen-spirited anti-car brigade. “Fuel is too cheap anyway. You should get public transport or walk or cycle. Let’s put tax up further on cars – actually ban them completely. We all need to drive less.”

Oh really? How is that then? Do I simply wake up in the morning at present and think to myself “I know, I’ll just get in my car and drive aimlessly around for a few hours to do my bit for the environmental butchery of the planet?”

For the record, I typically work at two locations, one being south Birmingham, which is an eighteen mile trip; and the other Oxfordshire, which is fifty-five miles away down the M40. I leave my house just before 7am in order to get to my desk without suffering too much from the stresses of traffic, and I often don’t return until after 6pm

If I were to hand my car over to the lentil-wearers, then what would be my options? Cycle? My knees and back are already wrecked as it is without needing to set out at 2am each morning for a hundred-mile round cycle trip. Walk? Oh, ok, the train would be another. Yes, the train. Ah the joys of the train! So let me see, in order to catch the train, I would need to get from my house to the train station, which would be a short drive followed by parking followed by car theft (train stations are notorious) – ah yes we’re banning cars anyway – so it would actually be a short walk followed by a bus trip to the station – this alone would take around half an hour. I would then have to take the train from Stourbridge Junction to Birmingham Moor Street – a 35 minute journey – followed by a 55 minute journey to Banbury – from which there is probably a half an hour walk from the station to the office (not including the delay in between trains). So that would involve me leaving at least half an hour earlier, having a stressful Phileous Fog-style circumnavigation across the West Midlands, running from one stop to another, desperately hoping for no delays (of which there always are on trains) before finally arriving, knackered, tired, stressed and almost certainly late for work, a good forty minutes after I usually arrive by car – and at a far greater expense.

This, of course, does not allow for the fact that I have the need to leave early and late on occasions. The working hours of 8.30 to 4.30 are not necessarily representative of what I regularly do as I sometimes have to drop by a different office, leave early for a physio appointment, work later due to meetings – add to all of that the fact that I have a six month old daughter who I see far less of than I would like and it is only my car that allows me a fighting chance of a normal existence.

Do these people have jobs? Do they have families? Do they have responsibilities? Mortgages? Bills? Or do they lounge around reading the latest copy of Big Issue, wondering how many chairs to throw through the window of the next Tory Party Conference? The anti-car lobby are exactly the reason why I take great pleasure from Jeremy Clarkson. I am not time or cash rich but I do live in the real world and until there are viable alternative forms of transport available, I will continue to be driving to and from work and I do not intend to continue to pay more for the privilege.

Next week – potholes and road tax…

No comments:

Post a Comment