Most of us know using public transport is better for the environment and can even offer a cheaper and quicker route. But in reality the number of cars on the road is continuing to rise. So what is it that’s stopping people from ditching the more expensive not to mention less green, private forms of transport that we see on the road? We look at the pros and cons of both forms of getting from A to B…
Public Transport – A Greener Form of Travel
If you want to do your bit for the environment, getting public transport and leaving the car at home is one of the most straightforward things to do. As you will see below, it can be more convenient, quicker, and cheaper to do so. And the green benefits are great too. Car journeys contribute a significant amount of our overall carbon footprint. According to the Energy Saving Trust nearly half of us use a car to drive short journeys, journeys that could otherwise be completed in another, more sustainable way.
The great thing about public transport is that it gets you where you want to be, when you want to be there, particularly in cities and towns. Rather than only being able to drive to a certain point before getting stuck in a one way system, you can reach your central point directly. Plus you get the bonus of sitting back, relaxing with a newspaper and letting someone else do the driving.
Despite their tendency to get delayed at times, in the majority of instances, your journey from A to B will be quick and often direct as more and more investment is made into new train, tram and bus routes across the UK.
Contrary to popular belief, nearly all forms of public transport pose less of a cost to the traveller. If you’re regularly visiting a place, or planning a trip in advance, you can get season tickets or advance booked tickets for a cheaper price. The cost of running a car goes much further than the mere cost of petrol, which in itself can be very expensive in the UK. Getting on public transport means no congestion charges, car insurance and tax costs, plus eradicates the expense of maintaining your car to a high standard.
One of the most frustrating things about driving a car or motorbike is the hunt for a parking space once you arrive at your destination. Parking is often scarce, and usually expensive. The bonus of getting on public transport is being able to alight and nothing else. Parking can often add extra time to your driving journey.
Public Transport – Cons
On the other hand, public transport hasn’t always had the best of reputations. According to government survey, many cite the following reasons for not using a public transport option more often:
- Ticket prices are rising
- Poor customer service
- Rush hour inconvenience
- Delays and unreliability
Private Transport – Not Clean or Green
The downside to public transport means that cars and motorbikes can, at times, be more flexible and offer an easier form of travel in the eyes of the commuter or traveller. However the green credentials are far less than attractive for anyone wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. And on the whole, there is a realistic public transport alternative to driving. The biggest challenge is changing our preconceptions.
According to a survey commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust, we drive on more unnecessary journeys then most other European nations, an extra three billion miles compared to the French. Even trying out a train or bus even once or twice a week – be it to the supermarket or the shops – will reduce this carbon footprint.