As we emerge from the health crisis, we urgently need to get the economy moving. But a recovery built around car use would leave many people behind – and our roads in gridlock.
Quiet roads, peaceful cycling and the sound of birdsong were features of the first lockdown. But traffic levels soon rose as people began to drive around more, following government advice to avoid public transport. Now there’s a real danger that those habits could become fixed and we could slip into a future of ever-rising car use – resulting in traffic gridlock.
Good, affordable public transport can reduce traffic, leaving streets safer and the air cleaner. We’re calling on the Government to support and improve public transport, and encourage people use it again. For instance – we want to see part-time rail season tickets that offer genuine good value to the many people who have returned to their workplaces for just part of the week.
By rebuilding the economy around public transport, walking and cycling, we can also ensure that people without a car aren’t left behind. Many people with disabilities and people living in low-income areas don’t drive – they must not be excluded from jobs, education and training.
Public transport brings many economic benefits, carrying people to high streets and on weekend breaks to spend money in shops, cafes and hotels. Their custom will be much needed in the months and years to come.
Public transport is also responsible for providing hundreds of thousands of jobs – and it could provide many more. Let’s rebuild and reopen disused rail lines and stations… Let’s electrify more of the rail network… Let’s invest in bus lanes and public transport interchanges… and let’s make the UK a world leader in building electric buses. If we want skilled, green jobs, public transport is the way forward.