Thursday, 20 March 2008

Stop Carmageddon!

This is a loose discussion document to start a debate within the left wing movement in Cardiff on developing an alternative transport plan for the city based on principles of ecology, social justice and equality. We also need to talk about how we facilitate more walking and cycling. We need trade unions to push for work-based initiatives to encourage car-share, cycling to work and sustainable town planning to cut down journeys. It is a work-in-progress. Any feedback, comments or criticism welcome! By Joe Redmond, Workplace Environmental Union rep and Adamsdown RESPECT candidate.

* Cardiff Respect believes there should be an integrated publicly owned transport system within the city of Cardiff. This should include trains, buses and even trams, all of which could be boarded using a fixed price (£1) ticket, valid on any combination of transport modes for one hour from the time you board – ample time to travel across the city.

* There is massive support for the re-introduction of a tram system in Cardiff and the city is not too big to introduce circular lines linking the two train stations and civic centre, with further routes attainable along St Mary Street and towards Cardiff Bay.

* The massive multi-million pound building project of St David’s 2 provided the perfect opportunity for the council to investigate this dramatic move but they are only concerned with building hundreds of additional shops which will turn Cardiff into just another clone town.

* The Lib Dem (and previously New Labour) council rather than tackle traffic congestion are building more roads, accommodating more cars and allocating more space for parking. Most of this parking is provided by private companies, such as NCP, charging upwards of £8.50 per day (roughly £4,000 a year!).

* The Lib Dems and New Labour councillors advocate a congestion charge which will mean roads for the rich – who can continue to drive their cars while working class people, already feeling the pinch from low wages, spiralling fuel costs and rising mortgage rates will have to fork out thousands of pounds a year just to get to their jobs.

* The current rail network excludes the most populous edges of the city, yet serves middle class areas like Lisvane and Llanishen where the majority of residents have at least two cars. A rail link should be introduced from Ely to St Mellons & Pentwyn (via the city centre). This would allow working class people the option of leaving their car at home without depending on unreliable public buses.

* Cardiff Respect believes there should be no privatisation of Cardiff Bus. The decline of the railways serves as an example of the failure of the profit motive in transport. Less popular routes will be cut – cutting elderly and disabled people off from doctors, shops, post offices and other vital services.

* Free Public Transport: Cardiff should investigate the examples of European cities with completely free bus services. In the Belgian city of Hasselt, a local council has abolished bus-fares, leading to a 900% increase in public transport use and a spectacular decline in car use and congestion. This is a highly effective measure to tackle climate chaos, radically lowering the city's carbon footprint. It is also a key social justice reform: 1 in 3 people do not drive or own a car. It is the poor who have least access to decent transport. Free public transport helps those on low incomes fully participate in society.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Generally good proposals except the idea of a train-line from Ely.
Ely actually has some of the best bus provision in Cardiff while neighbouring estates such as Pentrebane and Fairwater are understarved.
A trainline for Ely could cause resentment from neighbouring estates that 'once again' Ely is getting resources from the Council. We should instead campaign for better bus provision for neighbouring areas to Ely.
Also, rather than building new railway lines, as a first step, we should campaign for existing railway lines and stations no longer in use to be re-opened.
We also need to have more development of policy on cycling.
In Amsterdam, quarter of journeys are by cycle.
In Stockholm, one-fifth.
In London, only 2%!!
Cities in Britain are not geared up to facilitate cycling - this needs to change.
We also need to push for radical town planning as a way to cut down journeys. Economic regeneration and job creation in the Valleys would cut out the need for workers to have to pour into Cardiff everyday, if their were local jobs!

Peace and Love,