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16

Independence and Public Transport

Is this heading an oxymoron or is it still possible to keep your independence without a motor car and by using public transport?

Do you remember the push for public transport? Do you remember that time when everyone was being encouraged to think green and get rid of their cars?

Well now all they speak of is building more roads and destroying whole areas where people live for runways for airplanes.

When did the government change tack?

What has happened to this country that it no longer sees public transport as a necessity?

It is because this country is now on a spend, spend, spend course with no thought for the future of those people it is herding into cars so that the petrol can be used as fast as it can be hauled out of the ground in foreign parts.

We are losing more and more small independent traders from our towns. Towns which are still accessible to those who choose not to drive a car. But these people are marginalized; they are discarded on the heap of those people who do not relentlessly fill up with petrol week in, week out.

These people who choose not to drive have been made the minority; and minorities in the society we have, based on the pursuit of life and even happiness through money and nothing else are the scrap heap.

Well I am a proud member of that scrap heap but when I go to a town which is accessible to me and everything I went there for is unavailable then I feel annoyed.

You see I am not a floating shopper. I do not go down a high street or into a supermarket or shopping centre without knowing exactly why I am there. I do not look at what is on offer and choose something I never intended to buy but I go with a little voice in my head telling me exactly what I am shopping for and everything else on offer is not what I want.

This makes life as we know it difficult. Difficult for me and even more difficult for the shops I visit for they do not have what I want to buy.

Yes I am called perverse, awkward, many things, but I have no intention of parting with my hard earned cash unless I need the thing I am buying.

Look at new out of town stores which offer everything at fantastic prices, who rely on people visiting them, making a dedicated journey to their doors, then open those doors and say, come in to Aladdin’s cave where we will show you all the jewels of the world, look around browse and walk out the door with whatever you wish, we are here to tempt you to buy, buy, buy. It makes no difference to us if you need the things or no as long as you part with your card at the door so we can bill you.

Look at hospitals, not in the easiest of places to get to. Try visiting someone in the evening, when the visiting hours are, without a car, impossible.

The very time you need public transport it fails you.

Try getting a bus to work if you start early, the public transport is just not there in many outlying places.

People have been cut off from places to shop, transport to visit the sick and transport to get to work unless they get a car.

There was a time when most children walked to their local school; then free choice of schools was brought in, but only if you have a car to get your children to the school of your choice and the chaos and congestion to the roads and areas around schools is well known.

Our public transport systems are being decimated and all for freedom of choice.

But who is the most trapped, who is the person with the freedom. Most people would say me, I have a car, I can get to those out of town shopping centres. I can get to the hospital for visiting; I can get to work early because I have a car.

Yes it is you who has to rely on public transport who is the fool, who is the one on the scrap heap.

Perverse I may be but I believe the person with the freedom is the person who refuses to use a car, who refuses to pay extortionate amounts of money, they can often not afford, for petrol and who sit in traffic jams every morning and afternoon so they can exercise their choice of schools.

So yes my heading is an oxymoron, public transport and independence, as most people understand independence, are the opposite ends of the scale today.

My argument is; are you really independent or are you being led down a path without even knowing it and only being given the independence to browse the store at a price, the price of a different sort of independence?




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