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Author Topic: (1 of 3) Our passenger community - learning from the past  (Read 1317 times)
grahame
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« on: March 26, 2020, 01:00:31 am »

(1 of 3) Our passenger community - learning from the past http://www.passenger.chat/23133
(2 of 3) Our passenger community - planning for the future http://www.passenger.chat/23134
(3 of 3) Our passenger community - partnering in protecting http://www.passenger.chat/23135

I look back nearly 60 years at the Beeching Report era, during which half of the rail network in the UK was closed, with some regret at certain closures in that era - either from the Beeching Report itself or from the overall sentiment at that time. 

I look back nearly 40 years at the Serpell Report, with options examined to halve (and more) what remained of the network; bearing in mind how passenger journeys have more than doubled since then, I thank goodness that the dramatic cuts suggested were not implemented.

I look back nearly 20 years at the latter days of the Strategic Rail Authority, with franchises being proposed and let based on slashed services and zero growth, the damage from which is evident in current rail problems; that spawned the likes of Campaign Against the New BEeching Report - "Canber" - our Lee being the maestro some 15 years ago and although little if any lines or stations were lost, it took years for some of us to get back even from a vestigial service to a merely poor one.

We are again in uncharted territory as I write. The UK and world is in lockdown as the Coronavirus spreads, and governments and people react to at least reduce the terrible death toll that's started and will almost inevitably get worse. People are - rightly - travelling only if they have to, isolating themselves for their protection and others, and as a result passenger volumes have dropped through the floor.  Service levels are being reduced without the usual notice periods or consultation - again, you cannot fault the logic at this time of cutting back to services needed by key workers, and in the process not exposing key workers in the transport industry to unnecessary risk.

I am an optimist. I believe the world will come through this and we will rebuild.  But it may be a very different world.

Other factors are at play. Our climate is changing too; less than a month ago, I stood, soaked but not cold, with thousands of others. A crowd showing their concern at the damage we are doing to our planet with our human activities, and the need to change our ways in a big way and in an uncomfortably short time to avoid us tipping our world over the edge - past the point of no return.

Almost 5 millions journeys a day were made by train last year, and around 12 million by bus. Many of those were by people travelling from their homes to places of work, places of education, or to shops, stores and other services.  And if the figure for public transport is around 17 million, it must surely exceed 100 million for journeys by private cars and private hire vehicles.  The last few days have shown many of us that there are alternatives to being transported back and forth - working, learning and selecting supplies from home, using technologies developed since Beeching, since Serpell, since the SRA now bring into question the very nature of travel.  And not only by rail.

Two more posts follow in this trilogy. They look at how we should help safeguard resources we'll need later on as we go down, and what and how we should rebuild from wherever we end up as we emerge from the depths of the pandemic.  What we want - what is best for our individual quality of life - in this brave new world.

(2 of 3) Our passenger community - planning for the future http://www.passenger.chat/23134
(3 of 3) Our passenger community - partnering in protecting http://www.passenger.chat/23135
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 01:09:53 am by grahame » Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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