Professor David Begg is a man whom I admire very much, I have known him from my early days at what was then a fledgling First Group, he always struck me as a man who spoke sense and when he di speak it was with both passion and a good healthy dose of humor. So,three winning combinations, honesty, intelligence, and great delivery. He was on exceptional form at the recent UK Bus summit in London.
The thing is that David has produced a really good well-informed report that identifies congestion as the biggest single threat to the United Kingdoms Bus and Coach Industry, the reality is stark and simple, congestion is slowing down the time that average bus journeys take to get to their destinations. A good example is in Glasgow where over the last twenty years it now takes twice the time to make the journey than it used too. These are facts and they underpin the reality of operating buses in high density conurbations.
It is not exactly clear just what yet effect if any that the Bus Services Bill will have on the issue of congestion, on the positive it is all about making bus use more popular which is a good thing, and yes it does encourage good partnerships which has well proven to be a winning formula. However like the big fat elephant in the corner of the room, if no one actually takes steps to overcome the problem of congestion and other social issues like increased home deliveries and the changing face of Britain’s shopping habits then Davids prophecy might come true sooner rather than later.
This is an issue that we should collectively be looking to solve and maybe it is time that all the interested parties gathered and began to lobby long and hard after all, there is a great emphasis these days on local partnerships, maybe this is where we are best located to change public and political opinion about why the bus needs help and what actions are needed to make this happen.