UK Gov't Makes Driving Cheaper and Transit More Expensive
19 January 2016 - Autoblog
Well, here's some news that's sure to disturb green-transportation advocates everywhere, especially across the Pond. In the UK, driving a car has become progressively less expensive during the past few decades. Meanwhile, bus and train fares continue to rise steadily.
Thanks to government policies, the cost of driving a private vehicle in the UK has fallen about 14 percent since 1980, according to The Independent. Those figures factor in things like insurance and refueling costs. Meanwhile, fares for bus and train rides are up about 60 percent during the same time period. Sure, those red double-decker buses are all fine and good, but a 60-percent increase in prices to ride them? Member of parliament Caroline Lucas said that the government was acting irresponsibly because, "Fares are increasing much faster than wages."
Not all governments want to make it cheaper to drive. London, for example, imposes a congestion charge for drivers looking to take their vehicles into the central part of town, and those charges, which began in 2003, add up to about $300 million a year.
Additionally, it's not like UK fuel prices are cheap, especially compared to US gas prices that continue to stay relatively low. In fact, hundreds of motorists in 2011 protested the country's high gas prices by using their vehicles to block roads to the Stanlow Refinery in Cheshire, England.
As green-transportation advocates like to point out, whatever the costs of driving are, they don't factor in the price of externalities like, say, health issues brought about by pollution and traffic fatalities.