Rapid responses

Commuting reality

[Re: Further efficiencies are critical to making London’s railways thrive, yesterday]

The current proposals for rail improvements are distinctly short sighted. Britain’s railways were built in Victorian times to take travellers from one city centre to another. But this no longer reflects the travel pattern of today’s rail users. The figures reveal a lot. Most commuters to our cities, in fact most of those travelling by rail, start their journeys in the suburbs or commuter-belt towns. What’s needed is more park-and-ride style stations, built next to motorways. It would also help if they had adequate low-cost parking. Where this isn’t possible, other forms of transport – so-called people-mover systems – should be improved to better link the motorways to city stations. A good place to start would be to link junction 12 of the M4 to Reading Station, which is a major interconnect to the West Coast line, London and elsewhere. Many airports around the world have already successfully implemented such projects, and San Francisco is currently implementing its second people mover system within the Bay Area rapid transit system. At its heart, the rail authorities need to start considering travellers’ total journey more actively, rather than just focusing on the rail portion. Rail is not in competition with road travel. They’re both components of a customer’s complete journey.

Mike Wines

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