please empty your brain below

Ah, a transport rant, my favourite. I would have said trains rather than buses though. Ones which go where you want to go, when you want to go there. And which don't cost, on average, four times as much as an equivalent length journey in most mainland European countries.

I like the 'fast lane' blog dg

Hitchhikers as well as blow-up dolls will become a valuable commodity up north...

I've been saying for a long time (CBAtofindalinktothelasttimeIsaidit) that a reliable scheme to enable motorists to safely pick up people wanting a lift somewhere should be thought about. As I travel around in my car (absolutely no choice - other than not going at all - where I live), I'd be more than happy to pick up people carrying lift-share scheme photoID, from designated pick-up points, and more than happy to have similar myself to show people I may stop for that I was a genuine lift-giving person.

OK, such a scheme is fraught with potential problems, but not impossible, especially in more rural areas.

Blue Witch, you are spot-on. A lift-share scheme sounds ideal.

And I'm with Alan too: more trains on a better network, please.

I'm also a bit cynical about (this particular) car-sharing: if it's only optional, surely no-one would bother to do it? Certainly not to save only eight minutes off one's journey, anyway.

But if, on the other hand, the government made it illegal for any vehicles with less than two occupants entering (for example) zones 1 & 2 of London (or another city centre) between 6-9am and 4-7pm, I would support that: we have - even with the Congestion Charge - far too much city commuter traffic and most of it could easily be replaced with a better public transport system IMHO.

I was sceptical until my Dad's office relocated - instead of 1 mile from home it became 65 miles away. He grouped together with 3 colleagues, and they now rotate the driving so they get a week each driving and 3 weeks extra work/sleep/chatting about the rugby.

Me on the other hand? I generally don't even know where I'll be working until 2 days beforehand, and even then the plan invariably changes. But I'm sure there are enough people out there who could carpool with a little thought - and I bet they'd enjoy a less stressful existence if they did.

Carpooling might work for some people and it might do a tiny bit to cut congestion, but you're spot on about the bus: public transport is the only way this country's congestion problem can be solved.

That takes more trains, new trams, more (and much better) buses, and most importantly, a single ticket for all of them along with reliable integration of services (like buses feeding into trains). I'm sure the government will realise this (possibly by looking at several mainland European countries where it works almost perfectly) as soon as they realise that all the schemes they waste their money on right now fail. Give it a decade or two...

1. Love the fastlane blog.

2. Public transport is fine if it's viable. When I say viable I mean having a system that doesn't require you to spend three hours each day, negotiating the system. Wait for a bus here, wait for a train there. There needs to be an understanding that whilst people will compromise to some degree the point where they think "bugger this" and head back to their car needs to be taken into consideration. I don't think a prescriptive method will solve this problem.

3. BW's idea is a good one, maybe we can use the new ID cards to run it... *ducks*

Another idea: Government to provide businesses with a tax-related incentives to provide pick-up/drop-off bus service to employees. For example: I work in Slough. There are at least 300 people in my office. At least 50 of them come from London. I'm sure it would be less damaging to environment and less congesting on the road if a little bus could plot an efficient route to pick us all up in the morning (as near as poss to our homes) and then drop us off in the evening. There would be a regular time to go to work and go home - and we would all be less stressed as a result - and we could all chat about work on the way to work or on the way home if we so wished.

Although spending £2.5m on a mile of new road may seem expensive, you'd be surprised how much bus lanes actually cost for some paint on the road! Particularly if bus priority is introduced at traffic lights and junctions.

Whilst I fully support public transport improvements for accessing urban centres... in some places it would be extremely difficult to provide appropriate public transport. The M25 for example has scattered residents and their employers across the south east in a manner that can't be undone, and the only way to solve the congestion problems for M25 users is the oh-so-unpopular road user charging.

Spot on as usual.
The concept of car-sharing is a great idea, but in our commercial world where people are asked - or even expected - to work late on a moment's notice, then it just won't work.
When I worked in London I did use the train to commute, but while I might have gone to work at the same time every day, my return journey could vary by as much as 5 hours (i.e. anywhere between 5 and 10pm) so a car-share would have been completely unfeasible.

Your photo is misleading-- that diamond lane is in San Francisco and denotes preference for mass transit (buses). The diamond lanes on the actual highways (M-class roads, some more A-class) do get regular use. As one who used to be a solo commuter for about 50 miles each direction a few years back, I can say that there were plenty of people in those lanes to envy.

But then, I'm about to leave the bay area for London...

Randy is right. That's a MUNI lane somewhere South of Market (maybe 7th / Howard or 2'nd / Brannan - its hard to tell from the nondescript buildings).

Commuter lanes only make sense when they are used as bus lanes. So the HOV lanes in Seattle actually increase peak carrying capacity because they are used by lots of buses whereas almost all Bay Area commuter lanes reduce carrying capacity at peak hours because they reduce the number of lanes by 20\\% - 25\\% without any real increase in bus traffic.

Most Bay Area Commuter lanes would be removed if it was a simple matter of traffic flows rather than politics.

My favorite is 101N through Marin county. 5 mins before the commuter lane kicks in at 3 p.m traffic is heavy but moving, 5 mins after the commuter lane kicks in traffic is stop and go - and the commuter lanes is almost empty...

I've said it before, you poms need Australians to run your country. You are doing a terrible job so far and in almost every respect you are heading backwards from once ruling the world to barely in the top ten. Before you reject my criticism, look around, hell in a handbasket is where England is going.

I think there should be a wheelbase or 'footprint' tax. The longer your wheelbase and so the more room you take up, the more tax you pay and voila you will have a London full of SMART cars and Kas taking up less room than those jokes of 4WDs. Extra bonus will be that you won't have people driving around in 4 litre gas guzzling 4WDs and then both the roads and the environment will win.
vote me for mayor, you know it makes sense.

ps: Is Uncle Hunty rhyming slang?

That's a good idea Mr BW.

Another thing which carshare lanes will fail to address is those aggravating big business types who have a chauffeur-driven vehicle who would qualify for free lane use, but whose gas-guzzling monster only has one working occupier.

Mr BW - some people use it that way, along with other charming variations. Billy Hunt. My little sister is called 'Mike' Hunt by some friends.

My email address is a remnant of a group of odd friends I had back home about 10 years ago, it is my paedophile name.

ooooh, my current pet hate topic, don't read what I wrote about that subject in my blog unless its after the watershed.

Here in Leeds we already have a car pool lane on one of the major routes into the city, it was reported last week that it was massively under used, probably for the reasons that you've stated, ie civil servants can't comprehend that not everyone travels to the same point of work every day at the same time of day, and then repeats the process in the evening - yes we all know civil servants do but out here in the real world ?

We were really suprised that Darling dared show his face up here yesterday after he shafted us on our supertram scheme last year - "Public transport ? No you can't have £300million for supertram but heres £2.5 million for some more paint on a few hundred yards of the M606, I'm off back to that London now"

Mr BW's point about a wheelbase tax is spot on.

Tax the polluting (rich) fuckers.

That is all.

I spent a year living in Los Angeles. The HOV lanes on the major limited access roads are well used there. And people actually plan ahead to carpool with somebody else to make use of the lanes (or just con somebody into tagging along if you have to pick a friend up at the airport during rush hour). It's not uncommon to save 25\\% of the time it'd normally take to get home.

On the other hand, you need at least some space to make it worthwhile. Turning one of three lanes into a limited use lane isn't helping the majority of your tax paying citizens get home at night. LA usually has three or four normal lanes to every HOV lane.

I live near Seattle, and the biggest arguement now going is whether the HOV lanes should be limited to two adults, rather than two people.

On one side you have the point that, after all, an adult driving with a two year-old baby is not reducing congestion as the two year-old obviously wouldn't be driving themselves to wherever they're going.

On the other side is the almost solid wall of suburban parents adamant about keeping this little benefit.

I really do not see the point in a small country like the United Kingdom where there is already a brilliant public transport system. In the US things are quite different. My father has been commuting to work(50 miles to and 50 miles home) for over 30 years. He has 3 other carpoolers he rotates with. Imagine the fuel cost he has saved over the years... 3/4 of what he would have spent! Ironically, he works in the petrolium industry!!!

A 'brilliant' public transport system? Where? London might have good links, and maybe major towns. My parents local bus system (Basingstoke; so I'm not talking in the wilds of nowhere) is atrocious and since that's their only option for travelling, things like hospital appointments have to be covered with us taking them by car.

loved the comment about the bus....pitch perfect! Long sentence. Short sentence. V effective

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