This got right up my nose this week: a Lancaster University lecturer has declared rich people should come first on matters of transport.
Law lecturer Richard Austen-Baker, who works at Lancaster University’s law school, took magazine Private Eye to task this week for “being taken in by the public transport lobby”, arguing in favour of abolishing bus lanes – a move Birmingham and Ealing councils are in the process of making.
In a letter to Private Eye Austen-Baker, perhaps reflecting the University’s continued lack of transport strategies, resulting in huge car use that helps to choke Lancaster’s one-way system in term time, argues that ”People… use public transport because they can’t afford private transport. On average, bus passengers who are employed at all (many are pensioners, students and schoolchildren or the unemployed) earn far less than car users.”
Clearly Austen-Baker thinks these people are second class citizens compared to car drivers, arguing “their time is less valuable to the economy. “It therefore makes no sense whatever to give them priority over people in cars.”
Austen-Baker obviously has it in for public transport, claiming arguments for it are based on “misrepresentations”. Perhaps he's been stuck behind a bus pumping out “horrible emissions in large doses once too often” once too often on his way to work during term time, obviously unable to notice that most of the traffic causing jams in Lancaster are his fellow lecturers and students driving to the University, despite the huge number of buses laid on by various privatised bus companies.
There’s only one “horrible emission” I can definitely see here — and it isn’t a bus.