From: Elizabeth Jones, Stonefield Road, Hastings
Although some motorists must be driving less than before because of the climate emergency, I see no sign that congestion is getting less bad and I think it’s probably getting worse. As congestion gets worse and worse, buses become more and more slow, unreliable and expensive. The number 28 bus now runs every 70 minutes because it ran very late when it was supposed to run every hour.
In 1971, I began to hear about environmental issues. At that time, some people were very worried about the possible consequences of excessive consumption, although global warming might not have been known about until later.
In 1972, someone called Paul wrote to a local paper in Essex and said he wanted to form a free transport association. I wrote and said I would like to join. A free transport association was not formed because only one other person wrote to Paul and asked to join.
Now there is a climate emergency and we keep hearing very bad things about extreme weather and melting ice. Air pollution, most of which comes from traffic, probably contributes to about 40,000 premature deaths annually. It causes cancer, strokes, heart attacks, male infertility and dementia. It causes or aggravates lung disease and the UK has one of the worst rates of death from asthma in Europe. It stunts children’s lung growth and causes their lung function to be lower than it would otherwise be. It adversely affects fetal growth and causes low birth weight and birth defects. There is no safe limit for air pollution. Quite a few doctors have gone off sick because of mental health problems caused by overwork and if nothing much is done to reduce air pollution, doctors will have even more work than they have now.
We really need free buses for everyone to prevent illness and reduce carbon emissions. We at least need very big bus fare subsidies, bus passes for many more people, bus lanes and other measures to get people to use public transport instead of cars.
It would cost billions of pounds to subsidise bus fares and reduce them by 3/4 but there would be big savings for the NHS and the DWP and the economy would grow faster than it will if congestion continues to get worse and worse.