Ding ding!

I heard a really interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 on Monday evening that lifted the lid on the murky and frustrating world of British transport politics. You can listen again here for a few days.

It looked at the work of John Prescott‘s transport ministry in the late 1990s, which developed a ten-year transport plan for Britain called, inventively, ‘Transport 2010′. Those ten years have come and gone and 2010 has arrived, so how far did we come?

Not far enough, said the programme. Politics has a way of scuppering grand plans, and Prescott and others reckoned transport plans suffered more than most, as they’re easier (politically) to cut when the financial going gets tough.

One part of the plan was to make big investments in public transport, such as buses. As I don’t drive, I end up spending quite a lot of time on buses, whether they get invested in or not. I think it’s probably fair to say they’ve got better in London (where I live) over the last ten years. But never have I felt like this:

One way to pleasure - by motor-bus, 1921 (NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society)

'One way to pleasure - by motor-bus', 1921 (NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society)

I’ll leave you to think up your own response to that caption… I’ve got a bus to catch.

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