Part of looking after our environment and having a dynamic economy is having a well-functioning public transport system. There must be no more private profit at public expense on our railways. When assessing rail performance, overcrowding and affordability should be taken into proper consideration. Ticket pricing needs to be transparent, easy to understand, and work between different forms of transport.
We can get Britain moving.
Rail privatisation has made a mess of rail provision in the UK. Ticket prices are on the rise, and seats are in short supply. Rail is more highly subsidised now that it was prior to privatisation - since 1985, rail subsidies have increased five-fold in real terms. Profits are increasingly funnelled out of the country via contracts with international providers.
We would renationalise the railways; we would do this gradually; as contracts expired, provision for each area would be renationalised.
The UK is far too reliant on fossil fuels, and a big part of this is our reliance on motor vehicles; if we can reduce our use of motor vehicles, it will be beneficial to all. We believe that the benefits of all modes of active transport are poorly recognised in the UK at present. Using active modes of transport such as walking or cycling for local journeys reduces the amount of traffic clogging the roads, creating shorter journey times for drivers, better health for the nation and cleaner air for everyone.
We believe in the health benefits to the extent that we would consider promotion of active transport to be a health issue; cycling promotion is currently fragmented, and split between Department of Transport and NHS budgets; we would move all such funding into the scope of a single NHS project. This would result in a net saving to the NHS, since obesity, heart disease, and other inactivity-related illnesses would be significantly reduced as a result. The NHS is therefore invested in successful promotion, via a positive feedback loop.
The biggest barrier to cycling in the UK is the poor state of the infrastructure. This is a result of two main factors:
- Lack of funding, resulting in dangerous compromises and conflicts with other road users
- Lack of a coherent, standardised design handbook, resulting in ad hoc design choices by inexperienced road designers
A national design handbook would put an end to the haphazard, compromise-ridden infrastructure that we see every day. We would adopt the "Making Space for Cycling" handbook proposed by Cambridge Cycle Campaign to ensure that any infrastructure created is coherent and safe, while ensuring smooth, fast and direct journeys for cyclists.
We would pay for this by committing a transport budget of £20/person per year. This is double what the Netherlands spend to develop and maintain their world-leading infrastructure - but the UK is playing catch-up. Safeguards would be put in place to ensure this money is only spent on infrastructure that primarily benefits cyclists.
The overall success of this effort would be evaluated after five years, and the budget adjusted accordingly. We would consider a reasonable target is to increase cycling modal share in all major cities to 5% by 2020, and to 10% by 2025.
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