April 28, 2016

Want to get to grips with gridlock? Charge commuters

Posted in Irish Independent · 85 comments ·
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One of the less-celebrated joys of working for yourself is not having to do the daily commute. This daily grind can be a true purgatory. Not having to do it is a much under-estimated luxury, which is only truly understood when you are stuck in a traffic jam, infuriated and anxious.

Yesterday, I was in a taxi heading to Heuston Station to get the 9am train to Cork and I experienced the sad reality of the clogged N11 at 8am. As the taxi whizzed up the bus lane, bracketed by buses moving equally swiftly, we passed thousands of motorists stuck in the jam.

They do this every morning, and they choose to do it.

But more worrying for the city is the fact that traffic congestion is back up to boom-time levels. All you have to do is listen to the remarkable Dublin City FM either in the morning or the evening to get a sense of the chaos on the capital’s roads.

We hear similar reports on national radio about debilitating tailbacks in Cork, Galway and Limerick.

This will get worse because car sales are rocketing and the more cars on the same roads, mean less space for all of us.

Traffic poses huge costs on the economy in terms of the enormous amount of time wasted in traffic, the massive amount of our disposable income spent on petrol and, obviously, road building and road repairs, not to mention the cash forked out on cars themselves.

We tend to think of traffic as a fact of life, like taxes.

But it’s not a fact of life; or at least it doesn’t have to be.

But before we talk about potential logical, economics-based solutions, let’s examine why traffic is so insidious. At the core of macroeconomics is this counter-intuitive idea that what is good for the individual is not always good for the collective.

When I jump in my car because I couldn’t be bothered getting the bus, I feel more comfortable initially, but my action adds a tiny bit to the traffic problem.

So when you add up all the people like me who choose the car over public transport or car-pooling, we all make sure that together we make the outcome worse for all of us. But we can’t see that or cost that when we make the decision to drive.

So had I decided to drive to Heuston and added one more car to the sheer weight of traffic, I would probably have added fractionally to the misery of my fellow drivers by adding a few extra seconds to their individual commutes. When you add all this up, the total cost of the misery is significant.

However, like lots of things in economics, we can never really assess the overall impact of our individual decisions, so we don’t worry about them too much.

So how do you solve it?

At the heart of the problem is that everyone wants to use the road from 7am to 10am and then again in the afternoon at rush hour to come home. Apart from that, the roads are relatively empty.

It’s a space problem. At rush hour, road space is too cheap so there is no reason not to drive. So make it more expensive when everyone wants it, and cheap when everyone doesn’t.

So the economist would say it’s an incentive problem. Charge the punters who choose to drive and we might make some progress. Given that we can do almost anything now with automatic tolls such as the M50, we could just charge the people who choose to drive alone, taking up space.

You could add it to their phone bill, for example. If the charge was steep enough, only die-hard rush-hour commuters would choose to drive in the most expensive times. This should free up the road for car-pooling or buses or the Luas or whatever more efficient method there is.

But there would be howls from the car lobby suggesting that the driver is already crippled with taxes and now here’s another one. This is an understandable view, and one that’s hard to argue with even though you are simply protecting drivers from themselves.

Those who choose to pay the tax are rewarded with much swifter and enjoyable commutes to work, less fuel bills and less time wasted in the car.

But we could go one further. Maybe we could introduce choice into the game so it isn’t seen as an exercise in crime and punishment.

Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, discussed this notion many years ago. He compared roads to houses with views of the sea. Take, for example, the view of Dublin Bay: it is restricted because there are only so many properties that can have this view, so they are more expensive to reflect the fact that people want to wake up looking at the sea.

The problem with the roads is that there are no higher prices on the road to reflect when demand to use them is high.

What about creating ‘rush hour coupons’ and include them in the price of every car sold in the Dublin area? Each coupon would be worth, let’s say, a tenner. Then people who take the bus and leave their car at home could trade the coupons for cash.

They could then be rewarded for their ‘good’ collective behaviour. In contrast, people who still wanted to drive would have to buy the coupon and they would pay for the pleasure, but they would get the uncluttered commute.

The people who don’t use the car can use the cash for whatever they want.

Could this work? Of course it could.

The more you use, the more you pay. We could save huge sums due to the cost of traffic and maybe we have a few more chilled people coming into work first thing in the morning who haven’t suffered from a bout of road rage.

That can’t be a bad thing, surely?

 


  1. Late start lads, early bird catches the worm.

    Morning, 7.27am here, 27 degrees C in the shade.

    Subscribe!

  2. Mike Marketing

    A car is a very personal space that can be accessed at any time 24 hours a day, every day.

    This super convenience and flexibility is most difficult for Public Transport to compete with.

    However, they must try.

    The long term solution perhaps is private helicopters?

    In time that would breed its own congestion and dangers.

    Perhaps David’s suggestion is the right one and leave the citizen to choose the solution that best suits them, even though expensive.

  3. Danny

    Is this and different to the congestion charge in London?
    It keeps the roads available for the elite.

  4. Great article David – thought provoking and progressive.

    This is gridlock – Antigua Style.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OC4sef9964

    Check the guy at the end of the short video – in the yellow t-shirt.

    ‘Oh mon, it’s total gridlock!’.

    On a more serious note, I would NEVER ‘commute’ (that’s the sanitized word) to a job.

    Wasting the one and only life I have away for hours a day so I can sell my labour at a massive loss to make money for some other arsehole?!

    Forget that!

    People are mad – life is too short for that sort of carry on.

    • “This should free up the road for car-pooling or buses or the Luas or whatever more efficient method there is.”

      They can free it up for buses and the Luas all they want – I won’t be taking them either!

      • Adelaide

        “People are mad – life is too short for that sort of carry on.”

        And before they toil through the choking roads they must first scurry in the morning darkness to offload their distressed children with perfect strangers at a holding pen called a ‘creche’.

        They run back to the car, panicking they’ll be late at commencing the rest of their day with other perfect strangers in a sick building called an ‘office’.

        Then upon their arrival there, they are confined for the next 8-10 hours in an artificial environment, wasting their enslaved hours at the “contrived fabrication” of the “private monetary model” they call ‘work’.

        Then they are released from their ‘job’ and then it’s back to panicking through the same choking roads to be back on time for their estranged children.

        And repeat this for 48 weeks of the year.

        People choose this way of existence and they should be utterly profoundly ashamed of themselves for the choice they have made. This is the dereliction of life itself. Shame on them.

  5. Onda

    In Dublin the issue is poor transport planning within the Dublin area, unless a journey a straight into and out of town on the same route is very difficult to use public transport to get around Dublin. In addition transport planning appears to focus on getting commuters in and out from the extended commuter belt and not facilitating journeys to several parts of the city ie. Try getting to four industrial estates around the city by public transport in a day.
    Until somebody bites the bullet and creates a real comprehensive transport plan which includes a sensible well planned underground system built over a 10 to 20 year time frame the problem will only get worse. Also any form of charging for road space only benefits those who can afford to pay the charges.

    • Sideshow Bob

      No, the key problem is density.

      The whole footprint of Berlin, with a 4 million population and loads of green space and not a lot of buildings over 6 storeys, fits entirely inside the M50. We can’t fit one million people in this space. You can’t provide for economic efficient movement of large amount of people with this lack of density and sparsity of settlement.

      Add that to that the morons in charge of Dublin Bus and you have an even bigger problem.

  6. Sideshow Bob

    This approach attacks the symptom and not the disease, and would be if implemented be simply another form of taxation on many the people who have no choice but to use a car and cannot evade the charge.

    The disease is a history of poor urban and spatial planning, allied with a cultural mentality that can’t see past an agrarian past and consequentially has deeply ingrained prejudices against many of the basics concessions required to make a modern successfully functioning city. I mean, we all know and enjoy them when we visit them; take Berlin for example, or Amsterdam. Amsterdam has 60% social and affordable housing in the middle of it, too and is not lacking for it. I think that after visiting places like these we find ourselves asking ourselves now why can’t we have this quality of urban environment back home? After all we are as rich as any most developed nations and we are well-traveled and well educated as a populace. Unfortunately the answer to this question for me is very simple; it is ourselves.

    It may well be that attacking the symptom is all we can do, because the horse has well and truly bolted on significant change to urban living in Ireland. By significant change by that I mean by that non-superficial change. Right now just getting going again with enough basic housing will be a challenge for us as a nation.

    As far as I can see, we had our big chance and we blew it. Ireland’s present and not very varied urban paradigms, complete with their inherent problems of travel inefficiency and traffic congestion, are largely irreversible for a good number generations to come. And this is at the very least, if ever.

  7. jpuddleduck

    public transport needs to be improved before you charge more for using your car. I’m not anti public transport, I happily used it in London and despise using it in Dublin. There are numerous problems, it’s not frequent enough, bus timetables are irrelevant, journeys take too long, for some odd reason there are no maps on the bus stops leading people to guess where the bus will stop between harolds cross and the city centre. Also the bus drivers are possibly the most miserable people on the planet who will purposely go out of their way not to accomodate people. Driving off quickly for example when someone is running to the stop.

  8. dwalsh

    Most people do not chose to commute at dawn and dusk David; they are obliged to by the socio-economic system we all live in.
    Personally I think the taxation or tolling solution is just another layer of regressive finance capital economics.
    The solutions to serious social issues lie beyond the realm and ken of finance capital…which always seeks a solution that involves enriching itself.

    • Sideshow Bob

      It is“rentier´´ economics, as Max Keiser often pounds on about on his show…the masses are trapped and simply have no choice but to pay up and so are an easy target for this class of financial vampire.

      Worst thing is usually the quality of what you get in return for this screwing over is so poor.

  9. Paul Williams

    David,

    Try catching the 145 to Heuston(or town as I do every morning) between 7 and 10am at Cabinteely on N11. We actually need a functioning public transport system before we start imposing penalties on people for not using it.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      Dear Paul,

      I fully agree with you and I bet you that David, amiable as he is, has very little experience with Dublin Bus and probably none in the post-work rushhours. It’s not enough to take a bus from Dalkey on Sunday, David, to see what kind of a monster in the shape of DB we have created (having said that, they have vastly improved for the last 5 years from criminal to ridiculously innefficient on most, though not all (Xpresso, 185, 46A, 747 and 16A are spot on) lines).

      Unlike Dave, I have vast experience with both public transport and motorways (I have something to say about driving habits on motorways and how one imbecile person can sometimes block them for a 1,000, but I will refrain myself).

      And this what I want to say.

      There is no point of charging drivers extra taxes (I thought you were against squeezing the middle class, David) if we are stuck with a badly managed public transport system – by far the most inefficient in Europe, apart from super-efficient Luas (though why one of the richest countries in Europe has 2 tram lines and comparable in size Warsaw has over 40 is beyond me).

      And we are stuck with this structure because it is not run in the interest of the commuters, it is run by trade unions and for trade unions.

      And here I come back to Paul Williams. 145 is a brilliant example of this racketeering.

      Originally the line 145 covers was covered by 4 different lines no less. Then it came the recession and instead of reducing pay of the drivers (are DB drivers really worth TWICE as much as the legal secretary with 2 languages?), they took off the other 3 lines. But this was not because we do not have enough buses in Dublin – like the Soviet collaborator Mr Eamon Gilmore tried to convince us – no, the other 3 lines are still running, but half-empty, to destinations covered by DART anyway. The reason? Well, the reason is always the same: less work for more money.

      So we are left stuck with just 1 line from Bray to Dublin. But if that is not bad enough, this line is also the only line that serves all the students coming back from beyond the pale counties back to UCD, for which pleasure they are charged with fees so that the likes of Mr Higgins can earn 140,000 euro for talking about capitalism, which they are not qualified to.

      So according to David, all people should be taking this 145 bus. Well guess what, 145 comes already full from train station and you usually cannot board it on Sunday evening.

      Another thing, anyone working for BOI or Dell and using that line knows that even this 1 line DB operates, they nearly always do a changeover on Stillorgan Road, forcing passengers to switch buses. As a result, 3 buses are leaving Dublin, but only 1 reaching Bray.

      Why?
      So that they can go to depot, sit in a canteen, yap and laugh.

      How do I know?
      Because I knew a person who worked for DB; besides, I lived near the DB terminal and saw how often a fully normal bus would arrive at terminal and put “out of service” sign (Labour Does Not Work would be more apt).

      Now, the second example. Supposing you work at UCD and live in D6w (which is what I did). David says you should use the bus; except for reasons I have just pointed out you cannot go west-east in Dublin; you can only go north-south.

      Yes, there is a bus 17 that goes to UCD from Terenure, but it was last seen before Easter Rising and you need to take 16 to get (btw, 16A is one of the most reliable lines in Dublin because they cannot do the changerover trick).

      So you have to go to town first and then take 10; to be at work for 9am, you have to be at the bus stop at 6.30am.

      And there is the price.
      If we take the euro per km price, then DB operates the most expensive service in the world (they have to, if they are paid twice the legal secretary and twice what bus drivers in Brussels get).

      Even when the oil prices have plummetted, their prices have been rising.

      SOLUTIONS.

      1. Abolish the legal monopoly (I have pointed out to legal act before, I do not have time to repeat it, not for free anyway)
      2. Link bus tickets to oil prices (why is the annual DB ticket 5 times the one in Vienna?)
      3. Abolish cash payment on DB.
      Let DB inspectors travel and freeze on bus stops like other passengers. If they stand in a rain for an hour (I was even standing for two hours one Sunday evening, as 3 previous buses were full).
      This will -
      3.1. Speed up the process of travelling
      3.2 Make sure the buses do not do the changeover trick as no inspector would stand for an hour.
      3.3. Make the life of a driver easier – driving through city centre is unbelievably stressful for a driver and he/she does not need an extra stress of operating cash and answering stupid questions.
      3.4 Deco once proposed very good solutions on this blog; as far as why DB does not go via motorway (one does), see the Stillorgan change-over trick.

      As far as the rest is concerned, I am afraid that a very serious limitations is the one emphasised by Sideshow Bob:

      “No, the key problem is density.
      The whole footprint of Berlin, with a 4 million population and loads of green space and not a lot of buildings over 6 storeys, fits entirely inside the M50. We can’t fit one million people in this space. You can’t provide for economic efficient movement of large amount of people with this lack of density and sparsity of settlement.”

      How well said – pity this comment did not go first. It should be repeated over and over again; sadly, there is nothing we can do with it at the moment as what Bob is talking about is a strategic thinking and 30 years planning, and the problem with politics in this country is that most TDs think they are smart asses because they can come up with some tacticts that will win them elections in up to 4 years time – notice how little of the FF-FG bones of contentions was about strategy – strategy was not discussed at all.

      Sadly when there was still a chance to do something about the low density (so pre-Bertie), every time I was saying it I was met with the response like “oh, you do not understand that this is not in the Irish/British culture to have skyscrapers”.

      And trade unions, bankers and politicians are the culprits, as – did you forget that, dear people? – EVERY MAJOR NDP DECISION HAD TO BE APPROVED BY THE UNHOLY TRINITY (banksters being the most important piece of the jigsaw, in case someone misreads what I said and says I blame trade unions for ALL OF IT – no, trade unions could not have done it without banksters and Keynesian framework of stimulating growth by spending, which spending – now since manufacturing has left every European country bar Germany and France and there are no real savings – has to be stimulated by debt).

      P.S. I do not have time to do any proofreading, I am sorry – I have commented because I wanted to back up Paul and Deco (Deco with his solutions in the previous comment).

      • Sideshow Bob

        the Guardian had an article on the re-building of Warsaw recently though it didn´t mention tram lines or many considerations outside of the theme mentioned in the headline.

        http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/apr/22/story-cities-warsaw-rebuilt-18th-century-paintings

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          Wow, that’s a really in depth article by “The Guardian”!

          I remember we were taught about Canaletto at primary schools and his paintings of Warsaw are probably the most reproduced paintings of Warsaw in Poland (though my favourite would be Picasso’s drawing of the symbol of Warsaw – Syrenka (Little Mermaid):

          http://edusens.blogspot.ie/2012/07/jak-pablo-picasso-ruchem-reki-zniszczy.html

          Picasso, in a moment of madness, went to someone’s council flat and painted a 1.8m x 1.7x Syrenka inside someone’s flat. This was filmed. Then some people from council flats administration forced their way into the flat of a happy inhabitant and whited it out, as it was against some Communist laws to interfere with council’s flats that way (of course, this was not as severe a death penalty for slauhgtering a pig or cutting a tree illegally the Germans introduced around 1943, but certainly more irrational).

          As to Warsaw’s public system, it has 39 normal lines, 9 lines which are operated at certain days only, 9 spare lines which are operated if the other lines are in repair and a Cx line, which only goes to and from cemetaries on All Saints Day.

          It also has quite a few bus lines (I do not remember how many – last time I went to Warsaw I was invited by… a Dublin man to take part in the Independence March, who actually brought me to the Warsaw Rising Museum, where they have that 3D animation – I would not have found the way easily) and the hybrid buses which operate their (they are produced by a small private company Solaris, from Lem’s book by that title) are also sold to other cities, like London for example.

          It also has an underground, which was born slowly and in pains, and worryngly, had recently some US special brigade doing some exercises in its vinicity, with chemical equipment they brought with themselves (some western special forces can bring it in uncontrolled based on a new law, and STASI could operate in Poland independently based on the law Gen. Jaruzelski has signed in 1981, the results of which are seen in the journalism of Gazeta Wyborcza).

          The amazing thing about that transport system is that if you arrive in Warsaw by Aerlingus, you can actually go all the way down to Krakow being covered by the roof over your head at all times, including leaving the plane and the airport!

          But the inner city Warsaw is not very pleasant to walk; not that it is dodgy – you just ask yourself where the places to eat are and it’s an eclectic mixture of very ugly and 21st century, the ugly comprising of 80pc of the city substance, including the confusing railway station; the only pleasant places are the Old Town, Wilanow and Zelazowa Wola (Chopin’s birth place, which my friend from Dublin descibed as the most tranquill city place he has ever been – he also said that he felt much safer walking at night in Warsaw than in Dublin, but although I would agree with him and add that Krakow is safer still, I would not say that about small Polish towns – Irish towns like Tullow where I also lived are safer).

          The best Polish city to visit is by far Krakow – it’s also a place where many people from Israel and continental Europe now move in; I knew people from Canada (a writer), Denmark, England and Japan who had lived there for more than 10 years.

          Coming back to public transport, I think that the key to Warsaw is competition. Even though the main companies operating there are city-owned, they operate in a more competitive environment than in Dublin.
          Same in Krakow; lots of small private minibuses dropping people to work, apart from city transport; they are unbothered stopping at City companies stops (try to do it with DB – they would even go after company as big as Aircoach, let alone Joe Blog).

          Where there is no competition, like in the whole Silesia region, where state-owned companies have legal situation similar to DB, transport is twice as expensive as in Warsaw and the buses are freezing and 40 years old, though they still arrive on time no matter if it’s -20 (but they do not have this cash nonsense – this makes a journey smoother; instead, they have inspectors very often, who also control if the buses are on time).

          Of course, when it comes to strict Dublin city centre, I think that sooner or later metro is the only option – it’s the streets and its layout.

          I lived in D6W and the journey to TCD would take 1 hour in the morning (of course I could walk, except that I had to go another hour to UCD and then stand for a few hours).

          Bus lanes are not the solution, because one cannot run a bus lane through George’s St.

          Now, how is this Metro going to work I do not know, because building it would mean the city would be paralysed for another 30 years.

          But this is a better idea than David’s idea of another tax for driver (what, with the insurance cost in Ireland? I mean it’s 200 euro per annum in Poland, so how can it be up to 2,000…).

          Of course, all of this is part of a bigger picture (zero-interest rates that lead to a rentier economy – btw, my landlord paniced I am going to put us on a census form as he is not declaring his income from renting, so he physically… has stolen the form and spend all Sunday hanging out looking for census person, scared we would tell him/her he is renting out the house).

          Btw, you probably know that the Irish Catholic organisation built a hospital in post-WWII Warsaw from collections in Irish churches, I think this was the only help that Poland got from the West after WWII as the British demanded Poland pays money for… the equipment Polish pilots used in RAF defending England (No. 303 (Polish) Squadron, the highest-scoring Allied unit), Poland was forced to reject the Marshall Plan and to waive on any rights to war reparations from Germany (thought it is now disputed whether this was legal – Germany claims it was, Poland and UNESCO in New York that it was not – we are talkingn about a figure of nearly a trillion euro).

          Less known is the fact that arguably the most famous Polish politician of the 20th century, was of a half-Irish decent (from a fine Irish family, the house of Butler – one of them emigrated to Poland in 19th century).

          This is so little known that I once went to the Irish-Polish society and neither 2 other Poles nor any Irish scholar present there knew it (one of them spoke Polish and translated a book from Polish of a baroque poet of whom… I have not heard of:

          https://acmrs.org/publications/catalog/anna-stanislawska-orphan-girl).

          I won’t be putting such long posts all the time, but I thought perhaps it’s worth to share all that information

        • Sideshow Bob

          Hi Grzegorz. Thanks for the information. Warsaw sounds a lot like like Prague, which I have visited. I was curious about the transport dimension as this wasn´t mentioned. When various parts of Dublin were rebuilt (or built new) in the sixties and once again in the ninties on allowances for efficient transport systems from to and through played a minimal role. Just at Clongriffin and Adamstown in the main, both of which suffered with the crash because the development envisaged and planned for only half occured in the end.

          You made a lot of comments above on metros and bus lanes and DB and I agree in the main. And there are many other practical suggestions that could be made too, there is no shortage of examples of transport inefficiency in Dublin!

          One thing that Dublin needs, as a priority for me at least, is to establish a hierarchy in it´s urban transport and actively support that with law, policies and funding. Pick a suitable and efficeint way to get around as the alpha method and make it king. Prague has it with it´s trams, or Amsterdam with it´s bicycles. In both situations they have legal protection on the road, i.e. i if there is an accident is never the tram or bicycle rider that is at fault, no matter what happened (within reason). Then you develop that method of transport giving it priority and dovetail every other form of transport around it, with a clear descending sequence down to the least efficient and least preferable type. Things then flow automatically. In Ireland all forms of transport, and consequently their users, are locked in a constant battle with each other with little in the way of ground rules. Sort of a divide-and-conquer situation but transport style!

          • Sideshow Bob

            Rephrasing required. 1st paragraph

            “When various parts of Dublin were rebuilt (or newly built) in the sixties and then, once again in the ninties and noughties conservation and diluted garden city design dominated the agenda. Serious thinking about, and actual allowances for efficient transport systems be it from, to, and through, played a minimal role in any any executed work.´´

            Sorry!

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            But this is why I was so saddened when David, whose influence is not small (i.e.,lots of TDs might be reading his column), came up with his tax hike proposal. Ideas have consequences, and in my opinion in the future David should be more careful what he proposes as this may be used by policy makers and all the lobbies that are behind them.

            Just imagine – this is only a thought eperiment – that, say in a year time, the minority government is at the verge of collapse and the main opposition party notices that FG ratings are plummeting, theirs are rising and the hour is propitious to call for the second election, or to form their own minority government.

            Now, imagine that one of the smaller parties, say Greens, makes only one condition: impose congestion tax on driving in Dublin city centre.

            And they try to support it by saying: “there is something similar in London, and many economist propose it, for example David McWilliams”.
            And some TDs think “David McWillams? This must be a good idea then”.

            They won’t go into details like whether you can actually get 145, the monopoly or your point about urban density.

            So one has to be careful when one proposes something so specific, as this may the straw that broke the camel’s back for some commuters.

            Who knows, perhaps this article may be used by DB himself, whose representative was on the radio with the Aircoach representative one day, and explained their ticket price hikes when the prices of oil went down by 2/3 by saying “we are not getting enough subsidy”, to which the Aircoach representative noticed that with the money they charge with low oil prices their profits should be so huge that they should not be getting any subsidy.

            To that the DB rep had the audacity to say that Aircoach does not have wheelchair access, while DB had, so DB should be getting subsidy as they are provide services DB are not providing.

            Now he can say, “here is a great piece by Maccer. He proposes let’s impose a new tax on lazy Dubs who use cars instead of DB, and I say use the tax money to give more subsidy to DB, so that we can run more buses” (like I said, DB has the same number of buses to Bray post-recession that they had in Celtic Tiger, the but they use 3 other lines – that in the past were going to Dublin – to go to place where no one goes anyway or they go by DART; but they justify reducing their Dublin-Bray lines by 75% by the recession – using the same drivers that used to go to Dublin, though if you look at their payroll, there has not been any recession there).

            I wonder if anyone remembers general secretary Liam Tobin (NBRU). His name has left an indelible mark in mind because he called plans to abolish DB monopoly “inappropriate head-to-head competition”.

            He threatened with a strike if the government would review the 1932 Transport Act.

            Incredibly, DB lobbying goes as far as sponsoring academic research, that DB reps then memorise and quote in the media.

            In his 2002 paper Steer Davies argues against introducing the, as DB calls it, “inappropriate competition”, though he admits that this would lower fares
            overall and increased frequency (by the salaries would go down – poor chaps).

            But not all research is sponsored by DB, so we can read in the comprehensive study done by Barrett that:

            ‘Competition on Dublin-Belfast increased frequency from 7 to 39 services per day in each direction and reduced the fare from €19 to €12. Competition between Dublin and Cork reduced the fare from €20.50 to €7 and frequency increased from 6 to 14’ (Barrett, 2008, p.595).

            And this is an across-parties policy, including Minister Varadkar; it cannot be blamed only on Fianna Fáil as the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 has further increased Dublin Bus exclusive right to provide its services (DB would surely point out to me that This legislation does require that all new licences for state-sponsored routes are put out to tender, but this provision has yet to be put into practice as demonstrated when DB was recently unchallenged in changing its No. 63 service to operate a new route between Dún Laoghaire and Kilternan).

            Even a better example was a lobbying case which even Justice McMahon described as the government ignoring their own guidelines.

            In that case, the Department of Transport by-passed their own Minister (the 1958 Transport Act requires that ministerial consent is obtained when a state-sponsored service provider wishes to initiate or alter an existing passenger road service which competes with another licensed service).

            Like in my favourite sitcome “Yes, Minister”, they (the Department of Transport) have found that no competition existed on the
            route in question, despite the fact the two companies operated an almost identical route (just in case someone wants to sue me, I am not suggesting that there was or there was not any corruption going on between the Department and the Dublin Bus lobby at the time).

            Last but not least, I am not suggesting that privatision of Dublin Bus is the only solution for the Big Smoke.

            First of all, there is the density problem.
            Secondly, there is the legislation problem (restrictions on the height of the buildings).
            Thirdly, there is the monopoly problem and the lobbying problem.
            Privatisation must be preceeded by breaking down the monopoly.
            Fourthly, there is the housing bubble problem, pushing people further and further from the city (to the applause of banks and trade unions – what did Jack “Hit The Road” O’Connor said on the eve of the housing crash? – “we need more construction” (referring to houses for 500,000 in Longford in a place with no shops or a playground).
            Fifthly, there is the problem how the Metro can be done.
            I have no clue.
            The Chinese built an entire city the size of Dublin, with the underground, in 2 years (but they have much less regulation and this was before their housing bubble); the second line of the Warsaw metro was built in 5 years, even though this was done during the most corrupt, surveilling and law breaking government the post-1989 Poland ever had, the Civil Platform government of the now EU President, Mr Donald Tusk (who has made his career sponsored directly by German foundations); how would long would take building metro in Dublin? – I do not know.

            And I do not what is worse – not to have a metro in a city as large as Dublin (98% of ever-criticising Poles are satisfied with Metro, which is the biggest support ever for anything) or have a few decades of building a metro in Dublin.

            All I know that taxing a drivers, some of whom pay 2,000 insurance for a 1,000 euro worth cars, IS NOT THE SOLUTION.

          • Sideshow Bob

            Your knowledge is very in depth there!

            You are hitting the nail on the head there in pointing at the unions and their many layers of rent seeking behaviour which is all disguised as ” socialism” as a very large part of the problem.

            I agree about D McWilliams voice too, that it is of national significance and I wish he would take more care at times. I think he could employ a few people as researchers to work with. He has the writing skills the communication skill, outsource some of the hard hours of research and make his work more collaborative. He repeats himself quite a lot. He earns quite a bit through this, I think he could do it. I do admire his open minded fostering of debate regardless of many things that are said here. He is quite tolerant!

            You ask about a building a metro and you point to various countries as examples at different ends of a spectrum. I have some experience with this. I won’t go into it all. The answer for me is that where is a will there is a way. In Ireland we have insufficient will more than anything to attack the issues. For me they would be (and in descending order of importance); land law, governance at a national level ( overarching procurement ), form of contract, basic cost of labour involved ground level co-ordination, and finally the conservation lobby.

            Without most of this a metro is out of the question. Won’t happen, can’t happen. Whichever you like.

    • Fair point Paul, but we have to start this conversation. D

      • McCawber

        Very true but did you have to hand “them” a loaded gun.
        “Respected economist recommends charges to eliminate road traffic chaos.”
        That David is the easy way out for them and probably the first thing they think of.
        How can we screw the punter for a few more bob.
        NOT impressed.

  10. Irish PI

    David,I hate to say it but this is the biggest load of tripe you have ever written!
    As a tax paying motorist of the highest class 1600 euros PA [on a 1995 2.8 Mitsubishi current value about 1000 euros,simply like many other people I cant afford ridicilously over priced,under equipped in comparison to their EU counter parts new car.I’m already pissed off immensely that I an financing somone better off to be able to drive an newer mosdel and more eco friendly vechicle with my road tax. I am paying tax on diesel,tax on tyres ,on spare parts and labour to install them,and of course tax on my insurance and on the national roads if i choose to drive on them,should I want to go to Dublin,which is fortuneatly only once or twice a year. Do you honestly think I and thousands of other motorists will say.”Oh gosh ! Another tax,as well I’ll leave the car at home and take efficent and affordable public transport as the car isnt costing me THAT much to run and maintain and use.”??? I am paying for the privilidge of keeping the second most expensive item in anyones life going.I will use and drive it untill it falls apart irrespective of what more legalised highway robbery is planted on our shoulders.
    You would have a very valid rguement if there was a viable and efficent 24/7/365,we never stop public transport network in this country to offer people in the greater Dublin area a alternative to the weekly mobile carpark that is the M50.But seeing that unless we are going to invest billions in infrastructure for trains this is not going to happen.
    The other problem is unfortuneatly we didnt have the services of the 3rd Reich European urban renewal services in 1939/45.Whre most if not all European cities got a chance to redevelop their urban infrastructure to make them more car and transport friendly,we aree now trying to force every sort of cockamaine transport on a city that is not fit for traffic purpose and making it more car unfriendly and then wondering why our city centres are becoming black spots inhabited by junkies and undesireables.
    It is also not helped by utterly appaling traffic planning with city managers thinking the way to sort out traffic jams is to put a set of traffic lights on every street intersection major and minor,and then dont bother to make them go onto “green wave” at once.Nor is it helped by the Irish motorist themselves,who seem to have no clue what the orange light means before it goes to green.IOW get your car in gear and be prepared to haul ass ,once the way is clear.Not just realise its green,time to put it in gear and dwadle off. Its a multiple factor of things that causes our traffic pile ups ,not forgetting tht car pooling with three or more people in a car,should allow the use of the bus lane ,like in any other EU country,not slapping a tax on it wont solve anything,just exacberate the situation.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      You see David only travels from Dalkey to exotic countries, so his view of car owners like yourself would probably be on the lines of “air polluting unreasonable people who should be carbontaxised” (btw, there has not been a Green MEP in the history of the EU who would have given up on flying, given that planes are the biggest contributors to carbon footprint – almost 1% of that of the volcanos ;-).

      And of course those TDs who make decisions on how much tax is there in petrol (an information David conveniently skipped – are the drivers taxed too little? I mean, does David seriously believe that?) only have to travel from Molesworth St to Kildare St.

      “Not just realise its green,time to put it in gear and dwadle off.”

      I have tried to refrain myself from pointing it out, but you said it for me. Yep, this is unique to Ireland (as there is 1 person – there always is one – blocking the fast lane with a km of an empty road in the front of her and – I have pictures – two lorry drivers blocking the whole M1 for half an hour because they want to have a chat).

      People here are too patient, too polite, too resigned with such unique phenomena of one individual terrorising the whole M50, 2 lorry drivers terrorising M1 and Dublin Bus terrorising all their passengers with legal monopoly which allows them to charge 2 grand for annual pass that cost 365 euro in Vienna.

      You cannot talk or write about it, because this is branded as “negative thinking”. I do not know anymore if this is good manners or the level of resignation.

      Then half of the people are late for work/classes/meetings.

      And Minister Varadkar, who broke his promise to privatise Dublin Bus, is now trying to pass off as worried about the taxpayers – that they pay nearly 2,000 euro a year for a service that cost 365 euro in Vienna and is 50 years behind Warsaw public transport, so it should cost even less, does not worry him (in order to boost his position in his plans to get rid of Mr Enda Kenny) – did anyone, any journalist, have ever hold him accountable for braking his word?

      • Truthist

        “People here are too patient, too polite, too resigned …”

        Nay, Grzegorz ;

        People here are afraid, & cowardly also, towards the tri-pronged Apparatus of The Institutional State of the Irish State [ I.S.I.S. ] ;

        1.
        Fascist / Communist Civil Service

        2.
        Draconian Laws + Judiciary + Legal Fraternity

        3.
        Brutal & sneaky & unimpeachable Garda-Landlord Enforcers.

  11. McGoo

    David, you are finally ready for politics. You sound like a finance minister who has thought of a brilliant new way to tax people.

    Charging commuters for urban road use will only do one thing – make workers demand higher wages. This might cause some new businesses to set up outside Dublin, but not many. Existing businesses won’t go to the trouble of moving, they’ll just end up paying more for staff. Higher wages will decrease our international competitiveness.

    The idea that a significant number of commuters will switch to public transport because of a charge is nonsense. Most people who are lucky enough to be able to commute by train are already doing so. Buses are not a viable option because, as someone else mentioned, their timetables are works of fiction, causing people to arrive at work late and wet, after standing in the rain for an hour waiting for buses that never arrive. The sad fact is that, for most commuters, the car is the quickest, most reliable way of getting from door to door, even at rush hour.

  12. Got a problem, tax it. Never met a problem I couldn’t fix by taxing it!

    Alternative,flexible hours for the work place would work better.
    Open the work day to 24 hours and let people decide how to fill their day. Most workers are not required to be a part of a machine that must start at 8 am and finish at 4 pm to be shut down the rest of the time.
    Some currently prefer the night shift and drive to work in serenity.

    I prefer not to work at all, live on an island with no traffic lights, yet enough basics to supply me with most of what I want. When we want off the island we use the ferry at off peak hours, of course. Life is pleasant enough. I have enough time to bug this blog!!

  13. McCawber

    OR, David you could do an engineering based, win win analysis.
    A couple of examples.
    Extend the Luas from Cherrywood to Bray. This would relieve some of the traffic congestion on the M50.
    Run the oft mentioned spur from the Dart to Dublin Airport. This would relieve traffic on both the M50 and the N11.
    Both those infrastructural upgrades would also open up building land that is well provided with public transport.
    Provide more, MUCH moe park and ride facilities. Bray has become a giant parking lot, eg Bray Wanderers are doing very nicely thank you.
    Bottomline stop treating cars and their drivers like pariahs.
    They are not going to go away. The Electric Car will see to that and driverless technology will make the experience a better one.

  14. Tony

    Did the Indo actually publish this nonsense?
    It reads like the kind of tripe I’d expect from Newstalk’s Shane Coleman (who has just come on the radio – time to switch over).

  15. This is a good read while you’r stuck in a traffic jam on the beltway and beats listening to the local disk jockey.

    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/anything-trumps-hillary/

    Recounts the unmitigated disaster that is espoused by the likes of Clinton.
    Perhaps Trump with a non interventionist attitude will allow others to live their own lives without being told how and where to do so.

    • McCawber

      That just about matches the hatchet job Sky did on the Donald.
      The most galling thing (and it’s probably JFK’s fault) about the Trump/Clinton debate is that there is a blind acceptance this side of the Pond that Clinton is good and Trump is evil (not just bad).
      I believe in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.
      They’re all human beings and as such they are seriously flawed.
      The doubt is doubt about their good intentions.

      • McCawber

        My ref to JFK btw => Democrat good, Republican evil.
        Mind the Republican’s don’t help themselves.
        I remember having a conversation with a republican when Bill was president.
        My final remark to him will give you an idea of how the conversation went.
        “I don’t suppose you’d give Bill credit for being in the right place at the right time even.”
        It was about the only time he shut up while he was thinking of a reply which btw was NO.

  16. Quote of the day on lemetropolecafe.com

    “This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” … Sigmund Freud on the Irish

  17. “Globalist mercantilism is an authoritarian curse that removes choices from people’s lives and substitutes regulation. It is funded and driven by central banking – and by financiers – not by NATO.

    Monopoly central banking was basically founded in London and to a large degree London financial “City” remains its seat of power.”

    http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/what-brexit-supporters-have-wrong-about-the-origins-of-the-eu/

    Something else to read while stuck on public transit.

  18. Mike Lucey

    Another solution that might help could be to rethink car design. The basic shape and size hasn’t altered much since 1886, look here, https://www.google.co.nz/imgres?imgurl=https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/Motor-Hansom.jpg/170px-Motor-Hansom.jpg&imgrefurl=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_automobile&h=238&w=170&tbnid=loKEgEsNFN1M0M:&tbnh=160&tbnw=114&docid=i_6jqo8V1k1wDM&client=opera&usg=__u5fnAJYSEyPJB-XInttnUcalmnU=&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj9k83qxrLMAhVmKMAKHZz0D_sQ9QEIHzAA

    I see Shell have brought out a concept car that makes a lot of sense, ‘The cute little fuel-saving city car from Shell that points to the future’

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/79316953/the-cute-little-fuelsaving-city-car-from-shell-that-points-to-the-future

    Now, if this concept could be expanded and further developed whereby the SCC (Shell Concept Car) could have ‘add-ons’ (articulated trailer cabin with more seats, a pickup option etc) that remain in the garage / driveway or even an apartment parking space until they are needed and from what I gather that would only be approximately 10% of the time the car is used!

    Having narrower cars like the SCC would also allow for doubling up on lanes which would further lessen the need for more and bigger / wider roads.

    A new transport development that I have been watching for the past few of years is the Lit Motors C-1 http://litmotors.com/c1/ I’ve always fancied a motorbike but the Irish weather and bike ignoring drivers have put me off the idea. The C-1 could be the answer.

  19. survivalist

    And just like that the Government-Corporate machine deftly ignores one of the most significant democratizing events in Irish and European history.

    An event that possibly deserves recognition in the archives of great civil rights victories…ignored.

    The victory of the Irish people having been secured, against the will of 99% of the nation’s political institutions, against the sustained and co-ordinated onslaught of every major media outlet in the country, against security force surveillance, intimidation and interference, against years of preceding IMF, EU demoralising austerity measures, their attacks on the community, and their war on the people through material and psychological means and whereas the Irish nation was derided as being “emblematic of German-led austerity policies” (NY Times) and without representation from a single one of the major national democratic institutions, the people united, and the people were victorious.

    Uniting as communities the Irish people overthrew what was considered a done deal by the elites.

    Well, tough sh*t to the disgruntled masters, the Irish people defeated the machine, a feat no other European people under the onslaught of ‘austerity’ have yet achieved. Such an outstandingly brilliant ‘bad’ example will never be celebrated.

    Interesting timing; 100 years to the month after the last ‘lost cause’. What role if any did our ‘mythology’ play in motivating the people to this unheralded victory?

    “ They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

    “Water Privatization?…Never happened, right?

    • McCawber

      Water privatisation was a red herring.
      It was never going to happen, FG were just too far up their holes to concede that day one before anyone else got to beat them over the head with it.
      We still need a water company. The fact we don’t have one says as much about us as a people as it does about our politicians

  20. eoinr

    What kind of an impact would there be if public transport was free during rush hours?

  21. Deco

    Yep, what about the Luas drivers demanindg 50% plus payrises, who are in effect driving up the costs and investment needed to make public transport in Dublin.

    Dublin – how not to run a city.

    The morons in DCC do not inspire any confidence. They had a proposal to reduce traffic speed to 16mph in central Dublin.

    I have a better solution.

    Remove VAT from broadband. And scrap that idiotic proposal to force through another Irish Water styel quango tax on internet connections.

    Thereby letting people stay in the suburbs and avoid the key bottlenecks.

  22. StephenKenny

    Want to get to grips with gridlock? Make horses more expensive?

    Try a post enlightenment solution, e.g. Create more suitable, ‘competitive’, forms of transport.

  23. Create roof top gardens and ride the horse to work. Using a horse is faster than grid lock and the horse manure will be valued and scooped up to fertilize all those city roof top gardens I read about.

    All you need is a hitching rail and a small bag of oats and a pail of water.A good horse can trot at 12-15 miles per hour. Faster in Km’s

    Ride ‘em cowboy!!

  24. Truthist

    Another well paced & very readable & thought-provoking article from David.
    However, I would not agree with his proposed solution ;

    Reasons for rejecting his proposal include :

    1.
    It is another unfair tax

    2.
    There are superior [ more effective, & more efficient, & more economical, for
    the users inter alia ] options per the “plain old non-rail land transport network” to :

    a]
    greatly reduce the occurrence of the stated causes

    b]
    greatly reduce the impact of the stated causes.

    Indeed, David’s proposal would most likely result in only negligible reduction in traffic volume at the intended periods.

    As in seemingly all aspects of living in the Irish State, there are major chronic problems that are also getting worse.
    And, when u reflect & examine each of those aspects u will find incompetence & corruption [ legal & illegal ] by the common denominators :

    1.
    The Civil Service

    2.
    Corporate Ireland

    3.
    The Professions

    4.
    The Beards [ Male ] & Beardettes [ Female ] of the Unions

    5.
    The Politicians

    6.
    The pseudo-Intelligentsia

    7.
    The Media

    And, per this particular aspect of living [ transport ], one must also include the following such vested interests :

    8.
    The motor industry

    9.
    The Oil industry

    And, last but not least, one has to mention that aul joker himself ;

    The Devil

    8-)

  25. StephenKenny

    Economists never cease to amaze me with their almost total lack of ability to predict much more than tomorrow’s date. Increase the cost of driving? Really? That’s it? The expert advice from the our, very expensive, leaders and nobel prize winners?

    There are too many cars on the road so increase the cost of driving? It’s so pathetic it’s difficult to know where to start.
    There’s a bit of meme at the moment, describing our world as having entered into the ‘post Enlightenment’. Is this an example of post enlightenment economics? Economics drawn from little more than a form of religious fervour?

  26. Here is the real gridlock. The right to free speech curtailed.
    Tolerance is preached by those with no tolerance for those they deem intolerant.
    Oxymoronic and oafish.

    The US is now subjected to its own version of Arab spring with protest organized, funded and promoted by the new world Order. We should be very afraid as our freedoms are stripped by the rent a mob yobbos. Look carefully under the veil, behind the curtain and the money meisters will be seen.

    http://www.gopusa.com/?p=9320?omhide=true

    Freedom is never attained , it must constantly be fought for. The battles of old still rage today.

  27. https://youtu.be/-Vd4Yo-m58o

    Trump supporter kicked and hit by rent a mob

  28. All thing go in cycles
    What goes around , comes around.

    GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT SUCCESS
    At age 4 success is . . . . Not piddling in your pants.
    At age 12 success is . . . . Having friends.
    At age 17 success is . . . . Having a driver’s license.
    At age 35 success is . . . . Having money.
    At age 50 success is . . . . Having money.
    At age 70 success is . . . . Having a drivers license.
    At age 75 success is . . . . Having friends.
    At age 80 success is . . . . Not piddling in your pants.

  29. Truthist

    Every would-be politician & existing politician is afraid of trying to emulate Ron Paul.
    That is a pity.
    But, understandable ;
    Because, there is a short-term price & a long-term price to pay by Ron Paul for having the temerity to challenge the dreadful few.

    Meanwhile, back on centre-stage ;
    While he would be better than Hell-ary, Trump is also a Shill for the dreadful few.
    And, get a load of this from Aanirfan.blogspot.com ;

    http://www.aanirfan.blogspot.com/2016/04/trump-is-neocon-warhawk.html

    http://www.aanirfan.blogspot.com/2016/02/trumps-foreign-policy-trump-and-child.html

    http://www.aanirfan.blogspot.com/2016/04/trump-rape-wayne-madsen-mike-rivero.html

  30. Truthist

    Obviously if u have been scholarly enough, u would understand that the Bankster Scam Bundle [ BS Bundle ] is the ultimate cause of the “plain old non-rail land transport network” Gridlock ;

    And, here is the greatest authority on the BS Bundle ;
    vis.
    Mr. Eustace Mullins ;
    Author of “The Secrets of the Federal Reserve” which G. Edward Griffin :

    plagiarized

    performed a damage-limitation exercise on for the benefit of the Rothschilds, as “The Creature from Jekyll Island”

    published so as to take from Mullins’s livelihood.

    Another very informative & easy & witty listening lecture from Eustace Mullins ;
    Good sound quality.
    U need only listen, & can go about doing some other task simultaneously.

    Mullins’s audio & video recordings facilitate u acquiring a great handle on the BS Bundle if u are a touch intellectually lazy to do the asking & the reading.

    Eustace Mullins – The Global Financial Situation

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YVaThDVIm8

    • Truthist

      Typo ;

      And, here is the greatest authority on the BS Bundle ;
      vis.
      Mr. Eustace Mullins ;
      Author of “The Secrets of the Federal Reserve” which G. Edward Griffin through “The Creature from Jekyll Island” :

      plagiarized

      performed a damage-limitation exercise on for the benefit of the Rothschilds

      published so as to take from Mullins’s livelihood.

  31. Truthist

    @ Grzegorz

    Tonight I was speaking with an very knowledgeable industrialist from continental Europe, & he privy to the inside track that u would never uncover from the main stream media nor the internet.
    He assured me that even in Netherlands the unions are playing games against the public in regard to the punctuality of the state transport system [ buses, & trams ].
    This has been going on for a very long time.

    Thus, versus the corrupt transport system of the Netherlands, Dublin Bus & Luas are so corrupt that even the Netherlands’s transport system looks virtuous.

    Another important fact to know is that militant drivers in C.I.E. are traditionally promoted to being Inspectors so as to placate them.
    Then, these Inspectors are like “Devils on Horseback”.
    But, this is not to say that all C.I.E. Inspectors are demon turncoats against the drivers.

    Grzegorz, please factor in that Dublin Bus drivers over many years have had to endure much appalling work incidents courtesy of Heroin Junkies shooting up on the buses or mugging the bus so as to get the income from the fares.
    This chronic situation is very likely to be a major cause of the cynicism of the members of Dublin Bus unions.

    Of course, the Garda-Landlords were useless to stop that problem.

  32. Truthist

    Dublin & Cork should seriously consider having an “elevated rapid transit system” ;

    e.g.

    Vancouver, Canada

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SkyTrain_(Vancouver)

    Bangkok, Thailand

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BTS_Skytrain

    Politicians — if NOT using own personal monies — allowed to inspect the Literature & Exhibits & Virtual Reality ONLY ;
    No Junkets.
    Same for the Civil Servants other than the top relevant Engineers.

    Recruit the know-how from the Thai if more smart to do so overall ;
    They surely would have soaked up as much as possible from the foreign input into their projects.

    Consider accessing know-how from Japan & China, & other industrious nations.

    Anyway, practise the best of husbandry.

  33. Mike Lucey

    I see my post of the April 29, 2016 at 4:56 pm ‘is awaiting moderation’, probably due to the number of links. Anyway here is what I suggested in three posts.

    @Sideshow Bob
    Thanks for the link. With what I proposed (motorbike wide cars) it would be possible to reduce the required area of road by 50% at least. It would be a start.

    I agree with suggestions that buses and trains, not necessarily public, should play a much larger role but the problem for many is the first and last mile. Walking this first and last mile would be great for one’s health but time and in this part of the World, inclement weather, is often a discouraging factor.

    There are some ingenious quick folding and very lightweight e-bikes coming on stream these days that could go a long way to address the first and last mile and not be a major hassle when it comes to storage on the bus, train or in the office.

    Maybe a first / last mile e-bike size standard could be designated and buses and trains also offices could provide easy storage secure slots for these commuters.

  34. Mike Lucey

    In my own case I use a small folding e-bike, see here, https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Uy94JK7ohmk/VNTYenO58jI/AAAAAAAAAAg/NxOyTNTiwMsv2SctNDNt_4xcQqzsd0ZwQCL0B/w1894-h1422-no/photo.jpg for my very short home to office commute, about a mile each way. There are times I also walk but if its raining, and thats quite often, I jump in the car.

    I’ve recently backed a Kickstarter campaign for the ‘BONCHO, the bike poncho’. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/boncho/boncho-the-bike-poncho which should allow me to use the e-bike more and not get totally drenched.

  35. Mike Lucey

    If I were to use a bus or train I would be looking at something like this,
    ‘The Electric Urb-E is ‘The Fun Last-Mile Commute Solution’
    http://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/18/the-electric-urb-e-is-the-fun-last-mile-commute-solution/
    Maybe with the widespread use of Microsoft’s Hololens we will be traveling far less! https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us
    This kind of tech was very expensive a few years ago but it now looks that it will become very affordable in the near future.

    So David, instead of going through the hassle of travelling to Cork all you will have to do is don your Hololens headgear and interact from your home office.

  36. Sideshow Bob

    Hi Mike. I took a look at the Shell Concept car. I would love to see Jeremy Clarkson review it!

    I still can´t see it making a difference as road sizes and in particular lane widths are geared to maximum vehicle sizes (and turning circles) and not minimums. So, normal lane sizes would be dictated by artics or emergency vehicles at the very least.

    Basically,it would require dedicated lanes to work, which the system couldn´t readily take and in reality you would be just creating new mini-motorways for these vehicles that couldn´t be used by other larger vehicles. The main advantage for this car seems to be in the parking space required, and in fuel efficiency of course, and I can´t see many related advantages related to reducing congestion.

  37. Truthist

    Deadly driving culture when moving :

    ahead of stopping

    after stopping.

    Ur other suggestions are very good ;
    IMHO

  38. Sideshow Bob

    I have experienced this actually. It is an illusion that it could work. It would double the road death rate immediately. This is carnage and only societies where life is cheap ignore it. It sends twice as many people again to hospital requiring serious levels of surgery with a very serious after life repercussions. Even the motorists that do it suffer from nervous problems. There is no economic advantage, nor human advantage, to be gained from this situation and its heavy attendant costs.

    Here is what it feels like…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuMvzyvtuR8

    An increase in whiplash claims from minor crashes ( bumps only sometimes) is apparently enough to result in an increase in the cost of insurance premiums here. Can you imagine if there was an increase in deaths and injuries? and who would be paying?

  39. Sideshow Bob

    hi Mike, please see reply below to this.

  40. Sideshow Bob

    Hi Mike reply below to this…

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