Smart Transport member Campaign for Better Transport has set out what it believes are the priorities for transport, ahead of the Budget next Wednesday, March 3.
It says the immediate priority for Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to continue to provide financial support to keep buses and trains running during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure services are there for people making essential journeys.
It also wants to see investment in modal interchanges, segregated cycle lanes, local bus infrastructure, and rail upgrades and reopenings to help create an "integrated public transport network fit for the future".
The way buses are funded should be reformed as part of the forthcoming National Bus Strategy to “help increase bus use, ensure socially necessary services are in place, and help move towards zero emissions”.
Avoiding a ‘car-based recovery’
In the medium-term, Campaign for Better Transport has outlined measures to avoid a car-based recovery from the pandemic, including a public transport discount scheme and flexible commuter tickets that make rail travel “an attractive alternative to driving” for people travelling into workplaces part-time.
It also wants the Government to incentivise the introduction of multi-operator tickets and capped bus fares to make public transport “an easy and affordable option for more people”.
It suggests that the fuel duty freeze has “sent the wrong signal about travel choices” and it should be ended and a review of vehicle taxation carried out as “a matter of urgency”.
Following on from this, like a number of commentators, Campaign for Transport believe road pricing, needs to be introduced to make up for revenue from vehicle taxation declining due to improved fuel efficiency and the take up of electric vehicles.
The Transport Select Committee recently held a call for evidence on zero emission vehicles and road pricing.
Distance-based road pricing
It proposes a distance-based system of road pricing that varies by time of day, location, vehicle size and emission levels.
This would be “fairer to both the consumer and to society, reflecting more closely the impacts of individual journeys (including road danger, congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions), while supporting the transition to cleaner vehicles”, it says.
To further encourage the shift to cleaner vehicles, it recommends that the Chancellor introduce targeted incentives to help businesses and operators make the switch.
Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Covid-19 has severely disrupted the transport system, but transport will be essential to the country’s recovery and to a cleaner, fairer future.
“The Chancellor must use the Budget to ensure communities have access to the public transport services they need both now and after the pandemic, as well as putting in place measures which will create a long-term shift to sustainable transport and away from a car-based recovery.”
- Is integrated/smart ticketing needed to encourage people back to public transport? Please share your views in our current poll.