A VEHICLE which can carry 30 passengers is clearly far more efficient in terms of resources than 20 or 30 cars carrying between them the same complement. Yet, in Bury St Edmunds, where three bus companies compete for custom, most buses run almost empty for much of the day while our streets remain crowded with cars.
I suggest a levy on an estimated 15,000 car owners in Bury of just £2 per owner per week would provide enough money, combined with the present subsidy, not only to maintain our current services before they are cut, but even to make it a free service for everyone, with money to spare to provide extra buses where and when needed on some of the routes.
The high cost of petrol must mean that most car owners in Bury spend at least £4 per week on petrol alone just travelling to and from work in the borough or into the centre of town from outlying estates, not to mention such things as parking charges, the additional cost of wear and tear on their cars and the hazards of driving in bad weather conditions, especially on streets which are often severely congested.
With the chance of free travel inside the town, such a scheme would make it much more tempting for car owners to take to the buses, thereby easing traffic congestion and the pressure on car parks, saving on fuel and carbon emissions and above all retaining and even expanding our vital bus service in Bury.
Such a scheme, however controversial, is surely worth a trial and if successful could well make our lovely, historical town the envy of others, as well as a greater attraction for shoppers from outside the town.
St Martin’s Street,
Bury St Edmunds.