A Word In Your Ear - December 14, 2017

Roy Edmonds
Roy Edmonds
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Iced up cars and boozy get-togethers – yes, it’s the festive build-up again. But, just when we need public transport, it’s not there. The subject is a touchy one in Blackpool, as we approach winter holidays.

Thanks to that rail-tramway extension, our town-centre is not easy to navigate. Also train lines are closed for electrification; while buses are, well, doing their best in the circumstances.

I’ve always thought public transport was better in the past. Before my days here you could reportedly hop on a tram every several minutes in the main suburbs, like Whitegate Drive. It was slow but reliable and relaxing. Also, you didn’t have to park afterwards, or maintain a vehicle.

Even buses were more plentiful a few years ago, with ‘Handy’ ones running every 10 to 15 minutes along major roads – not going all around the houses. Surely most people can walk to a nearby major road. For those who can’t, or are in a hurry, our holiday coast fortunately has dial-a-ride charity schemes and lots of helpful cabbies.

It’s also promising that rural rail lines, axed in the 60s by Beeching, are being brought back into use. This will take cars off jammed-up highways as well as supporting wider communities.

Let’s also see more freight on rail and wider use of our amazing Victorian canal network. Does everything really have to be delivered by next day? I doubt it. Let’s slow down our pace, it will still be faster than sitting in motorway congestion polluting the atmosphere.

Driverless cars may be the future. It seems an attractive idea to summon one upon a mobile phone whenever transport’s needed. Also, they would eliminate speeding and drink-driving. Keen motorists can still drive themselves - while finding fewer vehicles in their way.

There’s only one drawback. Who would then fill us in on what’s really happening in our towns – without taxi drivers?

• For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.