Suffolk’s Annual Public Health report 2013 concerns itself with travel and health and recommends a wholesale transfer of many journeys or parts of journeys to the bicycle. Hurrah, hurrah indeed! In the case of your county councillor for Woodbridge, they are preaching to the converted.
Sadly there are other councillors who are converted in theory but not at all in practice. “I will not apologise that it’s not possible if I drive my kids to school…” “I don’t have cycle legs…” ” I’m scared on the road.. ” At the full council debate on the subject last week, I heard a stream of excuses, exculpations and explanations from seemingly overly entitled individuals who are compensated by YOU the Council Tax payer at 44p per mile to remain in their cars at no cost to themselves – and so don’t have to make the same choices as others they represent.
I wholly support the aspiration, but must point out that while there is such a gap between what councillors think is a good idea for others and what they are prepared to do themselves, we are not going to progress as far or fast as we would like.
On what appeared to be a more positive note, it looked for a while as if the train services are becoming more proactive on the subject of cycles.
Although I have had cause to raise issues with Greater Anglia over recent months – particularly in reference to ticket machines in general and the Woodbridge station ticket machine in particular – I was happy to pass on that the company has formally launched its new cycle strategy with a consultation. It is seeking users’ and stakeholders’ views on its policies and plans for cycle facilities. We are told that “amongst the proposals outlined is the creation of a Greater Anglia Cycle Forum, which will meet twice a year to provide continued customer feedback and help prioritise further upgrades.”
However, if you look at their consultation in detail it seems primarily to want to take your bike off the trains and ask you to rent their Bike and Go bike instead. See my blog piece Not on our trains? Greater Anglia’s cycle ‘consultation’
So while there are fewer and fewer attempts at co-ordinated provision between rural bus and train services, it is only semi-nice to see that the Dutch-owned company is improving green transport in such a limited way. I suspect we will be waiting a long long time before they introduce ‘Boris bikes’ along the East Suffolk line, where non-existent bus services and very limited carriage capacity continue to make a mockery of Suffolk County Council’s ‘greenest county’ aspirations.
And in the interim, the thought that the few bikes there is room for might be banned does nothing to cheer up the many passengers who commute this way.
Details of the consultation can be found on the Greater Anglia website ; the company wants you to respond by 1 November. Please do!