Letter: Curb the car

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Donald Macintyre (Comment, 29 July) states one of the fundamental truths of transport: motorists will endure almost anything rather than use public transport. John Prescott is indeed dependent on local authorities to solve the transport "crisis", but it won't happen by the public sector investing in public transport.

Local authorities have to adopt what are euphemistically known as traffic management strategies. In plainer language, this means restricting the car. This is the only known way of solving the problem of too many cars, without ridiculous expense. For the last five years, both this government and the previous one have been quietly urging local authorities to do just this, but with only gradual success; Oxford is one of the few real examples.

A more fervent anti-car policy might well co-ordinate the efforts of local authorities and get them to deliver faster. It has been evident that the Prime Minister is not convinced that the car needs restricting. Equally, he is convinced that something needs to be done. Perhaps the reason for Gus Macdonald's appointment as Transport Minister is to survey some difficult political terrain. Sometimes you need friends to tell you difficult truths.