Leading article: Road rage

Click to follow
The Independent Online

We Britons will put up with a considerable amount of social stratification when it comes to transport. First class carriages on trains, business class on planes, rickshaws: none of it seems to cause much of a problem.

But one thing that we cannot come to terms with, it seems, is two classes of road traveller. The previous government's decision to create a 3.5-mile bus and taxi lane on the M4, between Heathrow and London, has been an object of resentment from drivers for more than a decade. And now the Coalition has decided to scrap it.

The annoyance of drivers at the manner in which the lane was often used by ministers and foreign VIPs as a fast-track into the capital is understandable. But the primary purpose of the bus lane was to encourage people to use public transport and cabs to get to the airport, rather than their own cars. It was supposed to help the environment and to ease congestion. And according to the scheme's architect, John Prescott, citing a study by the independent Transport Research Laboratory, it did indeed succeed in cutting average journey times to the airport.

Yet Mr Prescott is missing the point. When it comes to the roads, what Britons want is not efficiency, but equality of misery.

Comments