Letter: Cars vs trains

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Sir: Your leading article of 25 May ("Who wants to get on the bus?") appears to fall into the trap of being based on "commonly held assumptions" unsubstantiated by research.

The point of us commissioning the MORI poll you refer to was to expose what people are actually thinking and saying, not what commentators assume they are thinking and saying. So when you say John Prescott should realise that his policy "may not be quite as popular with the voters as it is made out to be", which research sources are you quoting?

The poll found 90 per cent of people were unlikely to change their voting pattern if the Government introduced restrictions on cars entering cities, and 25 per cent would actually be more likely to vote for the Government if they did this. Only 6 per cent were less likely to vote for the Government.

The poll showed the importance of understanding what people are really saying: for example, it found 75 per cent would oppose motoring charges if they went to the Treasury - and yet 71 per cent would support the same charges if the money went to public transport.

DAVID CAMPBELL BANNERMAN

Communications Director

Association of Train Operating Companies

London NW1

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