Letter: Civilised travel

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The Independent Online
Sir: Representing the "me" society on cars (10 June), Polly Toynbee happened on the obvious cure but without banging that drum loud enough: "Dazzle us with the sunshine of a public transport system so convenient and enjoyable that it becomes irresistible, then we would relinquish our death machines."

We do not want "improved" transport facilities, but a new concept of civilised travel. An example from the 1970s is the US government's federal funding of Washington DC's wonderful metro, that is faster, quieter and more comfortable than driving to work or going by cab.

To do the equivalent for all British public transport systems, ridding them of their grime of inefficiency, would surely, along with relatively few important political issues today, be one of the most astute investments for the next century?

PATRICK HODGKINSON

Emeritus Professor of

Architecture and Urbanism

Bath

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