Letter: Time to stop dithering and follow Europe's lead in curbing the car

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (25 March) says that 'there is no blueprint for removing or reducing the use of private cars' in cities. While this may be so, there are certainly some good indications of what to do. Karlsruhe in Germany, for example, has found a formula for public transport to offer a really attractive alternative to the car.

By linking its city-centre tram network with suburban railways, sleek, high-capacity trams are able to run from outlying suburbs directly into Karlsruhe city centre, where passengers have a wide choice of destination. On their journeys to and from the city, the trams share tracks with ordinary trains.

The formula has been extraordinarily successful. Since through tram services started in 1992, weekday traffic has grown by 400 per cent, with four out of 10 passengers forsaking their cars for the rails.

The Karlsruhe concept is being applied in Saarbrucken and may soon be copied elsewhere. It is safe, low-cost and environmentally sound. With the exception of Sheffield and Manchester, all that is missing in Britain are city-centre tram tracks and a government that recognises the need to invest in public transport.

Yours faithfully,

MURRAY HUGHES

Editor

Railway Gazette International

Sutton, Surrey

25 March

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