A Transport Cocktail. Shaken or Stirred?

Full marks to the Stirrer in continuing to mark up the non-advancement of a half-decent public transport system. While I held office as Transport Cabinet Member between 2003-4 I can’t see what progress has been made to what was on the table then. There was a regional transport plan, fairly modest but considerably beefed up when additional resources were put on the table. It seemed to me it was crucial to support this since it would be likely to succeed than if I stopped off to think up something different. That’s precisely what the following regime did. However good an idea an underground system might be, credible it wasn’t. In addition the City Council Officers were advising me of, and taking me to see all kinds of initiatives. Park-and-ride, car sharing were on the agenda. Four years on I’m asking myself where is the progress? The new administration had the same advisers to hand.

Dear Stirrer
Good to see you’re keeping alive a healthy debate on our transport system, or lack of it, with some imaginative ideas about the tram or variants. The present [Birmingham] council “leadership” seems dumb on any way forward even if there are ideas, such as those you describe, which have proven effective in cutting congestion.
It’s puzzling when there is such pressing need to cut carbon emissions as well as getting up-to-date public transport that there’s no comment from the centre.
Beware of generalisations about who is for and against progress. Gary Clark as chair of the PTA is a Tory yet has shown to have progressive views when promoting good transport while New Labour’s Khalid Mahmood, MP did all he could to bring progress to a halt.
Why are politicians who haven’t got a progressive bone in their bodies being promoted, even by you. What are you stirring, a soggy rice pudden? Mine’s a fiery cocktail please shaken, not stirred. So make sure if
you’re supporting candidates for parliament what their thoughts are on these issues. What’s their track record?
In the case of some of those now up for their advancement there’s little evidence to go on as far as I can see.
There are technologies, not unknown to us in Britain and which we’ve actually pioneered, that can take us forward. True the Maglev, capable of practically unlimited speed on a cushion of air, no moving parts, is an obvious contender for a public transport system. Germany, Japan, China I believe are all moving forward. The 5 or so mph Maglev at Birmingham Airport hardly put it through its paces!
I put the challenge forward to all those wishing to get into power. What are your ideas for moving transport in Britain and specifically the Midlands into a state comparable to that around the globe. Don’t like the tram, o.k. but what do you like apart, that is, from your b(eloved) car?
John Tyrrell

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