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Road signs to tell drivers to use public transport

Motorists could be instructed to take the bus by new road signs, The Telegraph reports. Under new measures to reduce traffic emissions, detailed proposals are being examined by ministers to select new ways of encouraging people to use public transport instead of their car. Measures include electric traffic signs with live information, telling drivers how long it would take to drive into the town or city centre and the estimate time to complete the same journey by train or on a bus with a dedicated lane. Fixed signs directing motorists to the nearest station could also be installed on the motorway and trunk road network. Stephen Joseph, executive director of the Campaign for Better Transport, told The Telegraph: "At the moment traffic signs regulations do not allow proper information to be put on road signs about alternatives to the car. "This needs to be liberalised to allow drivers to make an intelligent choice." According to the Department for Transport (DfT) the reviews of the proposals are at an early stage and no decisions have been taken.

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Green credentials


Peter Roberts

How about putting signs on buses and trains telling passengers how much time they would save on the vast majority of journeys going by car and telling them how much more comfortable a car is.

How about an electric sign on a bus showing the CO2 and PM10's per passenger so that when the bus has less than 18 passengers, a car is shown to have a lower environmental impact?

How about a sign at the bus stop telling passengers how much their fare would be without vast public subsidies paid for by the long suffering car driver?

Public transport is not suitable for the vast majority of journeys and would be a dying industry if it were not for subsidies and support from a government who are in the pockets of the bus and train companies.

It is a national scandal that we support an industry with taxpayers money which produces on average more pollution and emissions than a modern car yet is marketed as a 'green' solution.

Chris Jessop

Surely the basis of Government in the UK is that the people in charge spend the taxes in a fair and responsible fashion, and while many complaints can be laid at the door of the current incumbents of power, throwing tax payer’s money at public transport cannot be one of them.

Should a person with no children refuse to pay taxes towards schools?
Should a person with no health problems refuse to pay taxes towards the NHS?
Should a person with a job refuse to pay for job seekers allowance?

Absolutely car owners should see their taxes sent on improving public transport, so that for many it can become a viable alternative.

An all-inclusive transport solution which includes personal transportation and public transportation should be worked upon, while it is pleasing to see the investment in electric batteries to be used in the cars of the near future, the UK government also need to readdress the crumbling rail infrastructure, and the complete failure of the privatisation of the buses.

Peter Roberts


There is a distinct difference between the NHS, schools and a form of transport.

The NHS and schooling is paid for through general taxation and is something 100% of the population benefits from. A method of transport is more of a personal choice and around 92% of people choose to travel by car whilst a small fraction use the bus.

The NHS, schooling and "jobseekers allowance" are all government funded and public services. Public transport is run by private companies who already pay their directors very well and make very healthy profits. Why then should the taxation on drivers' which is already excessive go towards increasing the profitability of private companies?

If public transport was in public ownership then I would have some sympathy with your position but certainly not when public money is being used to support the profits of private investors.

Paul Biggs

According to a 'Travel and Transport Research Ltd' report from March 2009: "Trend comparisons indicate that on an average per passenger kilometer traveled basis, bus travel appears to have been more polluting in terms of toxic emissions than car travel over the last 10 years" plus they don't mention the respirable carcinogens 3-NBA and 1,8-DNP emitted under load from the large diesel engines of buses. Put that on a sign!

Chris Jessop

Hi Peter,

My point in my last paragraph is that the privatisation of public transport has failed spectacularly – you only have to look at the total lack of competition amongst the bus companies, where companies like Stagecoach dominate to realise that the attempt to improve services and choice for consumers has failed. Rail has also been an almost total failure too, with franchises being taken away from some companies and the company set up to look after the rail infrastructure, railtrack failing back in 2002.

What the UK government needs to do is nationalise public transport and put it at the forefront of the so-called “green future” that our politicians continue to harp on about.

Traffic levels in many cities and motorway stretches are a major problem, and must cause absolute misery for millions of people stuck in them, yet a viable public run alternative just isn’t available.

You mention that transport is a “personal choice” and yes I agree to a large extent it is, however the current situation is a lose/lose for the people of Britain. We have car owners and roads under strain from taxes and the sheer volume placed on them, yet a creaking, run down public transport infrastructure.

I firmly believe that for many people public transport would work – if the service was efficient, clean, and competitively priced.


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