UK figures show that cost of motoring fell in last decade while the cost of public transport has risen sharply

February 1st, 2011 by Friends of the Earth

New figures showing that the cost of motoring fell between 1997 and 2010, while bus and train fares rose sharply show that the UK Government transport policy must change direction to tackle the dual threats of climate change and higher oil prices, Friends of the Earth said on Tuesday 1 February 2011.

The new figures, published in Hansard in reply to a Parliamentary Question by Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson reveal that:

  • Between 1997 and 2010 the real cost of motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle, fell by seven per cent, while bus and coach fares increased by 24 percent and rail fares increased by 17 per cent;
  • Between 1981 and 2010 the real cost of motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle, fell by 10 per cent, while bus and coach fares increased by 56 per cent and rail fares increased by 51 per cent.
  • The cost of the average UK domestic one-way air fare, including taxes and charges, fell by 35 per cent in real terms between 1997 and 2008, the latest date for which figures are available.

Friends of the Earth’s Policy and Campaigns Director Craig Bennett said “it’s little wonder we are such a car-dependent society when the cost of motoring has fallen under successive governments and public transport prices have soared.

“The Government must take urgent steps to wean our transport system off its addiction to oil to tackle the dual challenges of rising fuel prices and global climate change.

“We need to encourage motorists to choose cleaner vehicles that use less fuel – and provide attractive alternatives to driving with affordable public transport and measures to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

“Transport policy is at a crossroads – low-carbon transport is urgently needed to give us a cleaner, safer and cheaper future.”

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