Last Tuesday, Stop HS2 supporters went to The Age of Energy Transport Debate, organised by Shell and the Telegraph newspaper.
The speakers included Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport, and Mark Gainsborough of Shell.
During the course of the debate, Philip Hammond commented that Britain’s motorways and railways are not congested most of the day. It’s just for one or two hours with peak traffic.
Christian Wolmar said this as well, at the Stop HS2 convention. However, he compared the situation to Tescos – also overcrowded on a Friday evening. No-one suggests solving that problem by building new Tescos stores, he said.
Earlier this year, the Department for Transport published details of the most crowded trains, in response to Freedom of Information request. One common theme is the times of day that the trains are overcrowded – they are either busy during the times when commuters are travelling into London, or when commuters are traveling home from London.
Obviously, the people who use those trains will feel like the railways are overcrowded. Many of these people make the same journey every day, so every day their impression will be being re-enforced. But if they could choose to make the same journey every day at lunchtime they would have a very different impression.
Yes, there is a problem for commuters. But there are also many solutions.