When the "eco" dream fails to make sense

We are told, in in part I agree, that in an ideal world we wouldn't need cars. An integrated public transport network will get us from A to B quickly, cheaply and easily with the minimum of carbon output and everyone is happy. The problem is, this would never work for some people. Let me tell you why.

I have the flu. I've had it since Tuesday. I have to go out every other day to buy more paracetamol because if I but two packets at the same time I am told I can only buy one packet because the staff in Tesco think I am going to kill myself (apparently that's why you can no longer but 50 paracetamol in bottles like you used to be able to do), so I go every other day to get them. That's not a great problem as I can walk the several hundred metres to Tesco. however, on Thursday, in the snow, I had a problem. I was trembling cold with a fever, I was out of breath every few steps, and the only way I could face leaving the house was to get in my car and drive the few hundred metres. I know, I'm terrible, but physically, it was all I could manage to do.

But then I come to today. I needed to go to a chemist. The nearest one that was open was on the edge of Norwich. If I had wanted to get a bus I would have had to wait in the cold for 15 minutes (not good when you still have a fever), get on a busy bus, and infect god knows how many other people with my flu, cough and cold, then get off, then walk another mile in the cold to the chemist, then, I'd have to do it in reverse.

To be honest, it was arduous enough and too physically demanding really to do it in a car. I came home and had to go to sleep, such is my frail state at the moment, but it shows me very clearly why people who say "you don't need a car" are so wrong.

Sometimes, I need, and I mean, I REALLY NEED, my car. The last few days with both my wife and I both having the flu has shown just how reliant I am on it and shows that the vision of a car free society can never be achieved. A nice goal, but there are times when you cannot live with out a car.


Anonymous said...

Bit worrying if you feel unable to control your legs enough to walk anywhere that you feel you have enough judgement to drive a piece of machinery weighing several hundred kilos instead! At least on foot you're only likely to kill yourself...

Norfolk Blogger said...

Big difference, which any car driver would know.

Driving a car requires little physical effort, which is why people who have no control over their legs (like paraplegics or amputees) can drive.

Secondly, and I don't know that you have noticed this, but when I drive, I sit down ! Funny isn't it, but sitting down is no effort for me but walking in the snow is !

You don't have to agree with me, but coming up with a ludicrous and ill thought out argument weakens your arguments.

Oh, and if you want to "educate" me, then tell me your name, be brave and don't be so anonymous.

Tristan said...

All these schemes for integrated public transport are also highly illiberal. I assume cars would be banned asnd you'd only be able to go about your business as dictated by the timetables...

For cities and on long distance journeys, public transport makes sense, but rural areas do not have high enough populations to support frequent public transport services without both very high cost and significant environmental damage (all those empty buses running...)

Technological advance is the only way to ensure greener transport overall, although better public transport can have a place in many cases, it is not a complete solution...

Joe Otten said...

Better public transport could pick some low-hanging fruit - where there are lots of people currently making similar journeys by car.

It is simply an error to think that because these gains are there to be had, that they apply to all car journeys.

Of course there is the taxi option for occasional journeys.

Still, most of my car journeys don't fit the low hanging fruit public transport potential model either, they are mostly ferrying the kids to or from something.

Or perhaps the kids ought to give up gym, swimming, football, and seeing their grandparents.