Going car-less in the country can be hard


City-dwellers don’t face the public transport problems experienced in the country, say Tricia Knott and Susie Medley. Plus letters from Michael Cunningham, Cllr Wesley Harcourt on charging points for electric vehicles, and Bob Caldwell on cycling roads full of potholes

While I applaud David Halley’s decision to give up his car and “walk more and use public transport” (Letters, 11 March), this option is not open to those who live in rural areas where the distances are greater, there are no pavements or bike paths and public transport is continuously being cut. The problem is exacerbated by the government’s housebuilding programme which has seen mainly Tory councils approving huge new developments (2,000 houses around this small market town alone) without accompanying infrastructure. I fear that car-free nirvana is further away than London-based Halley might imagine.

I agree with George Monbiot (Cars ruin our lives. Within 10 years we must phase them out, 7 March) and Bruce Ross-Smith (Letters, 11 March). However, there is an important point that is missing: we don’t all live in cities. “Close-clustered” is an excellent idea but difficult if you live in a village or small town. Getting to school, work, the doctor, signing on, shopping and meeting friends should be as easy in the country as it is in a city.

A radical way of funding and running public transport in rural areas must be developed in order to drastically reduce cars on our roads and make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians. For example, a network of small electric buses (what has happened to hydrogen power?) could run continuously all day linking villages, hamlets and towns, free to all.

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