Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Scots like their cars: "Let me sound an alarm to your conscience"*

Aside from its post-First World War attachment to welfare-state socialism, there is much to admire about Scotland, its people, and its culture: the distilleries, the wind-swept natural beauty, bag-pipe music, the poetry of Robert Burns, and more.  Add something else: the Scots' affinity for the motor car.

The Scottish national government has released survey results which some find "sobering" (apparently bureaucratese Gaelic for "depressing"), according to The [Scotland] Herald:
The number of people taking public transport in Scotland has remained low as motorists continue to opt to use cars, Government figures show.
Over the past four years, the proportion of people who travel by bus – which accounts for the highest number of public transport users – as their main mode of travel has declined from 11.2% to 8.6%. Just 1.9% of Scots mention rail as their main mode of transport, a figure that has increased only marginally over the last four years.
The figures, contained in the Scottish Government’s Household Survey Travel Diary, were described as “sobering” by sustainable transport charity Sustrans yesterday.
Overall, just over half of respondents to the survey – 51% – said the car was their main mode of travel, while average car occupancy was consistent with previous years at 1.6.
The latest results show a marginal increase in the proportion of people favouring car travel over the past decade, though it is lower than a peak of 54% in 2006.

But then the modern-day secular Calvinists have to reprove their fellow men:
John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, said the results showed greater action was needed to achieve a shift from Scotland’s car dependency to more sustainable forms of travel.
He said: “These figures are a sobering reminder of where we are. Scotland is at the bottom of the heap in getting people out of their cars, on to public transport and taking up healthy forms of active travel."
(Nothing about economically sustainable modes of travel!)

[*  Robert Burns, "The Kirk of Scotland's Alarm" (1789), lines 1-5:
Orthodox! orthodox, who believe in John Knox,
Let me sound an alarm to your conscience:
A heretic blast has been blown in the West,
"That what is no sense must be nonsense,"
Orthodox! That what is no sense must be nonsense.]


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