Thursday, 31 July 2008

Does the media not understand why people drive cars?

Another tollway scare story in the SMH today:

THE State Government's secret plans for an underground inner-city motorway connected to the M4 will lead to citywide gridlock that undermines its own transport and clean air policies, says the Steer report, a cabinet-level review obtained by the Herald.

Blah blah blah. This is just another silly attack by the SMH on the use of the private automobile - if those socialists had their way, we'd all be walking to work wearing Mao suits. I am all for riding a bike to work, but that decision has to be one freely made by the individual concerned, not coerced by some state instrumentality that knows what's good for you. I can't stand a media organ that is constantly harping on about freedom of the press, and accused HoWARd of silencing dissent, then trying its hardest to clamp down on a freedom so important to the rest of us - freedom of movement. Freedom to go where we want, when we want and by whatever means we want, without cowtowing to any rules except those that govern safe and civilised behaviour on the roads.

Remember the "Pass laws" in South Africa that the likes of the SMH campaigned against so hard during the aparthied era? Those laws restricted where blacks could live, where they could travel to and all sorts of other things. The bloody watermelons at the SMH seem to be all in favour of bringing in that kind of system for everybody, but cloaking it in a "save the planet" mantra.

I should get back to what I was going to talk about - the reasons why there are so many cars and trucks on the roads.

The stupid journalists at the SMH behave like they believe that all that wicked congestion is brought about by people driving around on unnecessary personal errands. What they fail to consider is that a huge amount of driving is done for business reasons. I used to lease a car, and work paid 40% of my motoring costs because that is about the percentage of work related travel that I did each year. Most of that travel was non-negotiable; I could wake up on Saturday morning and decide that it was too cold to drive to Bondi for a swim, but I couldn't ignore a call from a far flung office to go out there and fix whatever problems they were having.

Couriers can't just decide not to deliver 10% of their parcels (although you can do that if you work for Australia Post).

Truck drivers can't decide to not deliver the last 20% of their petrol deliveries to service stations.

Photocopier repairmen can't decide to ignore 25% of their repair calls.

Vitamin saleswomen can't decide to fail to make 25% of their sales calls to health food shops.

Newspaper delivery vans can't decide to not deliver bundles of papers to 20% of the newsagents on their route.

Travel is so inelastic when it comes to higher petrol prices and tolls because business just has to suck up the increased costs and get on with it. They might make some changes at the margins - improve the efficiency of their delivery routes, or move to more fuel efficient vehicles, but in the end, very little business travel will move to rail or bus - it's too slow and inefficient. You try making 10 sales calls to businesses in a suburb by catching the bus.

The SMH - staffed by people not living in the real world.

1 comment: said...

I am full on into riding.

25% of photocpy repaimans should ride teh bike. Suckerzz.