Travel Costs

The Government are working hard to get everyone out of their cars and onto public transportation. They have raised the road tax on most family cars, based on carbon emissions. When it was announced in the Budget, it was made to sound like it was prospective – applying to cars manufactured from now on and encouraging new car buyers to choose more enviro-friendly models. Instead it has been made retrospective – it applies to all cars from 2001. That means anyone who bought the “wrong” car in the last seven years will now be penalised by about £245 ($500) a year.

But if you want to save money by getting out of your car, you will have to pay for the train. Of course unless your train starts at your station, you may very well have to stand for the entire journey. After all, a train ticket does not guarantee a seat, but only agrees to carriage – that the train will be going to the destination.

You also have to be careful where you stand on the train. Nichola Myhill found out that even if every breathable standing space is taken in the second class carriages, and next to the toilets between the carriages, do not stand in the luggage area just inside first class. There is no excuse for first class passengers to be soiled by the relative proximity of the cattle class. They shouldn’t have to bear with the commoners standing next to their first class luggage.

Nicola may pay £4,000 per year for a season ticket, but that doesn’t give her the right or priviledge of standing inside first class, next to rows of empty seats. She was duly fined £69 ($140) on the spot for such outrageous behaviour. (The fine is calculated as twice the cost of the first class ticket.) If she can’t squeeze into the toilet area, she just has to miss work.

This story was carried in several national newspapers. In the comments section to one, a reader proposed a logical solution: “Perhaps we should open up the roof like they do in other third-world countries?”

More Family Unfriendly Policies

The Government has decided that it’s not doing enough to damage and disadvantage the family.

In a time of record oil prices, the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to raise the cost of petrol by another 2p per litre in taxes. That’s about 15¢ a gallon, for those of you keeping score Stateside. I already pay $8.22 a gallon.

On top of this, he will increase the price of family cars by £2,000. He will tack on a “showroom tax” on larger cars. It is an eco-tax to get people to drive smaller, less gas guzzling vehicles like Smart cars. Have you ever tried to fit a family in a Smart Car?

Of course this is on top of the road tax. I have mentioned this before in a previous blog incarnation, but in the Texas county where I was born and raised, it costs $66.80 per year.  Here it can be as much as $570.00 a year.

They just keep sticking to the family.