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Benefits of Public Transport

Visit York and North Yorkshire through Video

Benefits of Public Transport Introduction

Hello. As you can see I am sat behind the extremely familiar steering wheel of the modern day motor car. A vast majority of people today are able to drive and have a car to get them from A to B. For many, car users become as dependent on them as much as a limb or perhaps food and drink. We use them to get to work or school, for leisure and also for shopping as well as medical appointments and even for sports. There are people out there who collect cars as a hobby or just drive around for the sake of it. We consider the car to be a major benefit, but just how much of a benefit are they to us? Are they good for our health? or even our wealth? Are they really a convenience? Do they have an impact on the environment? Do we really need to own one? Granted, the need for a car is dependent on the user and why they might need a car.

In this video, we are going to look at five modes of transport, the car, the bus, the train and the bicycle and the foot. We are going to look at the benefits and the negatives of each mode of transport and at the end, we are going to compare them and receive a clear understanding of which is best for you and your circumstances, public transport, walking and cycling or the motor car!

Let’s Take the Car

Benefits of Public Transport

Benefits With Taking the Car

Certainly, having a car can be a useful tool. They are convenient as they take us directly from our front door directly to our destination or at least somewhere nearby. We can use them for transporting our weekly shop, our children to school, ourselves to work, take us to medical appointments and are also useful for leisure activities too. Those of us who live rurally can benefit greatly as they take us to town or city centres. So yes, cars are extremely flexible and help us to attain independence, inducing reliability as well as dependability. They make life easy especially for those who commute or have school runs daily.

Overall, the benefits of having a car are extensive, but they also have burdens too.

Negatives with Taking the Car

Benefits of Public Transport

Firstly, before we even consider having a car there is one enormous hurdle to jump first. In order to drive a car, we need to pass a theory and a practical test and at any age this is not easy owing to attaining the skills needed and also overcoming our nerves when faced with an examiner. Learning to drive can be very costly, especially if you require a lot of lessons and practice. Another hurdle is that in order to drive you need a license too, and to acquire a full driving license you need to qualify!

If learning to drive and acquiring a license is not expensive enough, you also need to purchase a car in the first place. This too can hit your pocket considerably, no matter if your car is second hand or brand new. Some opt to pay for a vehicle over time, whereas others purchase up front. However, the financial drain doesn’t end here.

Car’s over time require maintenance, they require an MOT, servicing and repairs which can also be costly. Car’s also require fuel and depending on how much and how far you use them, this can soon add up. In addition, cars also incur road tax and of course, you also need insurance that can also be costly too. You may also spend great amounts in car parking too. So without a doubt, before you even jump into the drivers seat, cars can be an ever increasing money pit. However cars have more than a financial impact too.

Car’s collectively can have a huge impact on the environment, and this is before you even begin to use it too. In order to manufacture a car, materials are needed such as steel, rubber and other materials including plastic that all have an impact on the environment. Even after a car has been condemned and no longer worthy of the road, the impact is extensive too because of the residing materials in the environment such as battery acids and plastics. Of course, depending of the type of fuel your car ingests, fumes can be hurled into the atmosphere causing pollution and well and this impacts on health, wildlife, weather and the land and seascape. Therefore, we need to see beyond the dashboard and recognise just how extensive the negative impact is on planet earth and all who live upon it. So cars are costly just as much environmentally as well as financially.

Another negative aspect is finding somewhere to park. We’ve already identified how costly parking can be at times, but you have to find a car park too and that is not as easy as it sounds sometimes! With more and more cars on the road, and of course, cars can be much larger these days, there are bound to be problems finding somewhere to leave your vehicle so you can get on with the rest of your day. Another issue is finding somewhere secure to park because let’s face it, not all car parks have CCTV or are attended in some way. And even if a car park does have CCTV, there is always that sign saying that people leave their cars at their own risk.

Cars also carry a serious air of responsibility too. Not only do cars pose a threat in terms of environment and pollution, but they are also harmful to human and animal life. The reason why taking driving lessons and passing a test is so rigorous is because cars can be dangerous. As soon as you start the car, you could be putting someone else’s life in danger such as family members, pedestrians and even yourself. We oftentimes hear of major accidents in our newspapers and local TV news stations as well. Therefore, when we use a car, we are simply putting the lives of others in our own hands. Cars are high performance these days and as we know, speed kills. This applies even if you are a careful driver with no intention of breaking the land speed record! Let’s not forget the current laws are occasionally ignored such as not using your phone when driving, which put all road users at risk too.

However, in the city mainly but also rurally too, congestion is another issue. The more cars on the road the more likely there is to be congestion and many roads cannot cope with the current amount of traffic they need to carry. This leads us into our next point of interest.

Driving a car can be stressful owing to bad parking, aggressive drivers, road works and many other factors that can make driving to work or leisure stressful and difficult. If you face such stress daily, then this can be harmful on your mental health and that can have an impact on your physical health too. We often hear about road rage, typically as a result of someone’s bad driving or even lack of courtesy and respect for other road users. Yes, driving a car can be driving you mad!

If you are a busy person with your employment, obviously it is very difficult if not impossible to work and drive at the same time. You can only use a phone while driving if you have a handsfree system and using a laptop is certainly out of the question!

So yes, cars give a certain freedom and independence, but they also come at a cost, a cost to environment, a cost to health, a cost to your finances, and above all a cost to life.

Let’s Take the Bus

Benefits of Public Transport

Benefits of Taking the Bus

Fortunately, many towns and cities today have frequent bus services even after government cut-backs. Bus services from city and town centres to suburbs outside can be frequent from every 5 to 10 minutes. From a bus users perspective, you are not pinned down to a timetable as if you miss one, there’s another a few minutes later.

Bus services often have concessions for the elderly who depend on them. They can claim for a bus pass that gives them free or far cheaper travel locally and throughout the country. This is certainly useful for those who cannot walk as far as they used to or are living in reduced circumstances.

Using the bus services are oftentimes less expensive than having a car or using the train services, especially in the fullness of time. There’s just one simple fare to pay and no worries about road tax, insurance, driving lessons, fuel and other bills.

Instead of jumping in the car from home, they encourage a short walk to the bus stop and this not only is good for health but can benefit socially too especially when you speak to other people on at the stop or on the way, strengthening the community.

Without a doubt, many buses in towns and cities as well as rural communities are low emission and many are completely electric powered. Granted electric cars are now being manufactured, but the bus with low emissions can move many more people at a time than a car can, reducing the impact on the environment considerably.

Buses are not limited to local travel around towns and cities, but they can be rural as well as inter-city too. There are many local bus routes that take villagers to the nearby towns and cities. In addition there are oftentimes express buses that run between major cities such as the National Express and in York there is the CityZap that connect York with Leeds with regular buses.

When using a bus service or services, there is no need to learn to drive, pay out for lessons or a new car, no examinations, no driving license applications, no worries about parking, no maintenance costs, no worries about obtaining and paying for fuel and more. So certainly, it has a positive impact on our pocket, our sanity and we oftentimes get better views from the windows especially on the top deck.

Another valuable benefit is that buses help to reduce congestion. Without buses, there would be more cars on the road and let’s not forget that buses shift more people than that of a single car.

Although some modern cars have a USB charging socket and the ability for wifi, it’s certainly not uncommon to find free wifi and USB charging ports on the bus too. The major benefit to the passenger is that this service generally is free of charge whereas in a car you would have to pay for the internet connection. Granted, its not the sort of connection you’d stream a movie on, but it does keep you connected on social media, email, websites and more. This touches on another point, you can work during bus travel especially when you are connected to the internet too. You can use your phone and your laptop and enjoy a coffee or tea while you work and travel at the same time. Hows that for multi-tasking!

Buses can also be more sociable than using a car, especially if you travel alone. In a car you can only have a half-conversation with the voice on the radio, whereas on the bus you can interact with other passengers either at the bus stop or on the bus itself. Granted the bus isn’t designed to be a social gathering, but in my own experience I’ve met and spoken to a lot of fellow passengers so you never truly travel alone.

Some people may consider having to purchase a ticket a chore, but even this is more simpler these days. No longer do you have to worry about having the correct change as you can pay contactless or perhaps use a mobile app to purchase tickets. I often find purchasing tickets in bulk or in advance can be far more less expensive too.

Negatives of Taking the Bus

Like all modes of transport, there are advantages and disadvantages and using the bus is no different. Rural bus services can be limited in the sense of frequency, especially after recent government cutbacks. This can also be applied to late night buses too as they will not run as frequently at night as they do during the day.

Unlike the car, you can’t use a bus service in medical emergencies and you wouldn’t be wise trying! Obviously, you would need an ambulance in such circumstances or a car owner to get you to the hospital.

Another disadvantage is if you have a lot to transport. Granted, there are oftentimes space on the bus for luggage and large items, but buses are not that great if you have a large weekly shop, as in several bags of shopping. You can hardly take your trolly to the bus and unload it at the bus stop as you would with a car. However, this is not to say that taking your shopping on the bus is impossible, it’s just limited.

Another disadvantage of using the bus in terms of inter-city travel, is that it can be slower than the train. Some inter-city buses weave around the roads to collect further passengers before arriving at its destination, and this can be time consuming. On the other hand, the trains also stop along route to pick up and drop off passengers too. Buses are oftentimes restricted to speed limits and congestion as well. Another kind of disadvantage is that if you are travelling inter-city, you may have to make several connections at various bus stations en-route. However, this is often the case on the rail network too.

So yes, the bus can be an asset especially if you live around a town or city with frequent bus services, low fares and low emissions. They certainly have a positive impact on the environment, the wallet, congestion, and your time as you can work during travel. However, on a negative they can be slower than the train if you are travelling long distance.

Let’s Take the Train

Benefits of Public Transport

Benefits of Taking the Train

Certainly, in more recent years the rail network has endured some bad press as far as timetabling, delays and cancellations have been concerned, and I myself have been subject to such occurrences. Even HS2 has been subject to scrutiny recently. On the positive side however, a lot of money has been ploughed into the network recently bringing new rolling stock, more seats, better station facilities and quicker trains.

Certainly, to the passenger, trains have many advantages. For one thing, you can travel across the UK and also into France and the rest of Europe relatively quickly these days thanks to faster trains and of course the Channel Tunnel.

They avoid traffic congestion, traffic lights, road works and other annoyances on the roads. They are also not subject to congestion charges such as entry into London for example.

Trains take you in most cases directly into town and city centres making it easier for passengers engaged in work and leisure pursuits. This is certainly a benefit for shoppers, as well as the elderly and infirm. With the stations being central can make entry into prominent locations immediate and efficient.

We tend to think of trains taking you from city to city, but let’s not forget that they also serve locally too. Many of the larger cities have local stopping services that connect the city centre with suburbs and occasionally in rural destinations. They tend to be a fast way to get around providing there are no cancellations or delays.

We talk about bus services being able to shift more passengers than a single car at a time, but how much more so with a train. Trains tend to be from 1 to 11 carriages long depending on the route, and although the carriages can get overcrowded at busy times, they certainly shift more travellers at a time.

Like the bus, the trains can be sociable places especially if travelling alone. You may have to double up on a seat where conversations can ensue, and you may even get to know people by name if using the same service regularly. This is one benefit you may not necessarily benefit from as a car user.

As you have to walk to the station, or perhaps get the bus there, it encourages you to use your feet which is great for your health and weight. In a car, you would most likely not have to walk to a destination to use it other than your street, driveway or garage.

The rail network has been under fire recently for being overly expensive and one news source deemed it to be “Britain’s biggest rip-off”. Some have said that fares are the highest in Europe. However, how does the price of a ticket compare with using the car? Well, it is certainly a great idea to work out how much you spend on using the car each year and compare it to the price of a season rail ticket, and the difference will depend on where you live and where you travel to. One thing that is certain, to use a train instead of having a car is much less expensive than acquiring a driving license, driving lessons and examinations, fuel, road tax, insurance and car maintenance costs. Therefore, using the train may be more less of a financial woe as you might think, but gain, its dependent on where you live and where you travel to.

Similar to the bus, you don’t even have to visit the booking office any more especially if you use a smartphone app or purchase tickets online. There’s no worries about having the correct change or not losing a printed ticket or even queuing to receive one. In some cases, it can be cheaper booking in advance or online.

Another similarity to bus travel is that you can oftentimes work from a train. You can often use your laptop, use the phone handheld and I’ve even seen employees hold a meeting around a rectangle table. Many services have wifi available although not all do this for free. The more modern and refurbished trains also carry USB charging ports also, if not a standard socket for plugging a charger in.

Of course, we need to know if using the train has less impact on the environment. Well, as mentioned, trains do carry a lot of passengers at once unlike the car so yes, trains do have a positive effect on pollution and the environment. However, not all diesel trains are low emission, especially the older trains of which some are still in use. Not all lines carry overhead line equipment to power electric trains, and not all trains are electric trains. So as far as the environment is concerned, yes they have a positive impact, but at the same time, it could be improved too.

Negatives of Taking the Train

One of the largest let downs on using the trains are the frequent delays and cancellations that occur. Certainly, it has hit the headlines over recent years especially with the scheduling scandal that left many passengers stood on the platform. One of the problems or drawbacks with the railway is if one train fails, it has a knock on effect with trains following behind it as of course, you can’t drive a train around it. This in turn causes line congestion and therefore makes many other services late as a result. Extreme weather can knock down overhead electrical lines or flood railway lines. In rare instances, extreme rainfall has caused landslips closing lines down for a considerable amount of time. These elements, can cause major delays and cancellations. A car or bus however can drive around broken down vehicles and can make alternative routes around roadworks and extreme weather effected areas.

Another negative we’ve touched on already is the fare system. The current fare system is vastly complicated and expensive. As mentioned, it has been suggested that the fares are the highest in Europe. Passengers oftentimes purchase separate tickets between stations en-route because it is cheaper than purchasing one ticket to the destination.

Like the bus services, travelling by train may or may not incur making connections especially travelling long distance. For example, travelling from London to Scarborough would incur making a connection at York.

Another problem is, if you cannot walk to the railway station or perhaps from the arrival station to your destination, you may need to get a taxi and these too can add to the cost of your travel considerably, especially if where you’re heading isn’t on a bus route.

So yes, the train has a positive impact on the environment, they tend to be safe even if they are sometimes unreliable. Depending on where you live and where you’re heading, they can be cheaper than a car especially if you are a frequent traveller. However, they are subject to cancellations and delays caused by bad weather, engineering works or broken down trains. Sadly, the fare system is sometimes complicated and expensive compared to other countries in Europe.

Let’s Go By Foot

Benefits of Public Transport

Benefits of Walking

Without any doubt, walking to work or the shops can be massively beneficial to your physical and mental health as well as your waist size! Walking is good for the heart as well as burning off the calories from the evening meal the night before. It’s recommended to walk at least 30 minutes a day for overall health and most health apps default to 10,000 steps daily. Certainly walking goes a long way towards cardiovascular health, in other words your heart and lungs, and walking to work or school goes a long way to achieving it. If you have a sedentary job such as office work, its always a good idea to walk to your destination.

In relation to mental health of which has come to be more in the foreground of late, walking is great because it improves mood and sleep quality, reduces fatigue, anxiety and stress. In addition it can improve your self-esteem as well.

Walking can oftentimes be more sociable as you meet other people on the way and you can often get to know other people in your area by name. You may even walk to work or the city centre with people you know.

Probably the best news to most is that you don’t need any cash outlay to walk to your destination, except for a decent pair of shoes of course. Walking doesn’t require a license, insurance, road tax, lessons and a examination, but shoes may require maintenance if not replacing from time to time. This is the most inexpensive form of transport that there is and there’s no training necessary!

As far as the environment goes, except for constantly renewing shoes, there is very little in the way of environmental impact at all. Walking by far is the best mode of transport for protecting the environment.

Negatives of Walking

However, no matter how beneficial walking is for overall physical and mental health, it also has some drawbacks too, and I’m not just referring to replacing shoe leather constantly.

Obviously, walking cannot be a goal for those who are infirm, very elderly or have some form of mobility issue. If you can’t do it, you can’t do it.

Certainly, bad weather can have an impact on being able to walk. Granted, you can use appropriate clothing and an umbrella in certain conditions, but you may not want to walk very far when the weather is extreme.

Another entirely different drawback is that walking at night could be dangerous, especially in winter when it gets dark early. If you have to walk in the dark, then its a good idea to carry a personal attack alarm or take someone else with you.

I’ve left the most obvious until last, but walking has a limitation to how far you can sojourn per session. Certainly the more you walk the better your health, but of course, you can’t walk fifty miles to the next city, not within a day anyway.

Walking is probably the slowest form of transport and you get nowhere fast! So allow yourself plenty of time if you choose to walk from A to B.

Let’s Go By Bike

Benefits of Public Transport

Benefits of Cycling

Walking is great exercise when done regularly, but cycling is perhaps even better for you. Getting slightly out of breath can benefit your cardiovascular and strengthen your lungs and heart. It also strengthens your legs and feet to that of a mountain goat.

Additionally, cycling is great for weight control as it burns far more calories than walking. So cycling is a great way to lose weight and keep it down if practiced regularly. Of course these days you can get indoor bicycles, one of those pieces of exercise equipment that is stored in the garage for eons. Cycling to work, school or just to the shops is a great way to include it in your daily life.

In the same way as walking, cycling not only benefits you physically but mentally too. Again, it improves mood and sleep quality, reduces fatigue, anxiety and stress. In addition it can improve your self-esteem as well.

Unlike using a car, cycling can be safer when using a dedicated cycle path such as a converted disused railway line for example. Many cycle path’s are not on roads so it is safer to stick to these rather than use main roads throughout the town or city.

Of course, you don’t need a license, no road tax, insurance is optional, and purchasing a bike can be as expensive as you want to be as they vary in price range. Plus, there are certainly no tests to take and you can learn to ride a bike in a field with soft grass!

Granted, although some of materials used to construct a bicycle can impact the environment, overall cycling is great for combating global warming and you rarely see pollution coming from a bicycle.

Negatives of Cycling

On the flip side of the coin, we can safely say that cycling on roads can be dangerous, and not every driver is courteous towards cyclists. In bad winter weather such as snow and ice, cycling is precarious. It can also be dangerous at nighttime unless you wear high visibility clothing as well as powerful cycle lamps.

Rain and wind can also have a bearing on cycling, especially if that rain and wind is against you. It may even render a hairstyle you hadn’t accounted for too.

Another drawback with cycling is that when you reach your destination, you may require a shower owing to perspiration. Of course, the summer months would be the worst. Wearing breathable cycling attire would help and you could alway change when you arrive at your destination.

Granted, you don’t need to pass a test, but you do need to learn how to ride a bike. We learn to walk from infancy, but as for learning to ride a bike. Most people can ride a bike from childhood, but this is not always the case.

Similar to walking, the amount of distance you can travel is limited. However, you can take bicycles on trains at times but it is best to get advice from the train operator first. Unless you’ve won the Tour de France, it is unlikely you’ll be able to cycle from London to York anytime soon.

So yes, cycling is a really great way to improve your overall health, perhaps more than walking. Cycles are often relatively inexpensive compared to a car, and much cheaper to maintain. However, they can be precarious when cycling on roads rather than a dedicated path. As well, they are more of a dry weather activity than a winter pursuit. Above all, they are environmentally friendly and have very little impact of global warming.

Public Transport Has Many Benefits Conclusion

Benefits of Public Transport

When we analyse various forms of everyday methods of getting from A to B, it is obvious to me that cars and other motorised vehicles are costly when it comes to the environment, our health, our pocket and the lives of ourselves and others.

Buses are not free from having an impact on the environment but a majority of vehicles are low emission and are able to transport more passengers at a time. They are also relatively inexpensive to travel on and encourage a healthy walk to the bus stop. Much of the time, buses are extremely regular too depending on where you live.

Trains are by far the quickest way to get around the country but unfortunately, the most expensive form of public transport. However, they are prone to lengthy delays and cancellations, and not always reliable in extreme weather. However, they do help to lessen the impact on the environment although this could be improved further with more electric powered trains and lines.

Walking and cycling are ideal for shorter distances as they cost less to the environment if at all, as well as our pocket. However, they are not fun in severe weather and can be precarious in winter and on dark nights. Walking and cycling are the most efficient and environmentally friendly method of getting you from A to B.

The question is however, which one of these methods of getting from A to B most appropriate for you? Can you live without a car? Can you rely upon public transport to cater for you and your family’s needs? Well, this is for you to answer, and you may find that you can give up your car to benefit your health, your pocket, your life and your environment. Until next time.

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