Thursday, February 15, 2007

Transport, its not working...

The Department for Transport (DfT) is the Government department in the UK for, well, erm, transport.

And just a few months after Home Secretary (he's in charge of The Home Office), declared that said Home Office was "unfit for purpose", it would appear that the DfT may also be failing in its responsibilities.

Yesterday the House of Commons Transport Committee (oh how they love their committee's in the House of Commons), was told that the DfT has failed to reach five out of seven of its own targets for improvements in public transport, pollution and congestion.

The cynics out here are not suprised of course that a government department, who set their own targets, cannot then meet their own targets, but the chairperson of the Transport Committee went further than that to state that given the state of the department at the moment it is unlikely that they will meet any of the targets that they have set for the next five years.

This is the same DfT and the same Commons Transport Committee that earlier this week were declaring that road tolls were the way forward for this country, a highly complex hi-tech satellite tracking network which would record every movement of your vehicle on every road in the UK then send you a bill at the end of the month depending on when and where you had driven your car - it sounded just a little too hi-tech for a government department to think up all on its own and just a little too complicated for a civil servant to administrate, and now we are reminded, from their very own mouths, that the DfT cannot cope with the volume of work that they set for themselves.

Having blogged for over a year on the debacle that was the proposed Leeds Supertram Scheme, a scheme designed to cure Leeds of traffic congestion, a scheme that was scrapped at the very last hopur (literally) because HM Government failed to meet their own side of the bargain that was the Private Funding Initiative that was to pay for it, we (the royal we) are not at all suprised that transport in the UK is a mish-mash of non-cohesive systems and routes, plans and ideas that are doomed to failure, and completely fictional projects that could never be budgeted for even if we discovered the worlds largest oilfield (again) within our sovereign seas.

For once Gwyneth Dunwoody, chair of the Transport Committee seems to be speaking some sense (for a Minister) when she states "
road pricing would not solve all the problems of the road network, and public transport had to be improved and made more affordable as well" or could it just be that she has taken note of the huge level of protest in the last seven days over her departments road charging proposals and is making the first attempt at a retreat from the kite-flying that happens when Government makes its proposals known by surreptitious "leaks" of information to the press ?

No comments: