Following Professor Lewis Lesley's letter (NCE last week) readers may like to know that I recently needed to reach London from Northampton by 8am. The rail fare was £34 return so I tried the bus. This fare was £9 return.
The journey took two hours to Marble Arch and I was able to read, use the laptop, or sleep all the way. In comparison the fast train takes 50 minutes but ordinary ones take 80 minutes.
However, the fuel consumption per passenger kilometre of rail is two to three times that of an express bus and, contrary to popular belief, the death rate by bus on nonurban roads is less than by rail.
The bus also makes a profit and pays tax. The train requires billions in subsidy.
Paul F Withrington (M), 12 Redland Drive, Northampton, NN2 8QE.