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Ride quality is more important than fares

Letters

Professor Begg repeats the mantra that public transport fares are too high and must be reduced (NCE 19 October). He points out that rail fares have increased 70% and bus fares 50% in the last 20 years.

It is ironic therefore that rail use has increased 25% and bus use declined 10% while car use has grown 20% in five years.

Car costs are still higher than public transport fares. Market research shows consistently that quality service is more important than fares, which usually comes fourth or fifth as a reason for not using public transport.

It is in the interests of private bus companies to maintain and increase the number if bus users. But it could be argued that they are already subsidised enough by the low vehicle excise duty and the fuel duty rebate.

However, for less than £500M all urban areas could be given Dutch style cycle networks to directly attract the 70% of car trips which are under 8km long.

That would be both sustainable and provide a real challenge for mainly car driving civil engineers.

Professor Lewis Lesley, Liverpool John Moores University

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