Despite its dented public image, public transport remains a better option in the long run.
To begin with, public transport helps in environmental conservation through efficiency in energy consumption, reduction in air pollution as well as traffic congestion. Moreover, public transport is cost effective given the efficiency in land use, reduced payments on repairs and insurance of vehicles as well as enhancing safety of the passengers. On the other hand, private transport has been cited as a means of transport for the middle class due to its expensive nature. Besides, private transport contributes to increased pollution as a result of high consumption of energy and burning of most of world’s fuel. It also increases traffic congestion as well as consuming a lot of space on the streets as well as parking areas. Finally, private transport is cited as unsafe compared to public means. According to the National Safety Council public transport is about hundred and seventy times safer than private means. However, private transport has been preferred by many people lately due to its reliability, comfort as well as speed and only those who can not afford to buy private cars use public transport.
It therefore calls for investment in the public transport to enhance its competitiveness due to the aforementioned long-term benefits. Some of the investment funds should be sourced from taxation of the private transport. Public transport has proven beneficial to the general public in the long-term compared to the use of private cars in many instances. At the outset, public transport is generally environmentally friendly. The fuel consumption by the public transport is lower hence helps in energy conservation. Consequently, reduction in the world’s petroleum burnt minimizes air pollution. On the other hand, noise levels as well as congestion on the roads are highly reduced. The latter is attributed to the fact that many people can use fewer buses compared to the many cars needed to transport similar number of passengers.
Besides, public transport is more economical compared to the private means. Firstly, it is cost-effective in terms of the auto-maintenance, parking as well the cost of gas. Public transport attracts minimal payments on repairs and insurance.
Additionally, it provides job opportunities to the servicemen hence improving the living standards of many citizens. Furthermore, it helps the business industry through mass transportation of people and luggage. Thirdly, this mode of transport is also efficient in space utilization. Public transport is efficient in land use as it requires minimal parking space in addition to consuming less space on the streets.
There is little doubt that private cars offer comfort, reliability as well as speed to those with high expectations in those areas. Consequently its rise as a preferred means of transport has been witnessed in the recent past and the upward trend is still imminent. According to Simpson only individuals with low expectations would contemplate using public transport compared to private cars (11).
He argues that private cars offer an extension of home comfort including CD players; stereo as well as radio in addition to flexibility and speed hence many middle class people prefer it to public transport (Simpson, 1994, 10). However, the long term effects of this mode of transport are enormous. To begin with, private cars contribute highly to the degradation of the environment through air as well as noise pollution. Private cars are cited to be high consumers of energy thereby emitting a lot of smoke given their high number on the streets. Besides, the cars emit carbon dioxide gas that is attributed to global warming. Consequently, air is polluted and such things as acid rains and smog are inevitable.
Due to their high numbers on the streets, private cars contribute to traffic congestion in the cities and towns thereby jeopardizing transportation. Moreover, private cars compromise the safety of passengers. According to Simpson individuals using private cars as a means of transport are nine times likely to die in accidents compared to those using other means such as rail (2). Besides, Faulks argues that private cars are inefficient in land use as they consume a lot of space for parking as well as in the streets (146). He further stresses on the expensiveness of such transport means compared to public transport. Hoogma cites the costs incurred in the repair and maintenance of such private cars as factors contributing to the expensive nature of the mode of transport (128). Furthermore, payments of insurance, cost of parking, as well as cost of gas are colossal (Hoogma, 2002, 129). Job opportunities for the operators are also lost when such mode of transport is adopted.
In a nutshell, private cars have negative effects to the public and natural environment in the long-term despite its comfort compared to public transport. It contributes to environmental degradation, traffic congestion, loss of job opportunities as well as jeopardizing road safety. However, the public still prefers it to public transport due to the problems facing the latter means of transport.
Consequently, a policy that involves taxation of private cars should be implemented to discourage its use as well as preference by the public and instead upgrade the public transport to the efficient and effective levels (Jeanrenaud et al, 1999, 6). The funds accruing from such taxation should be invested in the public transport to elevate it to standards that are competitive to the private mode.
Despite the heightened preference of private cars by the public compared to public transport, investment in the latter is not only viable economically but also safe and environmentally friendly in the long run. As mentioned above, private transport contributes to environmental degradation; traffic congestion, increased road accidents, as well as loss of job opportunities hence should be discouraged through enactment of suitable policy notably increased taxation. Such funds should be invested in public transport that has proven beneficial to the public and natural environment in the long-term. For a better and greener future, an investment in an economically and environmentally sound and safe transport mode is fundamental.
Faulks, Rex. International transport: an introduction to current practices and future trends. 5th edition. London: Kogan Page Publishers. 2000. Print.
Hoogma, Remco. Experimenting for sustainable transport: the approach of strategic niche management. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.
2002. Print. Jeanrenaud et al. Management and funding of urban public transport: report. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. 1999. Print.
Simpson, Barry. Urban public transport today. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis, 1994. Print.