Memorandum by Polybus Development Associates
TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
The White Paper has a very brief mention of
the function of taxis as a factor in public transport. It is our
view that the "door to door" facility of the taxi offers
the best approach to weaning the motorist away from the private
car for SHORT journeys of up to seven miles which represent 80
per cent of all journeys by private car.
However there are many problems to be overcome
mainly price, reliability and 24 hour access. The enclosed appendix
A describes the features which an alternative to the private car
must provide if a proportion of drivers are to find the alternative
Appendices B1 and B2 describe the POLYBUS system
in brief and indicate how the necessary features can be
obtained with a system which organises a number of shared vehicles
each of which can carry passengers from and to up to four different
origins and destinations within a 30 square mile area.
Appendix C gives a resume of the features available
from a system such as POLYBUS.
The POLYBUS SYSTEM described in the attached
papers, complements other modes of transport by using current
technology to process the enormous amount of data required to
provide a "demand responsive" system which is shared
by the users.
POLYBUS provides easy and reliable access to
other modes of transport at rail and bus stations, bus stops,
park and ride centres, out of town shops, hospitals, leisure centres
and so on in a way which buses cannot. TRAINS, BUSES and TAXIS
will benefit from the reduced use of the private car.
The key to reduced car use is for the user to
know that an alternative of equal or more comfort and convenience
is available VERY quickly and that he, she or they can go to the
station, shops etc., without any need to park or walk whatever
the weather. If the car is left at home, ALL further journeys
that day will be made by one or other form of public transport.
If the alternative is not available, then, broadly speaking, NO
further journeys that day will be made by any form of public transport.
The POLYBUS SYSTEM requires a leap of imagination
and an understanding of what is possible with small computers
carried on the vehicle, but even more is the leap to the idea
of a "door to door" service, 24 hours a day which is
within the reach of everyone who can afford a telephone. The leap
must be made by politicians at Government and Local levels to
encourage the public servants to delve into the possibilities
becoming available through the efforts of individual companies,
so that the "stick" which is being wielded to reduce
car use is balanced by the provision of a real alternative "carrot"
which the conventional bus has been unable to provide. The White
Paper does go a long way in opening up the transport discussion,
but integration is a pious hope until the continuing fall in public
road passenger transport use and provision is reversed.
This response is more hurried, (and briefer,)
than I would wish as I am about to leave for Sicily to a conference
on the Promotion of the Rational use of Energy in Urban Public
Transport Systems. POLYBUS improves the productivity of both the
man, the machine and the energy used when compared to the car
and with the increased use due to ease of access, of the bus and