Central London Motorists
It’s been nearly three years since I moved to London. Whilst the
place has many down-falls (an abundance of rude, manner-less people,
huge amounts of litter, smog etc) it has many benefits (thriving
cultural scene, plenty of unique bars in Covent Garden, comprehensive
The one problem it does have is traffic.
London probably has some of the worst traffic I’ve ever seen in the
UK. Couple this with one of the most best public transport
infrastructures in the UK and it makes you wonder why on earth people
decide its sensible to sit in their own metal box in a traffic
Before you say anything, don’t get me wrong, London’s public
transport isn’t as good as it should be, but when you have lived
outside the Capital and tried to relay on public transport, then you
really appreciate what you get in London.
I doubt most of the people who moan about the London Underground
have ever tried to get back from Manchester to a town seven miles away
after 11:30pm, or travel around Cornwall without a car. Yes the tube
is creaking at the scenes, but it runs fast, reasonably reliable
services from early in the morning until after midnight.
There are large numbers of night buses – a 15 minute service from
Central London to Ealing with a journey costing a pound. How often
does that happen? The buses are even nice!
So despite this, why on earth do people insist on sitting in their
car clogging up the roads?
Don’t be a BEEP, get the bus!
We’re never going to get rid of motor vehicles from London – some
people need to be driving round. A fact that’s not going to change.
But many people don’t need to be in a car. And those that do venture
into central London, often aren’t the most considerate drivers you’ll
Working in central London, I have much experience of people in
cars. Even trying to cross the road outside the tube station is
taking your life in your hands. Red lights mean nothing to some
I once saw a car have the misfortune to break down at that
crossing. Well that was it. Everyone sat behind it shouting and
beeping their horns, cos obviously would make it move again. (Not one
person considered that it might be sensible to help push the poor car
out of the way…)
Let me cross!
However what has really been getting on my nerves is the
self-righteous attitude of some of these drivers.
Transport For London, the body which oversees transport in the
capital, has recently re-timed several sets of traffic lights with the
aim of giving pedestrians more time to cross. This has naturally got
the ‘poor’ motorist in uproar.
However as a poor pedestrian who has to suffer at the hands of
these drivers, I’m all for it. There are probably more people who are
pedestrians in the capital than any other place in Britain, and for
them, crossing the road is a torment.
The amount of time given to cross the road isn’t actually the
issue. On most pedestrian crossings I’ve used, the time has been just
right. The trouble is, we don’t get to use it.
Barely a day goes by when I’m trying to cross the road near work at
Aldwych, that someone doesn’t zoom through deliberately when the
traffic lights are on red, and the green man showing. And lo, that
means it takes us longer to cross the road.
If drivers in central London actually took notice of traffic
signals (and it sounds such a stupid thing to have to say!), hey guess
what would have happened? Well for starters, us pedestrians wouldn’t
have needed the red lights lengthening!
You Bring It On Yourselves, I Have No Sympathy.
So the motorists are in indignant rage thanks to a problem of their
own causing. So they sit in a traffic jam and moan about it.
Constantly. It’s all apparently a conspiracy against the motorist.
Well if it is, good for the conspiracy. Us pedestrians deserve
some respect and recognition for once. If you’re stupid enough to
drive in central London just because you have a car, then you get what
you deserve all you get.
I have no gripe with people having a legitimate reason for driving
in London, but so many people don’t. The trouble is, they’re a very
small minority, but ridiculously vocal.
Well moaning about it whilst sat in your car in a traffic jam isn’t
going to do anything. You know what would? Leaving your car and
going by the excellent public transport network would help.
Think Of A World…
Just think what would happen if everyone who needlessly drove into
The buses would be able to run faster and more reliably, the
emergency services could respond faster, the air would be less smoggy
and the capital less grimey. The fares collected by the extra
passengers would help pay for more transport improvements.
Well I can dream. Cos lets face it, if you’re stupid enough to
drive in central London, you’re too stupid to see the bigger picture.
Maybe congestion charging will help. Hit these people in the
pockets. But whatever you do Transport for London, you leave those
traffic light timings in the favour of pedestrians.
Pedestrians and public transport users are the majority in this
town, and central London drivers should never forget it. Next time
you get stuck in a jam at Holborn, don’t look to me for sympathy.