|London, 8 Jun 2000.
For immediate release.
ROX, the 'Rescue Oxford' alliance of local traders, who have seen business fall by over £10 million since the OTS was introduced a year ago, are calling for an independent inquiry into the scheme which they say has been a disaster right from day one. They point out that the four main "accomplishments" of the OTS have been:
"Greater bus use is not only a blight to the environment*, it happens only as a result of Hobson's Choice," says the ABD's Roads and Traffic spokesman, Mark McArthur Christie. "As motorists are banned from using roads they have paid for several times over, what choice is there? Only one other alternative exists, and as ROX has pointed out, many potential visitors are opting for it: they are taking their business elsewhere."With a County Officer admitting to ROX that it will be two years at the earliest before there is a return of economic vitality to Oxford, many small businesses will go to the wall. Any upturn in economic activity will in any case only happen with some relaxation of the harsh anti-car regime.
This situation has already come to pass in Stroud, where pedestrianisation was reversed after it turned the centre shopping area into a ghost town, and in Henley on Thames, where an angry crowd estimated at 800 demanded the resignation of the mayor at a public meeting.
Like ROX, the ABD demands that an independent inquiry is set up immediately to review the shambles that the Oxford Transport Strategy was always destined to be, and that any similar plans elsewhere are scrapped.
* Self-proclaimed 'green' Councillors clearly remain blissfully ignorant of the National Environment Technology Centre's finding that buses pollute more than cars, even taking their greater passenger carrying capacity into account, and that public transport as a whole is less sustainable than private transport. Automotive Advisers and Associates, Hilden, report that buses and trains consume 60% more energy and take up 300% more public space per person transported, compared to cars and motorcycles.
External link to ROX