Much has been written about sustainable transport, I am going to discuss unsustainable transport.
The city of Nottingham has a tram system (I have purposely not used a picture of it). We are told that any forward and progressive city must have a tram system. Apparently it is a sign of prosperity and forward thinking. Essential for success even.
Definition of Sustainable
Another argument is that it is a green and sustainable method of transport.
Let us discuss the term sustainable. It is most frequently associated with its green credentials, and indeed this is important. However, it is by no means the full picture.
The world of profit and loss
The world that we live in here in the United Kingdom, demands that we have a robust economy. If we want something, it needs to be paid for.
On that basis, to be a sustainable form of transport, the operating organisation must pay attention to its profit and loss account.
The accounts do not necessarily demand a profit (that depends on the type of organisation). It must, however, be able to pay its bills reliably and consistently. In order to do that, their income must at least match its outgoings. Pretty simple. If it does not meet this simple criteria, I would have to suggest that the it is not a sustainable method of transport.
Nottingham Express Transit
Nottingham express transit, the operator of the Nottingham tram system holds many accolades, poor customer service, unreliable and losing a lot of money.
Looking at publicly available accounts for the company (just search on companies house), it is notable that in the last 5 years they have never made a profit. In fact, they have lost 10’s of millions of pounds. How is this sustainable?
Proud of their stupidity
The local council and Nottingham Express Transit have recently put forward proposals to extend the system to neighbouring towns and Cities. Namely Derby and Leicester.
Given that they can’t maintain the existing system, what makes them think they could maintain a much larger one?
Not only this, but Nottingham, Derby and Leicester are already linked with fast and reliable train services as well as express coach services.
I can only conclude that these people are so proud of their stupidity that they want to show it off to the world.
We can’t afford it
Based on the current economic climate along with the fact that the concerned council is nearly bankrupt, I would have to suggest that we can’t afford it. Even if we could, should we?
Is it time to acknowledge that the recent love affair with trams is fundamentally flawed from a financial perspective?