Should public transport be compulsory in certain areas?

What follows is my first attempt to complete a LNAT essay question (under exam conditions including 40 minute time limit). I am putting this here  to archive my attempts at timed essay writing; more for my personal benefit than others. If however, you have any suggestions on how I can improve my answers I will happily welcome them; but I won’t make changes to this essay as this is my attempt “as is” (including spelling mistakes and grammar).

The key question on this matter is what will benefit the general public more. It is a contentious issue, which will undoubtedly split opinion within the public, and it is important to consider this subject thoroughly before casting judgment on its appropriateness.

The main argument for introducing compulsory public transport is to reduce the negative effects caused by the other forms of transport available. There are many areas of heavy congestion within the UK, in which many of the key problems caused by the oversaturation of British roads could be reduced by the introduction of compulsory public transport. The current problems are caused by to the dominance of the car as the primary method of transport. Some of the problems this causes include pollution; both in the resultant fumes from the combustion process as well as the constant noise caused by cars. Pollution caused by combustion is of particular concern, as this affects not only our generation, but also generations to come. Although this type of combustion has only been in full effect for c.75 years, its impact is already noticeable. While this could easily be reduced by introducing more efficient transportation methods like electric motoring, the development and adoption of such technology is expensive, and it potential benefit to society when contrasted to the other areas where public money could be invested is questionable. Possibly the most obvious method to reduce negative effects of inefficient transport is to adopt compulsory public transport. This at first seems a controversial proposal, however, the ongoing shift in focus towards more environmentally friendly transportation methods is already in full swing. Companies are increasingly promoting staff to carpool; schools encourage students to walk where possible, or to make the most environmentally friendly journey when travelling longer distances. It is important to bear in mind that this is only an argument for adoption of this proposal within certain areas, particularly highly urbanized areas in which most benefit can be gained from such changes.

The changes to the environment, which transportation causes, are something that has happened throughout civilization. The roads of the Romans, the lochs of the Victorians are all lasting signs of human settlement, which are debatable for their effect on the landscape. It is important to consider how our transportation footprint will change the landscape for our children.

Making public transport compulsory has several benefits to end users, but it is important to consider the financial implications of adopting such a larger change. Increasing the number of users of public transport, whether state funded or otherwise would mean more money would be generated through public transport. Of this increased profit a larger amount of money would be available for improving public transport. On the other side of this argument, it is important to remember that an increased number of users on the current public transport systems would be likely to place a strain on the resources available. While further research into the financial suitability of making public transport is needed, indeed a full enquiry is necessary before committing to such a radical change; because of the larger capital generated by public transport, combined with the reduced outlay governments would have to invest in the obsolete transport methods I would feel safe in making the assumption that making public transport compulsory is not only financially viable, but good use of public investment for a long term reward.

While it is important not to disregard the stresses and other ailments caused by overpopulated public transport, we must also compare this to transport in general. Other problems include the safety risks which having such a wide plethora of transport available in such a limited space can introduce. Motorbikes, cars, cycles, buses, taxis, trains can all be found in most urban areas of Britain and this variety of transport requires a wide range of regulation in order to maintain safety. The easiest way to avoid accidents is to simplify the process and reduce it to its simplest constituents. By making public transport compulsory, we can better regulate transport in general and like in a safer environment.

While there are several drawbacks to making public transport compulsory, it does provide some key benefits including; safety, a better environment for both us and generations to come, economic gain. These benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and I am of the view that public transport should be compulsory in certain, particularly highly urbanized, areas.


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