"Just because I don't believe in re-regulating them [buses] doesn't mean that I underestimate their huge importance to our transport system."
"I can say formally today that I've learned to love bus lanes. It wasn't always an easy process. But I'm now fully convinced of their importance in delivering the improvements to service reliability that we need."
"I am not modally neutral... This is a mantra that would bite the dust under a new [government]."
"Whilst I resist measures designed just to bully people out of their cars I see it as a crucially important part of the job of Secretary of State to promote lower carbon transport options; to find ways to make it easier for people to make travel choices that generate less pollution; in short, to make it easier for people to be green."
I suppose, had it been 1 April I might have suggested that Jeremy Clarkson had finally seen-the-light and abandoned his hate-filled campaign against any mode of transport other than the motor car, but these are genuine quotes by a member of a political party.
The LibDems? The Greens? Monster Raving Looney, even?
Nope. These quotes were made by none other than the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Theresa Villers of the Conservative Party. They formed part of her speech last month, organised by the pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, the Tories headlined with the hitherto unimaginable "Pressure to be put on local authorities to introduce more bus lanes and bus priority measures".
Perhaps if Sheffield City Council were 'change hands' to Conservative-control, the voluntary Quality Bus Partnership there which fell to bits recently, would be resurrected? Are the chances of pigs flying greater at the prospect of a Tory council being elected in Sheffield or that the hot air many feel the Conservatives are pedalling on public transport will ever come to fruition?
Ms Villiers implied that the current government is "modally neutral". Really? Is this the same current government who has built *fifteen times* more road than new railway and as a recent editorial in trade magazine Transit put it: "[The current Labour Government has] skewed the funding formula so that anything other than road expansion is unlikely to get the green light".
As Robert Jack eloquently states: "NATA, the DfT's cost benefit analysis for appraising transport schemes still penalises schemes that lead to a reduction in fuel duty revenues - i.e. ones that get people out of cars and onto more environmentally-friendly forms of transport, like buses, trains [and trams!]. This perverse rule must be scrapped".
Indeed it must. Who'd have thought that it'd be a Tory administration that could possibly do it though!! (GL)