“Unpredictable trains are not the alternative to strike-free cars”

Mike Rutherford thinks more people should swap public transport season tickets for a set of car keys

Opinion - car

Britain’s top car salesman during this shamefully sabotaged summer of 2022 is… strike-obsessed railway bloke Mick Lynch. 

The RMT boss and his like-minded, pugnacious pals in the heavily subsidised bus, train, tram, London Underground and airline industries are back to their bad old ways of contemptuously disserving the travelling public they are, er, contracted to serve.  

Fair enough, if employees are in dispute with their employers over genuine issues such as pay, safety or security, the two sides are more than entitled to go head to head in an effort to resolve their differences, before signing negotiated settlements. 

Yet Militant Mick and other, lesser-known union reps in different sectors of the public transport/mass transit sector effectively do their ‘negotiating’ by beating up (in the metaphorical sense, of course) the already bruised and battered travelling public.              

Shame on these work-shy ‘workers’ for using fellow British citizens (never mind foreign tourists and other UK visitors) as pawns in their selfish game. Their familiar ‘workers united’ chant only seems to apply if you’re a transport ‘worker’ – so, to hell with everyone else trying to earn a crust.   

The result of this brutal brand of antisocial industrial action that dumps most of the pain and misery on the wrong people? Innocent children, pensioners and countless other people (including those with mental or physical disabilities) are left stuck and abandoned. All these kids, women and men ask is to travel from A to B; that, after paying high prices up-front for tickets, they’re allowed to go to places of education, exams or work. Or maybe they need to travel for food shopping, charity activities, healthcare, mercy missions, whatever.

So how does all this land Militant Mick the unlikely title of Car Salesman No. 1? Simple. He’s just confirmed that public transport unions such as his have the same sort of bullying, ‘stuff the travelling public’ attitude today as they had half a century ago. Effectively, he and his cloth-capped comrades are reminding you that hopelessly unpredictable trains are definitely not the alternative to strike-free private cars.

If your annual rail season ticket costs you, say four or five grand a year and you decide enough’s enough, that sort of money will buy you everything from a big old high-mileage car outright, to a nice little zero-miles one on lease. 

It’s like this. If you’re the type to leave your destiny, plus travel destination departures (assuming there are any) and arrivals (ditto), in the hands of others, then you’re a public transport or mass transit person. You have little or no control over who or what is transporting you, assuming the ‘workers’ can be bothered to transport you to start with.

Conversely, if you’re more of a self-reliant soul who prefers to take their destiny in their own hands 24/7, swap those grubby train, tube, bus and other tickets for a set of car keys. It’ll be the best break for freedom and liberty that you’ll ever make. Just ask Militant Mick – a regular car user, particularly when his strikes cause his trains to grind to a halt.

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