For pretty much the fifth day out of five this week there are miles of queues in Kent heading to the Dartford crossing.
Knock-on effects are seeing traffic backed up around Dartford and Greenwich.
While varying incidents have caused congestion this past week, it come against a backdrop of ever increasing traffic levels which clearly are not sustainable.
Traffic levels are already back to pre-lockdown levels despite many employees still on furlough – including 500,000 in London. Across the country it’s 1.3 million people.
Last weekend traffic numbers were already above pre-lockdown levels, while figures for buses, trains and tubes were all around 40-60 per cent.
The road network was at capacity before lockdown. It simply cannot cope with a mass switch of people from public transport to cars.
Latest transport use graph. Rail hit a provisional 50% of pre-pandemic use on May 24. Meanwhile roads are back to normal and Tube is nudging high-50s. Usual key: road weekly moving average is solid line, rail is heavy dashes, Tube is light dashes. pic.twitter.com/CEpYgIPFpB
— Philip Haigh (@philatrail) June 2, 2021
Despite that obvious fact, Government have this week insisted upon further above-inflation fare increases on London transport as part of a measure which will see £300 million of cuts and further fare increases this year alone, rising to £730 million in 2023. Public transport is deregulated in Kent with no input from Government on bus fares.
There seems little effort to encourage people back onto public transport right now. Initiatives seen in many other nations such as reduced fares for a limited time are nowhere to be seen.
Belgium gave away 10 free tickets to every citizen last year.
In the UK, traffic is rising quickly with no apparent strategy in place to prevent gridlock.