When we had the talk by Liz Yeaman (by the way an apology for spelling Liz’s name incorrectly last week) there were interesting comments from the floor about electric cars and bikes. One comment came from Gordon Macadam about new ways of addressing transport. Gordon has been thinking since the meeting and this week wrote these observations about firstly his family’s current transport fleet and how they get around and then some challenges which are very interesting.
The current Macadam fleet:
There are 7 vehicles owned by my wider family.
- Granny’s car has 2 child seats permanently in the back for grandchildren.
- Grandad is trying to transition from a Toyota funcargo to an electric car full of business junk.
- Grandad has a classic for long distance travel
- Daughter one has a job not in the centre of the city and 2 car seats in her car, Son in Law carries stuff for his business in his.
- Daughter Two has a job on outskirts of Christchurch, car seats also (They have to be there till children are 8 years old) Son in Law Car pools to a job out of the city.
This set Gordon thinking and he then asked himself these questions:
Our family represents how a large portion of the population live. We have too much junk but personal transport is here to stay so what are we going to do about it?
- First, shrink the car. My Funcargo was marvellous but I wore it out.
- Congestion pricing that charges per centimetre over 3m will start it. Everybody gets 20 free goes per year. That will cover visitors to the city and the rare user. We will only need one pricing unit on Brougham St and Cranford St to start with.
- Use the money to subsidise electric vehicles in the public sector. Owned 1 year then placed on the open market. No public body should have a petrol-powered car in its fleet.
- Get serious about technology that allows you to lock onto the car in front so that cars form packets that are easily controlled by the way traffic lights are programmed.
- This will need some civic bravery to implement.
- This is a cost to the consumer if they want to retain their car in the city. Not a huge public capital cost burden on the generations to come for capital works that disrupt the city for years. Just think of how long it took to construct Manchester St.
- Next, we have all noted that there is substantially less traffic in school holidays. Are all the workers on holiday too?
- We have to break the drive the kids to school habit.
- How about, no drop off of school children within 1 km of a school. Children would be expected to join a walking school bus.
- How do we supervise the walking school bus? Citizens get a rates rebate for supervision and the win-win of course is that 2 important groups get their daily exercise.
- Note the way plastic shopping bags have disappeared. I think the population would accept the fact that kids walk to school.
We have had enough of grandiose civic projects in this City and I think that clear thinking and good civic management can contain the car so that it is used by those who need them.
Finally has anyone taken up with Orion Liz Yeaman’s suggestion that Orion provides the infrastructure and electric buses?
Have we got a vehicle leasing entrepreneur in Christchurch to progress Liz Yeaman’s idea of Orion owning the bus charging infrastructure through to a full-blown partnership with Orion to offer a turnkey lease deal of electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure to all the public bodies in Christchurch?