Travelling

Life in Glengad was very different sixty years ago. I think there were five cars in the area.

Life in Glengad was very different sixty years ago. I think there were five cars in the area.

They were family cars and some doubled as taxis. Children used to walk to school - three or four miles, perhaps - often barefoot. People walked regularly from Glengad to Carndonagh- nine miles there and nine miles back. I really enjoyed cycling to Buncrana. My grandfather’s brother went Malin on his bike- he was over eighty at that time.

But times have changed. You sometimes see five cars at the door of some houses now. Children get driven to the school gate. You have huge traffic jams in Derry with children going to school and workers going to their place of work by car. In the Republic more than a million people drive to work. 100,000 travel as passengers. Only 170.000 use public transport.

But the situation is changing. Some parents realise that walking is good for their children and that it does parents good as well, and they walk with them to school. You see more cyclists on the cycle lanes now, although cycling is fairly dangerous. We will soon run out of oil anyhow – we will have no choice, we will all have to change our habits. (Don’t forget that peat was in plentiful supply in Ireland fifty years ago, and it is now almost completely exhausted.) Meanwhile pollution is increasing global warming and destroying the planet. If we cannot give up the car, we ought to use it less often. Instead of building new roads, public transport should be promoted more with additional grants. What about cutting fares by half? What about free public transport for everyone? Good questions for election candidates.