Friday, 6 September 2013

@Racfoundation: why so scared?

The RAC foundation have just published a document on costs of fuel.

First, its a PDF file, which shows they are still in a world where they expect people to "print" things before reading them. Quaint and rapidly becoming irrelevant. Maybe its something they expect to print themselves and hand out. But to whom? Because even the politicians will have iPads where they read news on their first class jollies in to London -and PDFs look even worse on a tablet than they do on a laptop or desktop. Whoever their target audience is, it's well, some relic of the past.

Second, it claims that cars are buses

To all intents and purposes cars are public
transport: they carry most members of
the public, most of the time
That's even though they own up that to the people with the least amount of money don't have cars, don't suffer from petrol poverty

In those households in the lowest income quintile (fifth) 48% have no car
100% of the people in the lower quintile have houses to heat, gas bills to pay, electricity bills to clear. If someone who cares about that lower 20% of income's energy poverty, addressing the cost of heating and lighting houses benefits 100% of that group, whereas any change in petrol and diesel pricing is most significant those people who drive a lot -business who can offset it against tax, and people with big-engined cars who drive a lot.

Finally, and this is where it gets to its most ridiculous, it pretends bicycles don't exist.

Here's page three of the sob story:
Number of journeys by car
Of all the trips made in Great Britain:
  • 64% are as a car driver or passenger (main mode)
  • 22% are on foot
  • 6% are by bus;
  • 3% are by rail and Tube
78% of distance travelled by all modes, including walking, is as a car driver or passenger.
Source: DfT National Travel Survey NTS0301, NTS0302
They get the text of those links wrong, but the links themselves to NTS0901 and NTS0303 are valid DfT surveys.

Except what happens if you add the numbers?

64+6   = 70
22+3   = 26
70+26  = 96
100-96 =  4

The numbers the RAC Foundation give don't add up to 100%. Four percent left over? An error? In a paper that is focused on percentages and numbers? Perhaps there's been a mistake and one of the numbers is mistyped, the way the links were?

Time to look at the data, the excel spreadsheet the Dft serve up, with a ready-to-paste chart.

Lo and behold, 2% other, and 2%  bicycle.

Why is the RAC ignoring that 2% of bicycle? Are they scared? Do they want to pretend it doesn't exist? Do they want to pretend that we don't deserve 2% of that 28 billion pounds -560 million? And that walking deserves 6 billion pounds -both out of the road budget and not the HS2 money.

The RAC foundation seem to be hoping that bicycles will go away, that all will return to pre-1973-land, where petrol was dirt cheap and every city was going to be rebuilt the way Leeds was.

Which puts them in very limited company
  1. The ABD
  2. The UKIP
  3. The Department of Transport
  4. Gideon "paddock mortgage" Osborne
The first two are the Kingdom of the Swivel Eyed Fuckwits -a lost cause not worth worrying about, except when other fuckwits like Pickles try to come up with policies that divert bottom-feeding Daily Mail commenters to his party and not the UKIP party.

The other two are trouble -especially with lobby groups like the RAC foundation.

Here we have it then, now its apparent why the document is PDF formatted -it was designed for: handouts at the upcoming party conferences, something they can give away at their lobbying booths trying to make the case that fuel costs are too high and that "something must be done". That something isn't HS2, more likely fracking.

But their lobbying doesn't include that 2% of bicycles: it really is pretending they don't exist.

Which is why everyone should ask them a simple question: why so scared?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I quite agree with your post, but on an incidental note have you noticed that the Dft's figures also don't add up to 100%: 42+22+22+6+3+2+2=99%