September 11, 2009

Weekday jams are a thing of the past according to research by Trafficmaster and Alcoholics Anonymous. Waxing poetastical, their joint press release proclaims that “Britain’s road network is wearing the scars of the economic climate on its sleeve.”

Yes indeed, and the lifeblood of saloon-driving salespersons that once clogged the Tarmaccadamed blood vessels and arteries of the forearm within said sleeve appears to have dwindled to a trickle. Or to put it slightly more prosaically, “there has been 31% reduction in road congestion across all major motorways and trunk roads since the credit crunch began two years ago.”

But, fear not, the fine old British institution of periodic traffic-flow seizure is not entirely moribund. Cash-strapped Brits still in jobs (or doing a proficient job of working the benefits system) have turned in their droves from EasyJet and RyanExtras to staycate in UKland resorts.

The report found a massive 50% increase in congestion on Fridays and on school and bank holiday weekends. “Friday,” it says, “is the only day of the week bucking the trend of a decrease in congestion levels.”

Other highlights of the report included:

23% of those not working said that they had lost their job in the last 12 months.

20% of commuters surveyed said that the economic circumstances had led them to work from home more regularly to avoid the cost of commuting.

14% had (shock) used public transport and 12% had shared cars to reduce the cost of commuting.

But, on the other hand, 67% said they would happily commute twice as far to keep their job.

Edmund President, King of the AA may be disturbed by all this talk of working from home, car sharing, and the end of rush hour as we know it, but he’s keeping the flag flying for all things combustion engine driven.

“The motor vehicle is an integral part of British culture,” Mr President insisted. “When times are hard it is with reluctance that we look at ways of cutting down on car journeys and using alternative modes of transport. This only strengthens our need to keep investing in the road infrastructure, so that when the recession ends we have a network that can support a thriving economy.”

Listening figures for drive-time radio shows over the summer were not available at the time of going to press – largely because we couldn’t be bothered to research them. Sales of beer for cracking open in the garden come 6pm were up sharply, probably.

Where will it all end?



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