1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
A SHORTER JOURNEY time may not be sufficient for people to ditch their cars in favour of high-speed rail, according to a survey by the Automobile Association (AA).
Of the 16,850 AA members polled, 97 per cent said they did not see speed as the most important factor when deciding to use high-speed rail. Price, however, is important: almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of respondents said they would be most concerned about the cost of tickets.
The proximity of the station to work or home also ranked high, with 18 per cent saying it would be the most important factor in making a decision on whether to use high-speed rail.
Motorists were divided on whether they would use highspeed rail if it was available for a journey they usually make by car. A third (33 per cent) said they would switch to rail, a third (34 per cent) wouldn't, and a third (33 per cent) said they didn't know what they would do.
Edmund King, the AA's president, said: "It appears that perhaps the main raison d'être of high-speed rail - speed - seems pretty irrelevant to most drivers.
"We believe rail enhancements that are cheaper, based more on reliability and increased capacity, rather than speed, would be much more effective in convincing some drivers to let the train take the strain." King suggested that if speed is not the over-riding factor, the government is "backing the wrong horse with HS2".
"This scheme will not provide best value for money," he said. "Spending the £34 billion cost on conventional rail upgrades, removing road bottlenecks, building bypasses and improving road maintenance would provide much better value for money."