George Monbiot’s hatred of cars (and privately owned land, eating meat, eating fish) is all about how much more our lives can be controlled by the state – for the sake of the environment – rather than by ourselves (Cars choke the life out of our cities. We must scrap them now, Journal, 21 June). We must concede to electrified mass transit in which our movement will be dictated by socially run public transport systems; no more trips to the countryside or the market in the car on a whim. We cannot now switch to electric cars as they “are already triggering a series of environmental disasters”, so we must go where the state allows and only by its means.

Monbiot’s predilection for control is as societally dangerous as the environmental “carmaggedon” that has become one of his many obsessions, with no hint of how he will persuade us to accede to so much control, other than by the use of fear. His solution for the future is to prohibit, to dictate, and to return us to the middle ages.
Charles Foster
Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire

While, as a pedestrian and non-car owner, I agree completely with everything George Monbiot says, he omits to mention one of the most infuriating things about cars, and other motorised vehicles: pavement parking. Often residential streets, even those with parking space or driveways for residents, are clogged with cars, delivery vans and work-related vehicles, parked “two wheels up” on the pavement. Fortunately, the Scottish parliament has just passed a transport bill which will make pavement parking illegal without a granted concession. Unfortunately, enforcement by the local authorities will be impossible.
Rose Harvie
Dumbarton

George Monbiot is right to call for “electrified mass transit” systems, but there will always be a need for vehicles designed for individual use. Once developed, self-drive electric community-owned taxis could provide a safe door-to-door service for older, disabled and isolated people, and people who need to get to more locations. Such a service would remove the need for individual car ownership for most people.

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In addition to reducing the number of vehicles in the city, self-drive electric taxis, with AI controls, would be safer and move more effectively, starting in unison from traffic lights as the signals go green, just as soldiers do on the order to march.
Derek Heptinstall
Westgate-on-Sea, Kent

George Monbiot’s well-aimed kicks at the worrying self-deception of those who promote and drive SUVs in cities would have had more weight if the Guardian itself had not run a piece 10 days earlier entitled “Aston Martin drives into the future with its first SUV” (11 June).
Duncan Roberts
Belford, Northumberland

While the Business Disability Forum fully supports the need to address air pollution in London as an urgent issue, we would question how a car-free day would affect those with a disability (Mayor of London plans biggest car-free day yet, 20 June).

Many disabled people are reliant on adapted vehicles, cars driven by carers and taxis to get about in London because public transport remains inaccessible and pavements are overcrowded. This point was recognised by the Department of Transport when it announced the extension of the blue badge parking scheme (Blue badges to be available for ‘invisible’ disabilities, 15 June).

We would ask the mayor to consider how disabled people can take part in this campaign. Improving the accessibility of London first is surely the answer.
Angela Matthews
Head of policy and research, Business Disability Forum

Re your editorial (21 June), there are numerous examples across the country where local authorities and bus operators have worked together to improve bus services (the responsibility of operators) and the infrastructure supporting buses (the responsibility of local authorities). Partnership agreements have brought increases in passenger numbers to towns and cities from Brighton (up 21% over the past decade) to Bristol (up 50%) and Liverpool (up 16% in just four years).

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What all of these successful partnership agreements have in common is a focus on putting the bus first on our congested roads. Local authorities have invested in measures to reduce bus journey times, enabling operators to run more frequent, more reliable services. The principal reason people don’t use buses is that congestion means they’re too slow and journey times too unpredictable. Fixing that, rather than debating whether it’s shareholders or council tax payers who take the risk of running bus services, is the real key to a better deal for passengers.
Graham Vidler
Chief executive, Confederation of Passenger Transport

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