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The Road Haulage Problem

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Brock
1391033.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:13 am Reply with quote

Just one little comment on whether this issue is related to Brexit:

I heard a representative of the Petrol Retailers' Association this morning saying that there are no fuel supply issues in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is, of course, the one part of the UK still in the EU's single market.

Coincidence?

 
PDR
1391034.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:29 am Reply with quote

You might get such a system to work for those who live and work in inner-city areas (although you'd still suffer the problem that the demand is lumpy rather than smooth as Barbados points out) - essentially you've just described Uber (but possibly with autonomous vehicles, which is a whole different debate). But in those areas the basic massed public transport model (bus/tram/train etc) would seem to be a simpler solution.

But neither model really works for those who live outside the cities. For the 30 of the last 40 years that I've lived and worked in the UK I've mostly lived between 5 and 12 miles of my workplace, with a daily commute of between 10 and 25 minutes each way by car. In each case the public transport alternative would have taken anything from an hour to over two hours each way (never mind the cost). There were no options for living closer that didn't either have unacceptable knock-ons for quality of living or imposed even worse school commutes on the kids. Never mind the issue that (outside the inner cities) it is extremely unlikely that all adult members of a household will have workplaces similarly convenient from any given location.

So I'm not sure I see the USP.

PDR

 
barbados
1391035.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:37 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
Just one little comment on whether this issue is related to Brexit:

I heard a representative of the Petrol Retailers' Association this morning saying that there are no fuel supply issues in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is, of course, the one part of the UK still in the EU's single market.

Coincidence?

The main fuel supply issue on the mainland is that people are panicking because they have been told there are fuel supply issues, there is plenty of fuel, and fuel is being delivered, all that is needed is for people to stop thinking we are living off fumes and normality will resume.

 
Brock
1391040.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:58 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Brock wrote:
Just one little comment on whether this issue is related to Brexit:

I heard a representative of the Petrol Retailers' Association this morning saying that there are no fuel supply issues in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is, of course, the one part of the UK still in the EU's single market.

Coincidence?

The main fuel supply issue on the mainland is that people are panicking because they have been told there are fuel supply issues, there is plenty of fuel, and fuel is being delivered, all that is needed is for people to stop thinking we are living off fumes and normality will resume.


So why isn't it happening in Northern Ireland as well?

I'm starting to see a pattern here. There was a CO2 shortage in Great Britain that didn't affect Northern Ireland. Now there's a fuel distribution problem that isn't affecting Northern Ireland.

From now on, if anyone tells me that "X isn't due to Brexit", I shall ask the simple question "does X affect Northern Ireland in the same way as Great Britain?" If the answer is no, then they're probably lying.

 
CB27
1391046.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 5:23 am Reply with quote

So I gave a general example, not one that I said "this is definitely what we should go for", but the point still stands that there is an issue with both the number of vehicles on the road and the space taken up by vehicles not on the road, plus the servicing side of it all.

It would require some solutions, possible a hybrid of different ones, including some elements of what I described.

This is not some new realisation, this is something that's been talked about for several decades on the fringes of conferences, among think tanks and occasionally discussed in certain sections of the media, but there are two major obstacles to any Government considering tackling this properly, which is why the problem's just been getting worse and worse.

The first is money. When you combine all motoring taxes together, they account for approx 7% of total UK taxation, and this is a big amount to compensate through other types of taxation (my example suggested a couple).

There is also workforce involved with motoring in this country (I understand approx 860k) which needs to be replaced by other industries, and the tax revenues they provide.

Part of that could be temporarily offset by changes to infrastructure, but that simply adds more capital costs which need to be calculated in terms of long term benefit.

The second obstacle is lobby.

Some will be obvious, such as the motoring industry, the insurance industry and small business interest groups (there are a large number of small businesses dependant on us having lots of vehicles on the road).

There sill be others, such as some very large unions who will be concerned about their members, conservative groups concerned about the introduction of new taxes and greater spend by the government to change the infrastructure. And of course there's the "personal freedom" shouters who will insist they have the right to own their own car (I'm sure we can find some nice venn diagrams on their shared concerns).

The horrible truth is that the last time any UK Government took on both spending and lobby power head on and made some wholesale changes to the UK was in 1945, and that was as a result of a devastating war, took decades to pay off and is taken for granted these days with people forgetting how much infrastructure had to change, taxation had to change, and society had to change.

 
barbados
1391047.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 5:27 am Reply with quote

Go back and read the opening post, that will tell you where the problems lie.
Quote:
We were once seen as knights of the road, now we are seen as the lepers of society. Why would anyone want to go back to that?

Just about sums it up, the job is a crap - and until it isnít crap there will always be a problem, furthermore it wonít be fixed by bringing in a temporary workforce.

 
PDR
1391056.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:12 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:

Just about sums it up, the job is a crap - and until it isnít crap there will always be a problem, furthermore it wonít be fixed by bringing in a temporary workforce.


It may not fix the problem, but I would suggest that it is a core element of the journey to it's solution.

PDR

 
barbados
1391057.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:24 am Reply with quote

It is, not sure how the job can be made more attractive though.
Yes you can throw money at the problem, and it would suit the old me who was money driven, but you get to your mid forties and all of a sudden you realise that money isnít the most important thing in the world, and you look for things that are not compatible with a job where everyone treats you like something they stepped.
Itís certainly going to take a while to fix.

 
PDR
1391058.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:26 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Brock wrote:
Just one little comment on whether this issue is related to Brexit:

I heard a representative of the Petrol Retailers' Association this morning saying that there are no fuel supply issues in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is, of course, the one part of the UK still in the EU's single market.

Coincidence?

The main fuel supply issue on the mainland is that people are panicking because they have been told there are fuel supply issues, there is plenty of fuel, and fuel is being delivered, all that is needed is for people to stop thinking we are living off fumes and normality will resume.


This is demonstrably untrue. We have the fuel, but we do not have the means to distribute it even to maintain normal demands. If we did there would only be a brief surge while everyone filled their tanks and then the demand would return to normal [as is self evident after a few seconds of coherent thought].

But this is becoming one of those irregular verbs:

I prudently top-off my fuel tank
You take wise precautions
They indulge in ridiculous panic buying, bringing the nation to its knees...

PDR

 
crissdee
1391060.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:35 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
..........you get to your mid forties and all of a sudden you realise that money isnít the most important thing in the world.......


This rather presupposes that when one gets to one's mid-forties, one has enough money not to have to worry about it anymore. I have yet to achieve that in my late fifties, and hold out no particular hope of the situation changing anytime soon, if ever.

 
barbados
1391061.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:39 am Reply with quote

If it were untrue, when was the last time you were unable to get into a petrol station to fill up?
I think it is about 9 years ago - there has been a driver shortage since before last week, with no impact on the end user.

 
barbados
1391063.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:01 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
barbados wrote:
..........you get to your mid forties and all of a sudden you realise that money isnít the most important thing in the world.......


This rather presupposes that when one gets to one's mid-forties, one has enough money not to have to worry about it anymore. I have yet to achieve that in my late fifties, and hold out no particular hope of the situation changing anytime soon, if ever.

In your mid fifties, what would cause you more worry? Not having enough money to go to the pub tonight, or not being able to go to the pub because the walk knackers you out?

 
Jenny
1391072.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:47 am Reply with quote

I have to say that CB's solution doesn't strike me as workable for the reasons barbados lays out above.

What does occur to me is a new paradigm of work springing from the last eighteen months of pandemic experience. Obviously this will not change everybody's work, because some work can only be done face to face, but it may move things around somewhat.

A lot of people have discovered that their jobs can be done from home with a reliable internet connection most of the time. If employers would adopt this in the areas where it's feasible, it would at least reduce the total mileage and therefore the petrol consumption driven by vehicles over the year, and would free up space on public transport.

 
PDR
1391077.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:56 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
If it were untrue, when was the last time you were unable to get into a petrol station to fill up?
I think it is about 9 years ago - there has been a driver shortage since before last week, with no impact on the end user.


There has been an increasing driver shortage for some time. The supply drops to a certain value and hits a cusp at which point the function becomes divergent. That happened last week. Not all systems exhibit linear characteristics. It's like traffic density on motorways - up to a certain value it has little effect, but as soon as it hits the critical value the surging starts.

PDR

 
barbados
1391088.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:31 am Reply with quote

I understand the surge causing the problem, but if it were a problem on the magnitude portrayed by the media you would have been going into stations with less and less availability, you would have been unable to get into stations in the lead up, and stations would have been closing early to ensure they have supplies between deliveries (you donít just get petrol from a petrol station, the shop is full of impulse buys) that hasnít been happening until last Thursday.
So why, all of a sudden are people desperate to fill up?

 

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