Thinktank suggests replacing trains with buses

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The Institute of Economic Affairs thinks we should scrap rail tracks and convert them into bus lanes as a "viable alternative" to the current infrastructure. Because it's not bad enough when three buses are drudging the same route, so we're sure 150 will be able to cope.

The report, 'Paving over the tracks: A better use of Britain's railways?' out today claims that the tax payer would get a better deal in the long-run if train lines were replaced with bus lanes. It proposes, "150 express coaches, each seating 75 individuals would be able to carry the same number of commuters while occupying one seventh of the capacity of a one-lane busway."

The report states: "Travel times would be the same, if not shorter through the creation of a busway system. For shorter journeys especially, express coaches would deliver travel speeds similar to that of trains as well as operating more frequently."

It added: "Converting commuter railways into busways would bring about cheaper fares for passengers, as operating and infrastructure costs would be much lower. Although the initial cost of conversion would be substantial, adding new rail capacity and continuing rail subsidies would be far more expensive."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We have no plans to replace rail routes with express busways," The Telegraph reported.

"As part of our long-term economic plan, £38 billion will be invested in the rail network over the next five years because it is the most economically effective way of transporting large numbers of passengers.

"Fares have an important role to play in this investment, but we recognise passengers' concerns about the cost of travel. That is why we have frozen regulated fares at inflation for the second year in a row."

What do you think of the thinktank's proposal? Have your say in the comments section below.