The invention of the wheel helped no end, it didn’t get stones in its hooves. The journey from Huntingdon to Cambridge took around 3 hours.
They cobbled the roads in an attempt to get everybody using the same route – ‘Look! dry feet, and only 15 groats in toll charges’ they crowed. The citizens created their own cobbled routes, and ignored the toll roads.
‘Ha’! said the politicians, ‘How about an iron road, no more rattling your bones on the cobbles – but you’ll need to use our special wagon’. They called it A Railway. It cut the journey time down to around half an hour – but it was expensive, and you could only use the iron rails with the permission of the railway company – when they wanted to.
The citizens had a word with a travelling fellow who had a load of tarmac left over from another job, poured it onto the cobbles, and went back to the roads. They invented their own special wagon, and called it A Car. They could go where they wanted, when they wanted. They could still get to Cambridge in under an hour.
The Politicians were furious; they made the fuel so expensive that it took 30 or more people in the same vehicle to make the journey viable. ‘Hah!’ said the politicians, can’t get 30 people in your car? Then you’ll have to use ours. We call it A Bus.
That worked for a while, until they made the bus fare so expensive that the citizens got their cars out again and clogged up the roads. The Bus took hours to get to Cambridge, and eventually no one used it.
‘Go back on the Train’ said the politicians. ‘Nah, too damned expensive’ said the citizens.
‘Well, the Bus then’. ‘Nah’, said the citizens, ‘might be cheaper but its too slow’.
So the politicians ripped up all the iron rails, tore down the little stations, ticket offices and all, sold the Trains to China, and then – can you guess what they did next children?
They built concrete rails, little stations, ticket offices and all, and put the Buses on rails…They call it a ‘Busway’, and now you can get from Huntingdon to Cambridge in just over an hour – that’s twice as long as the ‘Railway’ used to take.
Of course, they are subject to the odd delay, rather like the roads; for no sooner had they opened the ‘Busway’ than the cyclists said ‘Great, a railway track without those bumpy old ‘sleepers’, it must have been put there for us’ – so they started cycling along it, and before you could say ‘Haven’t we been here before’, along came a nasty old bus and flattened them. So in addition to the special tunnels for Dormice to cross the track, and the Toad breeding quarters, and rehousing the Crested Newts and everything else, the council built a special track for the cyclists. And they moaned because it got wet when it rained…
Isn’t that clever? And it only cost the odd £200 million.
It’s only 21 miles from Huntingdon to Cambridge – the planners are working on a new means of transport already, its got four legs and a tail, and they’re planning to call it A Horse.