‘After flooding and fatberg, motorists face misery again,’ runs the doom-and-gloom headline.
But seriously – how much sympathy are we supposed to have?
Way too many people drive into this cramped city day in day out. Traffic edges from queue to queue around the city, stop-start, its polluting cocktail of emissions seeping into the city like cyanide running through veins.
Some, presumably, “have to”. But what about the vast majority who don’t? Wedded to their cars, they continue to drive, hopelessly, without apparently ever considering the alternatives. What goes on inside their heads?
I had a meeting recently with someone who drives in to work in Headington every day on the same route. He arrived 45 minutes late for our 9am appointment with a “Sorry. Dreadful traffic” ‘ I smiled, not unaccustomed myself to occasional tardiness – always my own dilly-dallying fault. However, I thought: “But you ARE the traffic and you make this trip every single day. The park-and-ride bus stops less than 100 metres from your office. And what about cycling?”
But it wasn’t that kind of a meeting. Sad though to see a perfectly able commuter fail to grasp the nettle.
Back on Cowley Road I was musing on people’s poor decision-making. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not anti-car. Far from it! I love my car and enjoy using it, but not in the city.
My reverie was broken by a rather beautiful sight: a guy in his 50s with a short grey goatee on a long, low Bullitt cargo bike.
He was stuck in traffic the same as all the cars and buses, but he stood apart, a solution, not a part of the problem. His face grimaced against the fumes, but when I caught up with him making a delivery to BeeLine Bikes, I realised what a happy and lucky man he is.
Steve Reynolds formed mercurycyclemessengers.co.uk after seeing the glut of small vans delivering single-packages to city-centre destinations. Our medieval city wasn’t designed to cope with 1,000+ couriers per day on top of regular traffic – and this is where Mercury Messengers step in. Steve does fast, green deliveries in the city for a fraction of the price of a van courier.
The day I saw him he was delivering 100 kilos of coffee from Witney to cafes in Oxford. There are some great photos of his laden Bullitt cargo bike on his Facebook page. These beasts can carry a washing machine and even small sofas. In Holland, Germany and Denmark, DHL uses Bullitts to deliver in cities similar to Oxford, using a cargo hub near the edge of the city and cargo bikes to deliver within.
Oxford will no doubt need to do the same very soon.
What a great business idea.
Jealous? Not half!
Our top stories:
8:00am Monday 30th November 2015
OXFORD’S five tower blocks are about to undergo the biggest makeover in their 50-year existence.
8:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
ROAD safety campaigners say they are “astonished” that drivers with as many as 51 points on their licences are still allowed on the county’s roads.
9:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
YOUNGSTERS at an Oxfordshire primary school could finally be able to tuck into their hot dinners in a dining hall after the Prime Minister came to their aid.
8:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
BAYS in Frideswide Square will be “tweaked” after bus companies complained they were too small to safely accommodate vehicles.
6:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
IT HAS called Cowley Road home for the past 90 years, but on Monday family-run Oxford timber merchant W G Powell will close its doors for the last time.
6:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
ALL over Oxfordshire thousands of older people are fighting one of the cruellest but hardest-to-spot maladies of all: loneliness.
12:09pm Friday 27th November 2015
TWO men have been arrested in connection with the murder of Kerry Reeves, 26, in Abingdon earlier this month.
7:00am Friday 27th November 2015
TRAFFIC jams are now so bad in Oxford concrete is setting in the back of delivery lorries.
9:00am Friday 27th November 2015
FORGET Frozen and park the Playstation... traditional toys are back with a bang this Christmas.
8:30am Friday 27th November 2015
INTERNET users believe some people in Oxfordshire will still struggle to get superfast broadband despite £5.6m of new funding to roll it out to 4,600 homes and businesses.
8:00am Friday 27th November 2015
NEIGHBOURS have branded the £1,500 fine dished out to a boutique hotel owner over clay pigeon shooting “pathetic”.
6:30am Friday 27th November 2015
A CIVIC group has warned plans for up to 190 new homes at Wolvercote’s former paper mill could worsen traffic and air pollution in North Oxford.
6:00am Friday 27th November 2015
A STRANGER is just a friend you haven’t met yet – or in some cases, a friend you haven’t heard.
8:30am Thursday 26th November 2015
WORK to electrify the railway into Oxford has been set back four years, throwing the redevelopment of the city’s station into doubt.