2 OCTOBER 1942, Page 2

Suppression of Road Travel

The suppression of the Green Line, to be followed or accom- panied by that of other long-distance passenger coaches, is an event affecting vast numbers of people. The motive presumably is military ; the coaches will be wanted for some purpose or other in connexion with a Second Front. Such a front, if it can be pushed any suitable distance inland, implies an enormous special demand for road vehicles ; which can- be more immediately met by confiscation than by construction. Nobody can quarrel with that in principle, if he realises, as most of us now do, the paramountcy of war needs in war time. A good deal may nevertheless be said against this particular piece of shutting-down. When London suffered intensive air-raiding in 1940-41, those very coaches were worth their weight in gold. For whereas the railways could be knocked out, the road system could not be, and when one main line after another had to be closed for shorter or longer periods, it was long-distance road transport alone that maintained the volume of daily travelling, which is so essential to the life and productivity of the metropolis and its surrounding counties. if intensive bombing is resumed this winter—as it is only reasonable to assume likely— where shall we be? We were already much worse off for meeting it than before, since the private car has virtually disappeared. That on top of it the public road vehicle should be banished also, may well be criticised as short-sighted. This is a consideration over and above the immense inconvenience that will be caused to masses of busy people in ordinary times ; and we wish we colf.c1 feel sure that it had fully engaged the Government's attention.