Sweden is pretending to be at the fore-front on the issues regarding the protection of the environment but there are several things happening in Sweden that indicate otherwise. The most prominent aspect where the government or politicians have failed the people is in the area of public transportation. I will use myself as an example.
There was a time I was living in Vaxmora area of Sollentuna. I had rented a room in a bungalow house. I later found out that this is one of those places called villa-område which means that it is an area dominated by villa or big houses. I realized that public transportation to this area was very poor. The place is about 15 minutes from the nearest train stop by bus that doesn’t go frequently. If you go out at night, there will be no train to return after midnight. If you take a night bus, you will trek half an hour to get home to where I lived.
I have since switched to a number of different places in Sweden and the system is such that if you live in an apartment of in a congested area the tendency is that you will have nearness to public transportation and the train station. The buses will run for 24 hours and getting home after late is not a problem.
I have now found myself living in another area which I can say is dominated by villa. In short, the people who live in my area in Skälby-Veddesta are sort of classified as rich people who have decided to move away from the city to the country side. This gives them calmness and allows them to raise their children in a safer and more serene environment.
But you know what? Public transportation to this area is the WORST I have seen in Sweden. The bus goes from here to the nearest train station once every hour. It goes twice during the hours of 7 and 8 in the morning and 4 and 5 in the evening.
After 5pm there is no bus transportation to this area called VEGA in Skälby. This is happening in Sweden in 2008. This is a country that wants to tell the world that it is interested in protecting the environment. You cannot live in Vega area if you don’t have a car. I have seen people in this area who have up to 3 cars in a family. Perhaps there are people with 4 or more cars depending on how many people are in the family and if they are 18 years and above.
I am quite convinced that the people living in Vaxmora and other villa areas of Sweden are also driving as many cars as possible especially during the weekend when public transportation is a nightmare, almost absent. You could get a heart attack trying to make a bus that goes once every hour. It is shameful and pathetic. There was a place in Viksjö where the resident protested and got a better but not excellent service from SL the Stockholm Transport Company.
There was an article today (6TH OCT 2008) in the Stockholm City Newspaper where a 14 year old boy Simon Magnusson brought the attention of everyone to the regular increase in the cost of Public transportation. To some of us, the cost of travelling in public transportation is equal to the cost of buying petrol to run the car every month. According to this young boy, more and more people are driving their cars because of the exorbitant cost of public transportation. The crazy thing is that the tendency is always that the cost goes up annually. A monthly card that cost 500kr in 2003 is now 690kr in 2008. This increase is unjustifiable.
In summary, the importance of this message is that Politicians should stop making empty promises when it comes to public transportation. The Moderata are out now saying that they want to improve on what we have today. The question is if they think that rich people have the right or the privilege to continue to pollute the environment. If a man can buy 4 cars to solve his family’s transportation problem then there is serious problem in Sweden. If these rich people think that because they are rich then they don’t have to complain about poor public services, then I think that they are all stupid.
And if SL thinks that everything is fine with these shameful situations since no one is complaining like me or the 14 year old boy, then they are making a silly mistake because the sum of all the evils in a country like Sweden is significant on the long run. Since no one knows exactly how much the impact of man has on global warming and environmental changes, then not doing anything about limiting the use of cars is definitely a sad omen.
Prince can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org