One of those nice little demonstrations of why politics and government are a bad way of dealing with reality.
London is facing fewer people travelling as a result of changes in work habits post-covid. This is not a result of the pandemic itself, it’s a result of the disclocation jarring us into a permanent change in working habits. We’ve found out that we can work from home so we are. That coordination problem thingie has happened that is, the lockdown led to us trying and finding we liked the new way. A bit, at least.
Analysts have predicted that passenger numbers will permanently fall by a fifth as the pandemic changes travel habits forever and legions of commuters embrace home working.
Great, reality has changed. So, let’s change the transport system to accord with reality. Except, of course, that’s not how it works in politics:
A leading transport academic said that Mr Khan, who is mayor of London and TfL’s chairman, is most likely to impose new taxes to fill the hole.
Because of course adapting the transport system to how many people want to use it isn’t the right way to go about things. Instead, the hunt is on for the money to keep the system as it is and oversupply the transport that people aren’t going to use.
Which is why politics and government is a really shitty way to run things. It’s also a lovely example of why capitalism and markets work so well. Because the one saving grace of that slightly weird system is that it kills off things no longer desired.
We have that evidence here too. The pandemic induced shock has killed a certain portion of the retail trade. So, what’s happening there? People are thrashing around trying to shrink the retail estate to fit the desire for it. Great gaping chunks of formerly retail space are being converted to other uses. John Lewis is turning retail into office space for example – that might well not be a solution that works but they are at least trying.
The demand from politics is that all must stay the same even as all changes. Nothing so conservative as a socialist, eh?