THE other day, on my way in to work, I heard the breakfast presenter on my local radio station introduce some sort of news story I couldn't be bothered to listen to by asking the question: "How much in tax credits would it take to encourage you to take the bus to work each day".
I pondered this for a moment before realising the answer was quite simple. Rather a lot.
You see, if I was to take a bus to work and back, first of all, I'd need to buy a bus. There are no services which cover my daily commute.
I'd also need my own bus because my hours can be a tad irregular and I car-share with my wife, who works down the road, and also has no bus service.
I'd also need a financial incentive to afford a garage or, at least, some land to store my new bus. And I'd need money for fuel. And I'd need to employ a driver because I don't have the time or inclination to learn how to drive one myself.
So, if the government really wants me to take the bus to work, they've probably got to do a bit more than just dangle the old tax-credit carrot.
I don't want to be down on public transport. I think it's a wonderful thing. I mainly use it for the occasional trip to the nice pub in the next village or to whisk me through the tunnel into Europe.
So, by not taking public transport to work, I'm actually saving the government a small fortune by not needing a bus, storage, driver and all the other associated costs. How thoroughly responsible of me.
Also, by taking my car, I'm pouring taxes into the system through the vehicle excise duty I pay and all the fuel duty. Not to mention the VAT on all my motoring consumables.
And, unlike on a bus, I'm travelling to work at my own convenience in leather-clad luxury choosing the volume at which I want to listen to radio presenters whitter on about the merits of public transport.