Privatising the Roads – A Vision of the Future…

It’s an unspecified number of years from now. In 2012 private investment was sought to fund Britain’s road network.  When the companies demanded to make a profit, the not-privatisation-at-all-no-siree deals became pure privatisation.  Now more than 90% of Britain’s road network is in private hands.  Somewhere on a remote Scottish island, a family plans their holiday…

“So, we book the car onto the ferry, drive through Aberdeen then south, yes?”

“Yep.  With the ferry crossing we get 10% off the BP fees for using Aberdeen’s roads.  That’s good until Perth when Tesco takes over.”

“Okay, but we’ll get the clubcard points on the mileage from there to Glasgow?”

“Or Edinburgh, yep.”

“Right.  Then we’ve got a choice to make.  Edinburgh or Glasgow?”

Maps are consulted, consulted.

“If we go Edinburgh we’ll lose the Tesco roads when we hit the Forth Road Bridge.  There’ll be the toll for that, the Edinburgh Tram Consortium toll for using the ringroad but we can use our National Trust Membership when we get to the A1.”

Collective intake of breath.  Since the National Trust took over the A1 they’ve maintained it as they do every historic monument – exactly as it was at whatever date they considered it’s “peak”.  That means very little dual carriageway between Edinburgh and the English border and all that lovely 4-lane stuff through Yorkshire’s been rolled back to 2.

“Not pleasant, but it’s cheaper than taking the Shell M74.”

“But that’s faster.  Plus we’re aiming for Hexham, it doesn’t matter which side of the country we go down.”

“Alright, say we take the Shell road.  Who owns that after the English border?”

“Er, the map doesn’t say.  Must still be a public road.”

“That’ll mean roadworks for most of the way.  Not pleasant either.  What about the A64?”

“That’s all owned by the logging companies.”

“So lots of freight but a good road, then?”


“Okay.  So it’s looking like BP, Tesco, ETC, National Trust, loggers.  Only one thing left to organise.”

“What’s that?”

“The visas.  We’re visiting England, after all. “

2 responses to “Privatising the Roads – A Vision of the Future…”

  1. Very good, I like you’re thinking, not sure that the National Trust section past Stone Henge will be much fun though. Microsoft might like to run a section, although regular updates and name changes might cause a few problems. Apple could introduce iRoads and as Brussels normally sticks its nose into our affairs maybe we could have a UN road, where the toll operators turn up late and then refuse to get involved anyway.

    Great post.

    • Thanks. I was inspired by the announcement this morning. How they expect private firms to get involved, make a profit and not actually charge people is beyond me.

      With the iRoad, Apple would somehow manage to patent the use of a wheeled conveyance having 2, 3 or 4 wheels to move people from location to location having 2 or 3 pedals and a wheel for the control of said conveyance. Car manufacturers would end up paying royalties to produce these iCars to run on the iRoad. Then Google would come out with the GoogleCar, patent wars ensue and everyone goes back to using MSHorses.

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