… in the days when such things were possible, I asked the Bus & Coach Council to have two 55-seat coaches drive along the M25 near Heathrow during the morning rush-hour.
The third pass gave us the overhead shot we wanted – the London Orbital jam-packed with cars, plus the two buses using the inside lane. Statistically about 90% of rush-hour motorists were solitary drivers. So we removed 110 cars electronically, explaining that all the drivers could have been seated in the coaches.
It was a great illustration of the volume of road space taken up by cars, and I was reminded of this by the report of Salisbury taxi drivers’ recent go-slow drive through the city centre. They were protesting against Wiltshire Council’s policy of dishing out expensive taxi licences to all comers regardless of whether or not there’s enough work to go round.
According to the cabbies’ spokesman, Salisbury now has more than 200 licensed taxis. To put that in context, if you lined them up with a two metre gap between each car they’d stretch for about a mile – ie roughly from the Castle Street roundabout to Old Sarum.
That is far, far too many taxis, and everyone who lives here knows it. But of course the people who make these decisions don’t live here. And if you’re short of the readies – as indisputably they are in Trowbridge – then maybe it makes sense to cash in and let the cabbies fight for custom. But morally it just doesn’t seem right.
• The Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival is over for another year, and what a triumph it has been for outgoing director Maria Bota. We attended many events and it’s been hard to choose the best.
The most daring feat was undoubtedly Australian acrobat Paul O'Keeff's fall from the Cathedral triforium level on to crash mats below – something most of us would need big, big money to do.
Otherwise my own choices were: best concert - Pinchas Zukerman; best talk - John McCarthy; best discussion - Ed Stourton/Geoff Cowling; funniest performance - Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge and best film - V.O.S. Others will disagree, but that’s the great thing about our festival – every year there’s something for everyone.