Britain’s traffic slows to cut fuel costs

June 28th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 28 (IANS) It’s official: Britons prefer reaching late rather than going faster to check rising fuel costs. From planes to trains, ferries to ships, and cars to trucks, nearly every mode of transport has slowed down in the country as fuel prices continue to rise.

Pilots and ships’ captains have been ordered to go slow, train drivers have been asked to switch off engines and coast downhill and bus companies are training staff to drive more smoothly in order to cut costs.

Easyjet and British Midlands Airline have confirmed to The Guardian that they have asked pilots to reduce speeds by around two percent to conserve fuel. That amounts to reducing cruising speed by three miles per hour.

They join what is a global campaign by carriers like Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Brussels Airlines and Southwest and JetBlue in the US who have adopted similar moves. British Airways, however, will not slow down but warns of hiked fares.

A leading train company, First Group, has asked drivers to drive more smoothly between halts. TransPennie Express drivers have been asked to let trains coast down steep gradients. A train company has re-programmed automatic doors on its train to close more quickly to conserve cool air from air conditioning units.

Road transport companies too have implemented speed-reduction measures. Cars are going at lower speeds than before.

Adam Ashmore, an Automobile Association patrolman in Manchester, said the slowdown was evident on all roads. “It’s not just on motorways, you can see it in town as well. People are definitely driving more slowly.”

Ferry companies like Stena Line and P&O Cruises have slowed down on two high-speed ferry routes, increasing the travel time by 20 minutes.

Nigel Tilson, Stena Line’s UK communications manager, said: “We’re going to save several thousand tonnes of fuel across the year.”

Maersk Line, another big shipping company, has cut speeds on its Asia-Europe route, with some cargo ships travelling at 20 knots instead of 24 knots to slash fuel consumption.

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