Transport decision making and representative bureaucracy

A friend of mine at university had his own plane (!) and flew to Teesside airport for the start of term in 1992. This was on a Wednesday. He was told he would have to wait till Sunday to get a train. Incidentally, the bus takes over an hour for the 12 mile journey (longer than it took him to fly from the south). Despite people trying for many years to get a rail service to the airport in my opinion the main problem they faced is that they were talking to car owners. Since the 1970s the concept of representative bureaucracy has been widely embraced in the public services. Just like representative democracy should reflect the interests and diversity of the electorate, organisations that serve society will be better placed to do so if their employees represent all the segments of the population they serve (Evans, 1974). But representative bureaucracy, has been driven more by legislation than a genuine belief that it will improve policy making and service delivery. it has focused almost entirely on trying to ensure workforces are reflective of ethnicity, disability and gender. But, what about people that don’t own cars? How well are they represented? To have a station at an airport and four trains an hour that pass through it seems a great example of integrated transport – unfortunately none of the trains stop. The original reason for not allowing passengers to alight was the 15 minute walk from the station to the airport. It’s about a 15 minute walk from Manchester airport station to the airport. Have a shuttle taxi. Next time I get involved in any consultations or discussions about transport I am going to find out from the members of the group how they normally get about and see how representative they actually are.

Link to BBC news story

Evans, J. W. (1974). Defining representative bureaucracy. Public Administration Review, 34(6), 628-631.