Posts Tagged ‘public transport’
So, today, most of you are back at work. What’s worse than going back to work after the Christmas holidays? Public transport in 2012, that’s what. And people catching the train to work this week will be having their patience tested sorely as grim weather, signal failures, delays and fare rises all kick you repeatedly while you’re down.
However, adding small cheer (or large irritation depending on your outlook), the 6% rise in tickets was met with a protest at St Pancras.
While depressed passengers stumbled around in the dark and damp, they were met by a New Orleans-style jazz band dressed as the Thomas the Tank Engine character the Fat Controller while other protesters from the TSSA rail union carried placards slagging Prime Minister David Cameron off.
Members of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) joined in the protest too, handing out leaflets which invited commuters to speak their brains to the Treasury so Chancellor George Osborne can invariably ignore your gripes.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This is just the start of three years of real pain for all passengers. The £4,000 annual season ticket is now commonplace in south east England. By 2015, the £5,000 annual season ticket will be commonplace as well, thanks to ministers insisting on (RPI) inflation plus an extra 3% on top of that in 2013 and 2014.
“Mr Cameron talks glibly about everyone sharing the pain. Well, rail passengers are taking the biggest share of the pain while ministers and MPs travel for free on the most expensive network in Europe.”
In addition to that, London Underground and London bus fares also went up from January 2nd, rising by an average of 5.6%. Still, at least loads of your money is being thrown at the Olympic eh? That’s nice isn’t it?
If you bought a 2011 season ticket from Woking to London with tube travel, you’ve paid a handsome £3,268. Now, if you did that same journey from Velletri to Rome on an Italian ticket, you would have paid a measly £336.17, according to figures from the Campaign for Better Transports (CBT).
Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you thrilled? The weather is invariably nicer in Italy too and they probably get free wine on-board.
And the CBT have been looking at similar 24 mile journeys around Europe, showing just how much more us saps cough-up compared to everyone else.
And the best bit of course is that our fares are going up from January 2nd by an average of six per cent!
Speaking on Sky News, shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: “UK rail commuters are taking a hit year after year after year, and all they are trying to do is to get to work.”
“It does not have to be like this. We need to look at how the Europeans run their railways.”
‘Til then, everyone buy as many motorcars as humanly possible in a bid to make the Earth die before we’re priced out of living entirely!
mySociety, the good folk behind TheyWorkForYou, the get-in-touch-with-your-MP site, have today launched FixMyTransport, your one-stop solution for having a gripe about a late train or a broken bus.
It couldn’t be simpler – mySociety say that it is…
• Easy You don’t have to know who to contact or even which operator runs the line; all you need to know is where you were travelling to and from. We’ll automatically send your report to the right contact.
• Transparent Transport operators are accountable: your report will also be publicly visible online to anyone, and so will the operators’ replies.
• Social FixMyTransport automatically creates campaigns. When someone makes a report about the same issue as you, you’ll be grouped together on the site, creating more impact than all the complaints individually.
As far as transport providers are concerned, the hope is that complaints to them about certain issues will be grouped together as opposed to being more disparate. Also, the transparency of the system will mean that they’ll be able to show passengers what they’re doing about a problem. Of course, they’ll also feel more obliged to engage with their customers and be seen to come up with solutions and resolutions.
So go on readers – get out there and get yourself embroiled in a crappy piece of public transport action. That way you can try it out and let us know if it works.
The government are spending £32 billion on a high speed rail link, and what with everyone being up a certain creek without a paddle, people are incredibly wary.
According to a poll commissioned by The Taxpayers’ Alliance, it appears that there’s a lot of people in Britain who aren’t particularly thrilled at this new scheme. In fact, 48 per cent of people want to see the scheme scrapped entirely and only 34 per cent are actually supportive of the link that will be capable of carrying trains travelling at 250mph.
If successful, a train journey from London to Manchester will be one hour and 20 minutes long. Imagine how spectacular a crash would be. No-one would survive.
Matthew Sinclair, the director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, says: “The public support alternatives that would blunt the need for some particularly painful measures and make room for lower taxes. There is strong support for cutting expensive projects like high speed rail, which they don’t see as the right use of their cash”
However, the government are looking at the project as if it is some kind of magic cure to close the economic gap splitting Britain. For starters, it might shut the mouths of those whining about the BBC’s decision to ship a load of jobs away from London to Manchester. It takes longer to travel across London than it does to get to the North by train as it is.
The Transport Secretary Philip Hammond says: “I believe that it is not possible for Britain to maintain its prosperity in the 21st century in an increasingly competitive, global economy unless we can close the growth gap between the north and the south.”
That said, the whole thing is a way off yet, with the first phase of HS2 due for completion by 2026, and will benefit people in Leeds and Manchester… but not Scotland who will have to pay for it, but see no tangible benefits at all, which must be nice for them.
Still, it won’t matter much if we’re all crushed into one carriage on a train that arrives late.
The last time more people used the railways was in 1923. Alas, since that time, there’s much less track since the “Beeching Axe” in the 60s which saw huge amounts of rail being tossed aside in favour of… well… nothing.
And so, with demand for train travel clearly on the rise, it is irritating to consider that, on top of less tracks (and thereby, less choice), we’re also going to be hit with a price increase and not see an improvement in service.
“2010 was a year of strong growth in rail journeys, as demand bounced back from the recession and passenger numbers rose to levels not witnessed in peacetime Britain since the 1920s,” says Michael Roberts, ATOC’s chief executive. “With well over a billion journeys made last year, the last time rail travel was this popular train crews were shovelling coal into steam engines and many carriages were still lit by gaslight.”
Alexandra Woodsworth, of the Campaign for Better Transport, is worried: “The rise in passenger numbers on the railway is welcome news but we are very concerned that this trend will be reversed by the hefty fare rises we saw this January, and the worse that is to come next year.”
“Saving a few pence on cheap advance tickets hardly makes up for paying hundreds more for a season ticket each year. The Government has recently admitted that the fare increases won’t even bring relief for overcrowding, which means we are running the very real risk of pushing people off the railway. Instead, we need to support the growth of train travel with cheaper, simpler, fairer fares.”
It’s always galling when The Powers That Be tell you that you should be going green and using public transport, especially in light of the fact that, for the most part, public transport can be a hellish experience.
What’s worse is when you read a report saying it will probably get worse.
And so, in a report from MPs, it’s thought that overcrowding on trains in England and Wales will get substantially worse over the next four years, despite the fact the price of tickets will be going up. Wonderful.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the Department for Transport’s own plans suggested targets for increasing passenger places would be missed. Chairwoman of the PAC Margaret Hodge said MPs were concerned that the “already unacceptable levels of overcrowding will simply get worse and ever more intolerable”.
Her report – Increasing Passenger Rail Capacity – said the main problem was a lack of any incentive for the industry to supply extra capacity without additional taxpayer support. At the moment, train operators are required to use “reasonable endeavours” to give peak passengers “a reasonable expectation of a seat within 20 minutes of boarding”, but alas, there’s no legal obligation to expand the amount of carriages or improve stations.
This means that the taxpayer has to provide funds to Network Rail to carry out any upgrade work, which inevitably never comes.
One of the solutions suggested, apart from longer platforms, is that more operators should employ a smart card service (like the Oyster Card) which would allow train companies the chance to use the information about passenger numbers, which would hopefully help them to tackle the problem of overcrowding.
Hodge told the BBC that rail operating companies in the UK were more inefficient than those in other countries, so any reforms must be properly overseen. “We don’t think the regulator has been doing a particularly good job. We think it’s time to look again at the way that Network Rail and the operating companies are accountable to the public,” she said. “They don’t seem to think about how to use public money more efficiently. They think that the answer always lies in more taxpayers’ money or in commuters paying higher fares.”
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, described the report as a “shocking indictment of the total failure of rail privatisation”. He added: “Passengers are forced to pay through the nose to travel in obsolete and overcrowded carriages while private train operating companies are laughing all the way to the bank.”
Best start the car up…
Forget the jetpacks for just a moment, this is how your getting to work in 2030. It’s a 3d fast bus, or a ‘straddling’ bus, and it’s quite possibly the greatest bus every to adorn the planet. Actually, we can’t think of any buses that may compete for the title, and would therefore welcome your suggestions. It certainly beats Boris’s London Routemasters into a cocked a hat, and it’s the future of transport in Beijing’s Mentougou District:
The pilot scheme will see a 40km long path built for the bus, which will carry up to 1,400 commuters at a time, while still allowing traffic to pass by. Or under. Or through. Whatever. It will cost just 10% of building the equivalent length of subway, and could reduce traffic jams by nearly a third. To be honest, it could also be an entirely made-up story plucked from the pages of the now-defunct News without News, in that you don’t need a single word of copy to know what the story is:
Trains are the bane of our lives. Well, those of us who are daft enough to use ‘em. There’s always a spurious reason for delays, such as “there’s a patch of remorse on the line” or “the train is just to depressed to move any quicker”. Well, here’s a train that is completely honest about its plight.
Those of us who have to use public transport on a regular basis have seen our fair share of freaks and deviants, but if you got on the train later this evening and saw this going down, would you change carriages at the next stop or move closer to get a better look?
Those of a nervous disposition look away now – everyone else, follow me… Read the rest of this entry »
The idea of getting a train fills me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Travelling through the countryside at great speed… stretching out your legs as a nice old lady brings you tea.
Of course, the reality of a train journey snaps you out of it as you’re penned up like battery chickens on stinking carriages that invariably turn up late to a platform that tells you nothing and offers no shelter from the relentless downpour. And you can never find a pisser when you need one.
Not all train stations are rubbish… just most of them. But which are the worst? Well, a new report has come out naming the 10 worst railway stations in the country… and gutted if you live in the North West.
Manchester Victoria received the lowest satisfaction rating, followed by Clapham Junction, in south London, and Crewe, in Cheshire, according to the inspectors’ report, which calls on the Government to invest £50 million to carry out urgent improvements.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis (that can’t be his real name, surely?!), who witnessed the dilapidated state of some stations when he toured the country by train last summer, is due to visit 10 of the worst performers today, beginning at Clapham Junction.
The others bad’uns, as identified in the Station Champions report by Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green, were Barking, Stockport, Preston, Wigan North Western, Liverpool Central, Warrington Bank Quay and Luton. They were identified in a report by the Station Champions – Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green.
Lord Adonis said: “While touring the rail network in April this year, I was struck by the great variation in the passenger facilities at stations. Train travel has improved a good deal in recent years, but more needs to be done to improve conditions and services for passengers at stations.
“I want every station to be a good station – a hub of local community life and somewhere that you wouldn’t mind spending time, with adequate facilities. I support the report’s recommendations of minimum standards for stations – classed by size – in terms of information, car and bike parking, facilities and environment. I intend to make these minimum standards a requirement in future rail franchise agreements with train operating companies.”
Sir Peter and Mr Green said: “Stations are deeply entwined with their local community and effectively act as the gateway to both town and railway. They leave passengers with their lasting impressions of both. A dilapidated station is bad business for both town and railway.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “Passengers standing on wind-swept platforms across Britain should be able to find out if their train is coming or not. There are all too many stations that do not have any real-time information and in the 21st century this is outrageous. Today’s report highlights this issue, and supports our position that real-time information should be standard, not a luxury.”
Why don’t you share your miserable experience in Britain’s train stations in the comments?