Transport in London is shit

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (1218 of them)
That is definately needed.

Ed (dali), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:06 (8 years ago) Permalink

First Bus are absolute bastards. They put up their prices towards the end of last year due to "fuel costs". But according to Private Eye, this is nonsense, as they struck a two year fixed price deal with their suppliers (or something like that). Glasgow buses are dirty, you have to have the exact change, most of the bus stops don't have timetables (apparently this is partly so they can meet their reliability targets - less bus stops with time tables means its harder to prove a bus is late). I suppose I'm quite lucky as I live just off Dumbarton Rd, so there's no shortage of buses, and there's always the low level train, which is fantastic, as long as you live on the route that is.

The full horror of British Rail prices will soon hit me as my Young Persons Rail Card runs out in March. A peak time return from Glasgow to Edinburgh costs about £18. That's a 40 minute journey. Peak time Glasgow to Stirling, however, costs £8.30. And that's a 35 minute journey. WTF?

That said, having travelled on the geriatric, freezing and slow trains south of London in order to get to ATP, we've at least got half decent rolling stock in Scotland. At least, in those parts of the country unaffected by the Beeching Cuts.

London transport is pretty decent, but then I don't live there so don't have to face all the problems commuters do. The big problem with transport systems in British cities is the lack of integration. The best public transport I've come across is in Berlin. As soon as you work out the difference between the s-bahn and the u-bahn etc you're sorted.

stew!, Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

Why, if I'm out in London, am I stranded if I decide to stay out after midnight?

dude, you're not.

when you're looking to move somewhere - in london or elsewhere - you check out the transport links (tube, buses, nightbuses, overground, tram, dlr, whatever) and if the provision is incompatible with your lifestyle, don't move to that part of london/wherever. i'm sure there are far-flung places on london's edges that are not served by nightbuses, but i've never found any and wtf would you be living there for? it's not meant for you, obviously.

emsk ( emsk), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

jesus. ^^

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:13 (8 years ago) Permalink

what?

emsk ( emsk), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:23 (8 years ago) Permalink

emsk, I think the problem Dog Latin has is the same one as me—the late train back out of London to Hitchin and Cambridge was scrapped some time ago, meaning that the last train back from King's X is something like 12:15am.

tissp! (the impossible shortest specia), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:25 (8 years ago) Permalink

I never used to be able to get back to Ruislip later than 12.15 and that's in Zone 5/6. This was not helped by LT changing the N98's route back in the late 90s so that it only went as far as Northolt. Had to get a cab from there a few times. I thought this was all very rubbish considering the number of tube stations Ruislip has. But then I got a job in town and could move somewhere a bit closer to the action so it worked out I guess.

Sororah T Massacre (blueski), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

Gotta say that the Oxford Tube stopping at Hillingdon station at all hours of the night was a real godsend though. Cost £3 to get from the centre of London to Hillingdon but then a £5/6 cab to travel a fraction of the distance from there as that was the only way home.

Sororah T Massacre (blueski), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

lots of the ppl i work with live bleedin' miles out in essex or kent (but still 'london').

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:31 (8 years ago) Permalink

it used to cost about a fiver return *from oxford* to london, and i'd often walk from the marble arch stop to wherever i was going; it still costs me a fiver return from north london...

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

oh! ok! sorry. i thought he meant since he'd moved to london. or did he not move to london, did i make that part up? anyway yeah, in that case i'm 100% in agreement, links between cities that are not that far away from each other (post-11pm even, never mind midnight) are appalling. i assume it's bc they don't want pissed-up binge-drinkers from pissed-up binge-drink britain puking all over their trains?

but if you live in london, you can totally stay out as late as you want and get home on a bus/combination of buses. except possibly in aforementioned far-flung "zone b" places or whatever.

emsk ( emsk), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

BAN THIS SICK FILTH

tissp! (the impossible shortest specia), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:35 (8 years ago) Permalink

BAN THIS FILTHY SICK

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:38 (8 years ago) Permalink

Enrique is there a reason why you have decided not to get an Oyster? From what you're saying it seems fairly clear to me that it would save you money, and cost does seem to be quite a concern for you.

Tim (Tim), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

wha? no i do have an oyster.

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:42 (8 years ago) Permalink

yes cost 'is quite a concern for me' wtf.

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:42 (8 years ago) Permalink

a tube fare for 2-3 miles might be expensive, but not if you go 10 miles for 3.00 pounds (which you could do). similarly, my bus journey saves me a 45 minute walk. i reckon that is worth 1.50, which is after all, cheaper than a pint, but if it was the equivalent of a 15 minute walk it would be expensive.

im questioning how much you value transport, and where you get your concept of cheap or expensive from. how much should transport cost us as a proportion of our overall outgoings?
should we be able to commute from hitchin to london every day? given the restraints on capacity on the train network in london, how possible is it to accomodate the numbers of commuters coming in every day?

why do planners in hertfordshire allow developers to build new blocks of luxury/executive apartments right next to rail stations with decent commuter train services, when there is no improvement to the service to accomodate the increased number of comuters that these developments are sure to bring?

im questioning the concepts that a) we should be able to travel where and when we want/need to, from where and to where, and b) that this travel should be "cheap" "affordable" or at the least "not expensive" c) the travel should be reliable, or high quality, or predictable, ro something. why are any of these givens that we "should" have access to them? becasue it costs 1.50 to get the bus? does that cover the full cost of providing that service? i appreciate that anger is mainly focussed on he fact that fares are set to cover increasing profits for the private involvement in providing transport services rather than covering the costs, but i find it strange that bus dergeulation for example took place a full 20 years ago, and yet an organisation like "We Want Our Buses Back" has only just been set up.
the fact that london is the most safeguarded against the worst effects of privatisation in public transport and that other areas are desperately trying to get round the impositions in place to achieving a similar set up means that its hard not to envy, rather than denigrate public transport in London from a provinicial persepctive

ambrose (ambrose), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:44 (8 years ago) Permalink

(many many xposts)

Is this actually true? I'd always thought received wisdom said the exact opposite.

Yeah, I found New York transpot to be awful. Admittedly it is a lot cheaper, which makes it sort of forgivable, but then when what ought to be a 40 minute journey regularly ended up taking 90 minutes, I tended to feel I'd have been happier to pay more and just get there.

Ok, I'm going to rant here. You know the handy electronic readouts you get on the tube telling you how long you have to wait for the next train? None of that on the NY subway, you just have to stand and wait and hope. On the A/C line (where I was staying) it seemed 4 out of 5 trains were express, and didn't stop at my stop, so even though a train might pass every five minutes, i'd only be able to get on one every 25 minutes. Each weekend at least one line will be closed completely, for engineering works or whatever, and there's no staff around to give out announcements to let you know about that. There's just A4 sheets stuck to some pillars, which are easily missed, so it's very easy to stand and wait 20 minutes for a train that isn't ever coming. Stations stay open all night, yeah, but quite often a station will close all but one entrance/exit, which can mean a ten minute walk in the wrong direction to even get inside there. and once you do get in, you find that trains after 11pm only run on certain routes, and become incredibly infrequent.

Really, Londoners don't know they're born.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:45 (8 years ago) Permalink

should we be able to commute from hitchin to london every day? given the restraints on capacity on the train network in london, how possible is it to accomodate the numbers of commuters coming in every day?

when government decided to build a commuter belt on the basis that the people who lived there would many of them work in london, they kind of made a commitment, don't you think, to affordable transport?

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:47 (8 years ago) Permalink

(New York taxis piss all over London ones though, admittedly).

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:48 (8 years ago) Permalink

I liked the subway in NYC, seemed to work fairly well, no frills

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:48 (8 years ago) Permalink

ambrose is very OTM in many ways.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:49 (8 years ago) Permalink

im questioning the concepts that a) we should be able to travel where and when we want/need to, from where and to where, and b) that this travel should be "cheap" "affordable" or at the least "not expensive" c) the travel should be reliable, or high quality, or predictable, ro something. why are any of these givens that we "should" have access to them?

as i say it's one of those social-contract-y things, along the lines of 'why should we expect' 'free' hospital care, schools, etc. you're own views on deregulation are opaque.

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:50 (8 years ago) Permalink

I didn't use the NY metro much but when I did it was fine. I esp. love that air conditioning on the 6. We never had to wait too long for one either. But if I'd been spending more time there and using it every day as Jim presumably did I'd have noticed the flaws no doubt.

Another thing I liked is that you don't need your ticket to exit the station, only to enter it.

Sororah T Massacre (blueski), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:50 (8 years ago) Permalink

£67.10 per week.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:50 (8 years ago) Permalink

ambrose, if these things are *not* the responsibility of government (which has, like it or not, taken a guiding role in the creation of the infrastructure and thus the economy itself over the last 90-odd years) then okay then, leave it to the market -- but that would imply, i think, major tax cuts (that way i coulf afford a £2.50 tube ride). if these things are *not* 'givens (and nothing is a given, point is there might be a large public demand for them), why are umpteen other things you take for granted (eg healthcare), givens?

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 11:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

Transport in London is LOTS better than transport in New York.

no, no, no! jim had a bad experience being stuck on the c line, but in general it's loads better in nyc. cheaper, faster, larger trains with better ventilation and 24 hr service, plus the lovely air conditioned buses. perhaps most importantly, lines don't go out of service with anything near the frequency that they do in london.

lauren (laurenp), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:00 (8 years ago) Permalink

(haha sorry NRQ I misread something upthread and thought you were perversely holding out against oyster, hence my comments. £5 does seem a lot, for a return fare, though you wouldn't actually pay any more for several return fares in one day, would you? Not that that helps you if all you want to do is take a return a day. My travel is not really like that, I tend to take lots of journeys when I'm out and about, and I pay a little way over £2.70 a day for my monthly z1+2 travelcard. It could be cheaper, certainly, but for the use I get out of it I regard that as good value.)

Tim (Tim), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:04 (8 years ago) Permalink

Healthcare is "the right not to get ill", which is fine. But transport isn't necessarily "the right to live where I want, in nice leafy suburbia where houses are cheaper and living costs are lower and a pint is 30p less, but also work in central london where salaries are substantially higher".

Maybe I just got unluck in NY, but I was consistently unlucky for a whole month. It was upsetting.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:04 (8 years ago) Permalink

Also, people commuting long distances is environmentally unsound. If you want to work in london, I really reckon you should suck up the rent increase and live in london.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:05 (8 years ago) Permalink

Build more council houses

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:09 (8 years ago) Permalink

"Don't go to London, I guarantee you'll either be mugged or under appreciated"

tissp! (the impossible shortest specia), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:09 (8 years ago) Permalink

Healthcare is "the right not to get ill", which is fine. But transport isn't necessarily "the right to live where I want, in nice leafy suburbia where houses are cheaper and living costs are lower and a pint is 30p less, but also work in central london where salaries are substantially higher".

no, the 'burbs and the commuter towns were *designed* for commuters! one of the roles assigned to government has been strategic planning of this sort. there aren't that many jobs in bethnal green; but then there isn't much accommodation in the city.

why is 'the right not to get ill' fine anyway?

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

Man Without Shadow OTMFM! Why does it cost SO MUCH just to be able to go to work? Why is it so expensive for me to want to maybe see a little more of this country? I've never really been to visit the north other than the odd occasion. I'd be a lot more interested in finding out what the rest of this little mudslat is like if it didn't cost me £30 just to get to, say Oxford or somewhere similar.

ambrose brought up this:

should we be able to commute from hitchin to london every day? given the restraints on capacity on the train network in london, how possible is it to accomodate the numbers of commuters coming in every day?

why do planners in hertfordshire allow developers to build new blocks of luxury/executive apartments right next to rail stations with decent commuter train services, when there is no improvement to the service to accomodate the increased number of comuters that these developments are sure to bring?

This is true. Letchworth, Stevenage and Hitchin were all built or have become commuter towns and are all currently subject to huge landscape changes on account of new, upperscale apartments being built. A lot of people protest this, citing that the community can't take this influx of people. I reckon the train's will be the first to suffer here as they're already buckling under the current pressure.

Vintage Latin (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:19 (8 years ago) Permalink

... I think you'll find it's rail track that generally buckles under pressure in Britain

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:20 (8 years ago) Permalink

This is true. Letchworth, Stevenage and Hitchin were all built or have become commuter towns and are all currently subject to huge landscape changes on account of new, upperscale apartments being built. A lot of people protest this, citing that the community can't take this influx of people. I reckon the train's will be the first to suffer here as they're already buckling under the current pressure.

-- Vintage Latin (doglati...), February 14th, 2006.

yeah, we entrust this kind of thing to JOHN PRESCOTT so, well, there's your joined-up govt for ya.

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:23 (8 years ago) Permalink

why is 'the right not to get ill' fine anyway?

It's the difference between the state being obliged to provide people with a reasonable wuality of life, and the state being obliged to provide people with the perfect ideal-world life they want.

the 'burbs and the commuter towns were *designed* for commuters!

I don't know if that's quite true - they became necessary due to inner-city overcrowding I guess, yeah. But being built through necessity, and being "designed" aren't really the same thing. Still, I guess that yeah, it's a bit naive to say "everyone who works in london should live here", so there wouldn't be room. In that sense, you're maybe right that the state has responsibility to make commuting viable.

But then London salaries are still weighted up. So I guess that extra money people make here either goes on rent/mortgage, if you're central, or else travel, if you're not. Swings and roundabouts though, it all sort of balances out in the end.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:23 (8 years ago) Permalink

There is London weighting, but generally and after tax it doesn't really compare to the amount the trains are getting. It's crippling for, take graduates for example who might want to do a low-payed internship or work experience in the city and it means only the more privileged type will be able to do this for 6 months or more before finally being offered a proper income. Not everyone who works in London gets a high enough wage to justify the cost of getting to work.

And yeh, it is a bit silly to say "if you want to work in London, you should live here too" because otherwise everyone would end up living in London in the end.

Vintage Latin (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

Why is it so expensive for me to want to maybe see a little more of this country? I've never really been to visit the north other than the odd occasion. I'd be a lot more interested in finding out what the rest of this little mudslat is like if it didn't cost me £30 just to get to, say Oxford or somewhere similar.

Thes things aren't a right! They're a luxury! 50-60 years ago, my grandparents lived outside oldham, and went to wakefield every year for their holidays. Blackpool if they were feeling flush. And that was that! They didn't feel they were being fucked over by the government cos they couldn't ever afford the fare to Brighton or Bath instead. Yeah, sure, some people can afford to travel round lots more nowadays, and they're lucky. If you can't, tough shit, that's not the government's fault. And all these people who *are* travelling round more are creating a lot more greenhouse gasses while they're doing it. The world would be better off if they'd stay put a bit more. A good way to encourage people to do this is to have it cost a realistic (rather than a subsidised, cheap) amount.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:34 (8 years ago) Permalink

and went to wakefield every year for their holidays

Oh get outta here, nobody ever went to Wakefield for their holidays! Where's the friggin' sea for a start?!??!?!

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:39 (8 years ago) Permalink

my own views on deregulation are opaque to me, let alone to others.

i think:

a) expectations of public transport are at the least hopeful, if unrealistic
b) public transport wholly in the hands of the public sector historically has not been overly successful in this country
c) private sector involvement in public transport by no means guarantees improved service and the objectives of private companies (ie $$$$) frequently and unacceptably conflicts with the aims of public transport provision (ahaha which are ______ ?)
d) comparisons to public transport in other countries frequently forget concrete factors eg population density, density of building, exisintg infrastructure, and more unprovable ones; political willpower, general incompetence in administration. and crucially "willingness to pay". this thread has established that there is a low willingness to pay for transport in the form of fares, but what about our willingness to fund transport through tax revenue? e) the british suspicion of public spending and the ability of the public sector to spend public money in an effective way, cf the intense scrutiny that public bodies are under when a tenner is mispent, completes a vicious circle with the inability of the public sector to "deliver" good services and not spend money well.

as with health, there is a certain extent (which in health is mostly very small) to which we can influence our own demand for that service. that makes up participants, not total victims, in the service that we get.

everyday i have to straighten out problems that are engendered by a deregulated environment in which transport finds itself. nevertheless, i cant see the current ethos being changed across government, and wholesale renationalisation coming in. nor am i convinced that it would solve the problem. as a result, i have to try and work within this to get the best out of the situation. control over fares, service quality, dirty buses etc is only going to happen with a degree of regulation. the effects of the market are warped when it comes to transport because there is a captive market for starters. thus first will continue to make profits even as patrongae declines as they squeeze higher fares out of those who have to use their services and can least afford it. the situation in london as regards the buses is pretty much the optimum i think, in terms of what we can aspire to. other countries are taking an interest in the situation in the UK and the situation where large amounts of public money are spent on public transport in Europe, and high levels of service are achieved, may well change over time.

in my own time spent living in london i found the service excellent and affordable. i lived next to a bus route, changed twice to get to work, it took me 40 minutes and cost me 2% of my weekly earnings to travel. This was in my estimation, a good service. i never got the tube as i got to wherever i wanted to on the bus, and if i couldnt get there by bus, most of the time i didnt go - i tailored my lifestyle to bus routes by and large. i got a pre pay oystercard for one off tube journeys but hardly ever used it.

i feel that we dont value transport enough as a nation. we are unwilling to accept how dominant it is in our lives, laugh at those who pursue an active interest in it, expect it to be much cheaper than maybe it can be, and dont accept that increasingly it needs to influence our choices in life in a much more dominant way. our demand for travel has skyrocketed as transport has become more available, faster and easier. but transport is a derived demand. it exists only because we create a scenario in which we need it. i welcome bad or good press about transport, eg recent far increases in sheffield, becasue it stimulates people to think about what they want from transport, and how they view it. should we able to journey from one end of a large metropolis to another to visit a friend, in under and hour and at a certain price? what costs are we imposing as a result of this desire? if we want cheap, high qwuality public transport, how will it be paid for? by the farebox, or through public spending from taxes? are we competent enough to spend money well enough to deliver that service? how do our desires for freedom, individualism and even eccentricity conflict with the ability to provide an efficient transport system?

ambrose (ambrose), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:39 (8 years ago) Permalink

It's the difference between the state being obliged to provide people with a reasonable quality of life, and the state being obliged to provide people with the perfect ideal-world life they want.

These things aren't a right! They're a luxury! 150-160 years ago, my great-great-grandparents worked in factories at the age of nine. They certainly didn't expect a hand-out or "health-care". And that was that! They didn't feel they were being fucked over by the government because it refused to tax the factory-owners in order to give them a life over the age of 35. The world would be better off if people died younger. A good way to encourage people to do this is to have healthcare cost a realistic (rather than a subsidised, cheap) amount.

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:40 (8 years ago) Permalink

take graduates for example who might want to do a low-payed internship or work experience in the city

Jobs that require this type of relatively-underpaid (or even unpaid) initial experience invariably make up for it later with significantly higher salaries...the only reason they can get away with that system is that they're high-demand jobs, and they're high demand because they're ultimately lucrative. Yes, it's sucky in many ways, but you can get a loan and pay it off later. or you can choose to work in a diffeerent industry. What you can't do is expect taxpayers in general (many of whom DO work in other industries) to help you out by subsidising your travel.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:40 (8 years ago) Permalink

Heh, maybe I mean Wigan instead of Wakefield, i always get them mixed up. But yeah, Wigan Pier was famously a sea substitute.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

i think my solution is:


move to holland LOL

ambrose (ambrose), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

But then London salaries are still weighted up.

This is a myth, or a hangover from the seventies or something. My central London salary is not weighted, and a quick look at job offers would suggest that not many are, at least not in the private sector.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:42 (8 years ago) Permalink

b) public transport wholly in the hands of the public sector historically has not been overly successful in this country

Disagree. On a local level it works (and worked) well. Admittedly there were problems on a national level - but mountain/molehill time

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:43 (8 years ago) Permalink

also, heh, me = pwned by enrique, sort of. :)

Except that obviously they're not the same thing, the right to healthcare is NOT the same as the right to go somewhere nice for your holidays. It just isn't.

JimD (JimD), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:44 (8 years ago) Permalink

"take graduates for example who might want to do a low-payed internship or work experience in the city"

Jobs that require this type of relatively-underpaid (or even unpaid) initial experience invariably make up for it later with significantly higher salaries...the only reason they can get away with that system is that they're high-demand jobs, and they're high demand because they're ultimately lucrative. Yes, it's sucky in many ways, but you can get a loan and pay it off later.

-- JimD (ji...), February 14th, 2006.


tbh i think dog latin was talking about jobs in the media/publishing, most of which are not all that lucrative. it's a small point, but the london bias of the media/publishing nexus which favours those yougnsters whose parents live in london, does tend to skew the media in a white, u-mid class fashion (ok maybe it'd be that way whatever...).

The Man Without Shadow (Enrique), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:47 (8 years ago) Permalink

Guess what? Most people who live in London aren't earning a lot of money.

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 12:48 (8 years ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.