The real great train robbers…

I moaned about UK transport issues whilst I was working in Japan… and here I go again!

I live in the countryside – that is a fact and a personal choice.  I accept and in fact support the need to impose heavy taxes on high polluting vehicles and do all we can to decrease the burden on the environment.

bus service was cut, leaving her stranded!

However, on the whole I recognise it is a choice to live where I do and would simply ask that we be presented with a few alternatives to using our car…  Our nearest bus stop is a mile away – with no footpath in between.  To walk there safely requires a 2 mile hike through several fields, across two stiles and two small footbridges.  A beautiful walk on the way to the pub on a Sunday – an awful trial if you are carrying some shopping.  And if we want to go further than just our local village store it involves at least two busses and a great deal of hassle.

According to my understanding of the situation (which is fairly limited), the Beeching Act was financially necessary due to the failing situation of the railways.  I know (from personal experience) that our current rail services are poorly run and overly expensive.  I wonder though… if we knew then what we know now, would all those miles of tracks still have disappeared?  Our rural transport situation would certainly be a great deal better.

What has brought this rant on? Well, it was partly the media coverage of help for financial areas but primarily my current situation – standing in a train carriage (I wrote this blog yesterday afternoon).  Once again the rail companies are assuming that because we have no alternative they can get away with daylight robbery.  I am quite certain that their terms and conditions legally protect them; but morally it is wrong for the train lines to expect passengers to pay the same prices for standing as they do for seats.  On the way into London, we were charged around £20 for a seat.  On the way out the price has more than doubled and we are forced to stand.  Today’s culprit is First Great Western but they are all at it.

The real great train robbers are the rail companies.

British public transport has the worst external image of any transport system that I can think of.  True, much of the issues lie at government, management and operational levels.  However, there are plenty of small changes that could be made on a communications level that would make such a difference and make us a little more willing to part with our cash when it comes to buying a ticket.

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