Back to customer service this week and a trio of unrelated incidents that have got me thinking about this again. Read more…
As it is a Holiday Monday I thought a little frivolity could surface and so, having been reading about the Mayoral campaign on a couple trips to London recently, it strikes me that I might make a suggestion.
One issue for both candidates seemed to be to do something about “the monolith that is Transport for London”. If so, then I ask that they axe the DffTCB; The Department for frustrating ThatConsultantBloke. I have a picture of something like this: Read more…
For all that we talk about the new technologies and philosophies bringing us alternative ways of working, agile working, knowledge working and all of these buzz phrases the Transport for London plans show the Mayor’s Transport Strategy having a predicted growth in employment in London growing by 750,000 people between now and 2031 and looks at how the capital can handle that growth on its public transport networks and roads.
So where are all of these people going to work? Sure, not all of them will be office employees, but such numbers suggest that there is no real sign of mass decamping from the city’s offices does it? Read more…
Recently I had a meeting near London Bridge, but which way to travel? I go up to town about 15 times a year on average these days, and I’ve had bad luck with trains to and from Swindon one way and another in recent years.
An additional issue is that the cost is very high if I can’t book well in advance, and I try to keep costs down regardless of whether it is I or my client who is paying. A spontaneous run up to The Smoke from Swindon will cost about £120 including the car park for example. Another problem is the latter; car parking is a bit hit and miss if I’m not there reasonably early and, if I get there and can’t park, I’ve driven 15 minutes in the wrong direction and have therefore wasted about half an hour by the time I get to the M4 heading East to try an alternative.
Over time I’ve developed options for driving part way, usually to Reading where there is covered parking next to the station, a connecting walkway to the platforms plus extra train options from other routes that converge there. Nett journey time from my house to Paddington is about the same as going from Swindon, but the rail and car park charge is so much less that, even allowing for a mileage charge at HMRC rates, I can still do the run for about £35 less that by rail from Swindon.
Another option is to drive to Basingstoke. The extra mileage cancels out the slightly cheaper rail fare making it on a par with the run to Reading, but the traffic is easier and the cross country drive via my home town of Newbury is pleasant. The trains take me into Waterloo, so it is an easy walk from there to London Bridge, or across the river into central London if I’m going to, say, the IoD or Whitehall.
So I favour this hybrid journey of road and rail combined. Certainly it is less effective in terms of my green leanings, but it provides me with a cheaper and less stressful journey and, for the part I do in the car, is far more comfortable. Trains these days I find appallingly uncomfortable, and yes, I do understand that my size has something to do with that, but, whilst I accept responsibility for my girth, I can’t do a lot about my skeletal height and width. Train seating these days is clearly designed for dwarves and midgets and the lack of anywhere decent to park my carcass takes a lot of the pleasure away from what used to be a treat.
I loved taking the train, especially in the 80’s when I travelled around a lot of the UK by British Rail. And also trains in Denmark, Germany, France and the USA.
Even in my various spells of commuting into the City during the 60s into the 80s there was a bit more space and the seats were tall enough for me to have somewhere to rest my head, but then some idiot design team came in and refurbished all the carriages with small seats, plastic and strip lighting and the world of rail travel went on a downward spiral for me.
Now we have these ultra modern trains with their garish and lurid colour schemes that offer a period of torture rather than the pleasures of old. Yes, they are usually clean and reliable, but are they what we need to attract people onto public transport, especially given the, often extortionate, cost?
Such is progress.
If the service before the one you are now waiting for had been as late running as the one you are waiting for is, you’d be on your way by now.
This is an old adage, coined 30 odd years ago when I used to travel by bus a lot. This blog entry was prompted when I had a trip by train to London. Knowing that there were 3 trains at about 10 minute intervals at that time of the morning I headed for the station. The first train had just hove into view as I locked my car, but pulled out bang on time as I walked up the steps to the platform. The next train was shown as 25 minutes late and that had pushed the one behind back as well. If the first one had been just 1 minute late I would have been on it. Such is life.