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Old 18.05.2011, 12:48
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A complaint... about the UK!

On the Absurdity of British Public Transportation
OR
Why I am glad to live in CH
OR
A contrast in systems: Aloof Professionalism vs Pleasant Incompetence

Glad to be back in CH after a weekend in the UK

Went to a mate's stagdoo in the Lake District outside of Windemere last weekend. Good fun, good drinks, great companionship and conversation with some very Top Shelf quality friends, some old and some new.

So hung over and partially poisoned from 87 pints too many, i get thrown out of the car with a "cheers mate thanks for coming see you" at windermere on sunday around 13:00. i go into the station and am told that there are no trains on sunday because they do work on the lines then. so i'll have to go by coach , which evidently means bus in my native american-accented english. "and it leaves soon, in about an hour!" the woman behind the glass helpfully informed me. this coach will get me as far as preston, at which time i may board a train to manchester airport. 2hrs coach, 1hr train. Seems ok, right?

coach leaves on time. we spend the next hour driving down winding country roads to kendal and from there to oxenholme. the coach driver then informs us that window wipers on his bus are defective and we have to call a standby bus. "But not to worry", in the wonderful northern accent, "we'll get you to Preston one way or anuthah". 30mins later it shows up and we continually sullenly onwards. we head down the m6 and stop at every goddamn town along the m6, leave the motorway, work our way into the center of whichever town we find ourselves in, arrive at the station in the center of town where we are cheerfully told "nope noone to pick up, have a pleasant journey!" and repeat the process in reverse, back to the motorway, back down another 10miles to the next town...

finally get to preston 35mins late. its now 4hrs since i left windemeer. my plane leaves in 2hrs and the next train from preston to mac airport is... " running just a bit late, only about 30mins". This will put me in the airport railstation at the same time boarding begins.

so i go out and hop in a taxi, and 70 quid later run into the airport. ticketing and security are, by contrast, super super easy and light. no issue. then i get into the waiting hall and find out that the flight is delayed 30mins, meaning of course i couldve gone by rail afterall. FML.

Flight lands in zurich. Door opens. i check the watch. 10:02. Ran through customs and I was on the 10:20 S2 in the basement's bahnhof and walking into my home at 10:40.

Let's compare: 20mins to go 20miles in ZRH, vs. 5+hrs. to go 100miles in england.

How did you brits conquer half the planet and beat the germans twice with that kind of organization?

Es Lebe CH!
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:55
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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On the Absurdity of British Public Transportation
OR
Why I am glad to live in CH
OR
A contrast in systems: Aloof Professionalism vs Pleasant Incompetence

Glad to be back in CH after a weekend in the UK

Went to a mate's stagdoo in the Lake District outside of Windemere last weekend. Good fun, good drinks, great companionship and conversation with some very Top Shelf quality friends, some old and some new.

So hung over and partially poisoned from 87 pints too many, i get thrown out of the car with a "cheers mate thanks for coming see you" at windermere on sunday around 13:00. i go into the station and am told that there are no trains on sunday because they do work on the lines then. so i'll have to go by coach , which evidently means bus in my native american-accented english. "and it leaves soon, in about an hour!" the woman behind the glass helpfully informed me. this coach will get me as far as preston, at which time i may board a train to manchester airport. 2hrs coach, 1hr train. Seems ok, right?

coach leaves on time. we spend the next hour driving down winding country roads to kendal and from there to oxenholme. the coach driver then informs us that window wipers on his bus are defective and we have to call a standby bus. "But not to worry", in the wonderful northern accent, "we'll get you to Preston one way or anuthah". 30mins later it shows up and we continually sullenly onwards. we head down the m6 and stop at every goddamn town along the m6, leave the motorway, work our way into the center of whichever town we find ourselves in, arrive at the station in the center of town where we are cheerfully told "nope noone to pick up, have a pleasant journey!" and repeat the process in reverse, back to the motorway, back down another 10miles to the next town...

finally get to preston 35mins late. its now 4hrs since i left windemeer. my plane leaves in 2hrs and the next train from preston to mac airport is... " running just a bit late, only about 30mins". This will put me in the airport railstation at the same time boarding begins.

so i go out and hop in a taxi, and 70 quid later run into the airport. ticketing and security are, by contrast, super super easy and light. no issue. then i get into the waiting hall and find out that the flight is delayed 30mins, meaning of course i couldve gone by rail afterall. FML.

Flight lands in zurich. Door opens. i check the watch. 10:02. Ran through customs and I was on the 10:20 S2 in the basement's bahnhof and walking into my home at 10:40.

Let's compare: 20mins to go 20miles in ZRH, vs. 5+hrs. to go 100miles in england.

How did you brits conquer half the planet and beat the germans twice with that kind of organization?

Es Lebe CH!
Years of underinvestment in rail infrastructure by a private company have cost the UK dearly.

That stretch of line I believe is linked to the infamous "west coast mainline" which is constantly being repaired. It will take many years to sort the mess out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Coast_Main_Line

The reason why the bus stopped in every back water was because they have to stop at every station that has been affected by the rail line being out of order. Even the ones no one uses, as the line is out of order.

Still I get what you mean this is a typical UK story, I think sadly the locals have got used to it and allow additional time for the carnage which will definitely follow.

Just be greatful you weren't caught in a M6 snarl up, that's a real joy to be part of.
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:55
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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How did you brits conquer half the planet and beat the germans twice with that kind of organization?
We Brits didn't.

Our grandparents did.

The England of 2011 is not the same country as the one they built and lived in.
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:57
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

That is just one of many reasons that I will be leaving the UK for Switzerland as soon as I can.

Transport is Switzerland doesn't work perfectly but it seems to fail about as rarely as it is perfect in the UK.
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:57
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

Minicab (Mercedes E class) to London airport (40kms) 25 GBP/35CHF
Taxi to Zurich airport (5kms) 51CHF.

That is all.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:00
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

for what little it's worth.. mrs and I just took a GreatWestern train from Paddington to Plymouth two weeks ago with return journey last saturday.

on time and no delays ( suppose we were lucky really.. no leaves on the track etc, )
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:07
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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Minicab (Mercedes E class) to London airport (40kms) 25 GBP/35CHF
Taxi to Zurich airport (5kms) 51CHF.

That is all.
Public transport:
Zurich - Airport CHF6.40
London - Airport 5.00 (CHF7.00)
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:08
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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Public transport:
Zurich - Airport CHF6.40
London - Airport 5.00 (CHF7.00)
So...the same.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:10
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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So...the same.
Problem is one arrives on time and the other well...it's anyone's guess when it turns up.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:12
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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for what little it's worth.. mrs and I just took a GreatWestern train from Paddington to Plymouth two weeks ago with return journey last saturday.

on time and no delays ( suppose we were lucky really.. no leaves on the track etc, )
Yeah, that's a classic British Rail Fail weather excuse right up there with "the wrong kind of rain".
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:14
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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Problem is one arrives on time and the other well...it's anyone's guess when it turns up.
If a train being 30 minutes late will make you miss your flight then it's your own fault.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:16
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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So...the same.
They may be similar in real terms. Public transport in Switzerland is much cheaper relative to other prices/earnings.

I suspect that Swiss taxi fares are higher due to operating costs & salaries. Fuel prices are quite similar. With such a regular and efficient transport system in Switzerland there can rarely be the need for a taxi.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:16
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

Glennsche, have you never heard of that old British adage, "travelling is more important than arriving"?
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:17
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

I will agree, the British public transport system is rather sad compared to Switzerland. I still look up for the electronic signs telling me when the next bus is due, and miss hearing the stops announced on the bus.

However, as frustrating as public transport can be here, it is so far and away better than anything I've experienced in the US. I've taken Amtrack (dear god, never again) and attempted to navigate my way around Cleveland Ohio without a car - the bus stops are even worse than here (unlabelled, you don't even know which bus stops there, much less the schedule, the stops are just a sign with the transport symbol on them). I've also taken Greyhound, which...I was actually impressed with.

The OP is from California, from what I understand the public transport system there is even far worse than the east coast/midwest of the US.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:19
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

Been living here in the UK nearly a year now and I do miss the swiss transport system.
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:20
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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Public transport:
Zurich - Airport CHF6.40
London - Airport 5.00 (CHF7.00)

Eh london to which airport?? Heathrow is at least 18
gatwick is at least 10 on the day
london city is what ever a travel card costs now, about 10 as well
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:21
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

Who dares complain about the UK?? lol
I just came back from London and thinking of moving there from CH...
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:23
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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They may be similar in real terms. Public transport in Switzerland is much cheaper relative to other prices/earnings.
OK you have a point - public transport in Switzerland is a good deal.

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I suspect that Swiss taxi fares are higher due to operating costs & salaries. Fuel prices are quite similar. With such a regular and efficient transport system in Switzerland there can rarely be the need for a taxi.

Thing is, I really think Taxi drivers in Zurich make a killing. I keep seeing the same faces driving so there can't be so many of them and they're always busy. Having said that, I once went to Schaffhausen and was running late to meet someone for lunch (I'm never late and get very nervous when I think I might be). I asked the taxi driver outside the station to drop me at the restaurant. It turned out to be a 9chf ride because it was literally 250 meters away! In Zurich he would have yelled but those taxis looked like they'd be sitting there for the whole day with no business. In summary - if you have a country full of country-folk you need to charge more because you aren't that busy. In my opinion this is where they frequently get it wrong in Switzerland. They say: right, my shop running costs are 3k chf per month, I sell 6 pairs of jeans a month so I need to price them at 500 chf each. Now if they ran at a loss for a while then maybe they'd generate huge trade and sell a pair of jeans an hour.

I was thinking this about beauty places here - there are so many people who don't get a manicure here because it's 40chf instead of 8. However it takes 30 minutes so if they charges 20chf instead of 40chf then they could do 14 per day (280chf).
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:24
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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However, as frustrating as public transport can be here, it is so far and away better than anything I've experienced in the US. I've taken Amtrack (dear god, never again) and attempted to navigate my way around Cleveland Ohio without a car - the bus stops are even worse than here (unlabelled, you don't even know which bus stops there, much less the schedule, the stops are just a sign with the transport symbol on them). I've also taken Greyhound, which...I was actually impressed with.

The OP is from California, from what I understand the public transport system there is even far worse than the east coast/midwest of the US.
The US has no public transportation at all! well, maybe except for a few select cities like New York & Chicago...but then if you can own a car, why care to wait for a bus or a tram and spend your life sniffing all the sweat from close by passengers?!??!! especially construction workers
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Old 18.05.2011, 13:25
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Re: A complaint... about the UK!

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We Brits didn't.

Our grandparents did.

The England of 2011 is not the same country as the one they built and lived in.
Very true indeed, its been all down hill for the last 50 years, It quite disheartenning to see actually, i hope that one day logic will win over greed, but i cannot see this happenning in the near future.
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