Showing posts from August, 2010

More Rail Fare Madness

I was looking at fares today for trains between Southampton and Carmarthen.  I know that fares in this country are complicated, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything this bad before.Looking at travel from the suburb of Swaythling, if I travel at 12.43 it will cost me £31.60, on a ‘turn up and go’ ticket.  If I travel an hour later, it will cost me £51.90, simply because the train takes a different route (even though the journey time is similar).  Waiting for the next train another hour later will save me money because the standard fare is back to £31.60 – but I can get an Advance fare for just £12.55.Airport Parkway has more trains and so I thought I might get more choice of Advance fares.  Apparently not, however.  Despite being further up the line (with a bus fare of £2), the cheapest ticket *on the same train* to Carmarthen is not £12.55 but £61.70.That’s an expensive walk or bus ride…

I’m in love with my car

So goes the Queen song, penned by drummer Roger Taylor.  Don’t ever say that he lacks lyrical genius.Anyway, I’m doing a bit of research in to transport in the US, and as I ponder America’s love affair with the car, I have come across some classic quotes.Apparently, “the automobile is the handiest tool ever devised for the pursuit of that unholy, unwholesome, all-American trinity of sex, speed and status.”Meanwhile, The Guardian recently reported that there are signs that the love affair is coming to an end.  This has not proven popular with one commentator, who advises“you must NOT publish articles like this!! Don't you realize that this could trigger the current US regime to mandate that people must buy more cars! The current (disastrous) draft healthcare legislation should give you a hint of what could come:- "US non-car owners to face stiff fines" "Mandatory car replacement legislation, US car owners must purchase new vehicles every 3 years or face jail!!" …

Cost of Travel (2)

Yesterday evening I went to visit a friend in Poole – and I had a lovely time doing so.However, the return journey has given me an excuse to indulge in a railway related rant.  Maybe that’s music to your ears (I haven’t had one in a little while, after all) but I hope you’ll otherwise bear with me.The (hourly) trains in the evening seem to stop at every house, farmyard and stable in the New Forest, so I had plenty of time to watch the world go by.  I must have somehow missed the throng of people alighting and embarking at Pokesdown (“for Boscombe”) but I was able to familiarise myself thoroughly with the list of scheduled calling points.  The bustling metropolis of Hinton Admiral was, of course, on the list, as was the large Hampshire town of Micheldever.  In fact, the train was due to stop at every station on the line…except St Denys and Swaythling.You might be thinking that this makes no sense, but compared with the busy streets of Shawford, the Southampton suburbs pale in to insign…

Cost of Travel

Although rail travel is generally seen as being quite expensive, some research just published by the TRG (Transport Research Group) in Southampton seems to suggest that it may be cheaper than driving.Interesting…though I shall wait until I have seen a proper copy of the published work, and understood the methodology and limitations of the study before I pass comment.

It’s an upside down world

Normally if your car was clambered on and smashed by thugs, you might consider calling the police.  What the heck does one do in this situation?  Freephone 999 now!

I had the best laid plans this side of America

So, last weekend was ‘the weekend I actually went to Cambridge.’  As opposed to ‘the weekend I didn’t go to Cambridge,’ which was unfortunate but is now water under the bridge.Whilst I was there, I had the pleasure of seeing various friends and on Saturday evening I was on a bus in to town to meet someone for a drink.  As the bus passed the end of his road I thought I would give him a call to see if I should get off the bus early and walk the remainder of the way.“Hello?” said the voice on the other end of the phone.“Hi!" I said, in a manner which suggested that my friend would have seen my name on his mobile and know it was me.  “I was just wondering…”“Hello?” came the voice on the other end of the phone.“Hi!” I said again, assuming that the noise of the people on the bus had drowned me out first time.“Who is this?”At this point I started to become a little confused. It didn’t sound like my friend, come to think of it – I’d blamed the background noise, but now I wasn’t so sure. …