Is it just me....?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. dong20

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    Or is European* public transport insanely cheap. Today I had a day off and went from my hotel door in Bratislava into town and then on to Vienna on a shiny new catamaran then bought a 24hr All Vienna pass, a return rail ticket back to Bratislava (cheaper than a single) and a bus back to my hotel.

    Everything from the tram here to the bus back was exactly on time, clean and comfortable. The total cost, door to door as near as I can work it - 40 Euro.

    Now, that is a bargain.

    * Excluding UK because public transport there is stupidly expensive. For example a round trip, 1st class full fare ticket from London to Liverpool (2h 20 min and 220 miles) is......£320 or approx 500 Euro/$600!!

    By way of contrast I brought a 1st class ticket last week from Budapest to Bratislava, approx same distance and time - return for approx 28 Euro!

    I've been on public transport in many many countries but usually as a transient visitor so it's hard to get a real feel for it on a day to day basis and not much in Europe.

    So today has prompted me to ask, how good is it and what does public transport cost in LPSG 'lands'...?
     
  2. aristarchus

    aristarchus Member

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    It's not just you. You are right on both points--the Continent is insanely cheap and the UK is stupidly expensive (and of much lower quality).

    Alas, the US (again) resembles the UK more than Europe--comes with our governments not being willing to subsidize sensible transportation. (No offense to denizens of the UK, but why couldn't the US have been successfully colonized by the French or somebody from the Continent?? :mad: We wouldn't have half the problems...oh, sorry, back to the topic...)

    If you're out of the Washington-Boston corridor or parts of the West Coast, you're flat out of luck for decent public transport. And here it is expensive--about $50 per 100 miles and $100 on the better ones, and don't ask about "first class"--it's about the same as what you quote for the London-Liverpool run. Still, I'm incredibly grateful that Amtrak exists, even if expensive and slow.
     
  3. dong20

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    The French gave it a try......but you would have had a whole other range of problems....:smile:

    Thanks for the info. I'm just watching a CNN special about fossil fuel use in the US called "Out of Gas". Very alarmist but not entirely without cause.
     
  4. SpeedoGuy

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    There's a whole different ethic regarding public tranportation in the US. On the whole, my experience has been that public transit is not very good in the US. It doesn't have to be so but that's the reality in the minds of many Americans. I think there are a number of reasons why:

    In the US, public transportation systems such as buses and trains tend to be heavily subsidized by government funding. Conventional wisdom holds that, because of government management, public transit is inefficient and generally can't pay for itself in the face of the overwhelmingly supremacy of the private automobile. Public transit is seen as being something like a welfare recipient on the government dole....not worthy of serious consideration. This is part of the reason why public transit tends to be looked down on here.

    The other reason is that public transit is generally perceived as the abode of people who are too poor to afford cars...the undesireables, the dregs of society. In other words, anyone who dares choose to ride public transit runs an excellent risk of having to sit next to a smelly, unwashed, homeless grandmother or a gang of vulgar young thugs who might at any moment knock you down and take your wallet.

    With all those pitfalls and drawbacks in the backs of their minds, its no wonder Americans generally prefer to drive their cars unless they have no other choice.
     
  5. dong20

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    Is it publicy subsidised and publically run or can public subsidies apply to private providers too, as it can in the UK?

    I've come across this attitude when in the US before and here on LPSG too. There's an element of the same attitude in the UK but to nothing like the same degree. In London for example public transport is really the only way to get around in sensible timescales. As a consequence it can be seriously overcrowded.

    Outside of major urban areas public transport is often much thinner on the ground of course and much more likely to be viewed as a poor second choice.

    In many if not most cases services receive large sums in the form of public subsidy. Routes that are not viable in terms of revenue generation are maintained in this way. Rural services are especially vulnerable to budget cutbacks.

    In the rest of Europe, well at least the parts I've been to the attitude is very different, public transport is 'embedded' in the cultural psyche such that it's likely to be the de facto first choice. Some of this is driven by economic factors of course and car use is still growing, especially in many former eastern bloc countries. But in many countries it's simply seen as responsible behaviour.

    A key difference between the UK and many other nations being the level of public investment in the transport infrastructure.
     
  6. B_HappyHammer1977

    B_HappyHammer1977 New Member

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    That's there, but don't expect it to be that cheap if you come to Britain! Fookin' extortionate!
     
  7. dreamer20

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    I blame Margaret Thatcher.
    :soapbox:
     
  8. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    I think if North America had the same population density as Europe, public transport would be far more popular than it is. With that greater density, it would be far more difficult to maintain the same vehicle/population density that North America 'enjoys.'
    Especially now that environmental concerns are so much in the foreground.
     
  9. mindseye

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    Some communities have developed excellent local public transportation systems. Here in Blacksburg, for example: $8 for a one-month all-you-can-ride pass, or a six-month pass for under $40. Seven day service from September to May, six day service during the summer months. This includes connecting service to Christiansburg, VA at no extra charge, and connecting service to Roanoke, VA for $3 extra per trip (and Roanoke is 42 miles away!)

    What we lack, unfortunately, is good air service. The nearest "hub" airport is in Charlotte, NC, and flying out of the New River Valley is expensive.
     
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