Posts Tagged ‘public transport’

Scandal of closed ticket offices on Athens Metro

October 23, 2018

Athens has a state-of-the-art Metro. The trains are overcrowded, the ticket offices closed.

Acropoli is one of the busiest stations on the Metro. International visitors for The Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Plaka.

The ticket office is not manned.

Three automated machines, which no one knows how to use.

Longer to wait to use machine than journey time.

I hate to think what is is like when station busy.

Put in a note, a cascade of coins piling out onto the floor as though won the jackpot on a one-armed bandit in a casino.

My turn. Select language. What do I want, one ticket for 24 hours, two tickets? There were many more options.

Ticket for 24 hours? Does this mean, can use ticket within 24 hours, or does it mean my ticket may be used many times over the next 24 hours.

No idea.

I choose two tickets.  2-70 euros. Luckily I have in change 2-70 euros.

The problem is not only Acropoli. Every single Metro station is now unmanned.

Greece has massive unemployment thanks to EU destroying Greek economy. What’s done instead of employing people make more people unemployed.

Not only Metro. Back way into Ancient Agora closed and locked, staffing cuts.

No 64 bus route Alton to Winchester

November 19, 2017

A new fleet of buses on the No 64 route Alton came into service last week.

Officially came into service today with the introduction of a new timetable.

The last couple of years has seen new buses introduced on this route.

Now a dedicated fleet.

Free wifi and usb charging points.

Very bad design of the usb charging points, low down between the seats making access very difficult. Though not as bad the new Goldline introduced on the Aldershot-Farnborough-Camberley route a few months ago where the usb charging points are even lower, and ideal for passengers to kick with their feet or rest their feet on. Same bus, internally different seats. On the No 1 Goldline, the usb charging points are almost on the floor.

A power bank, indicating full, charged a couple of weeks ago and only used as occasional torch, to fully charge, what I thought would be a few minutes, from leaving Alton Station until approaching Winchester before indicating fully charged. Either low output or high capacity power bank. Power bank new and have not used before.

I would not risk charging a phone or tablet, but quite happy to use to charge a power bank.

Depressing to see an ignorant female with dirty feet on the seats of a brand new bus. This problem not restricted to this route, also on the Goldline route, passengers putting their dirty feet on the seats of new buses.

On the trains, can be fined for feet on seats.

Timetable improvements that should be made on this route, cut out the detour around Alresford, better connection with trains at Alton.

On the new timetable, the buses are running an hourly late night service.

Surly Stagecoach bus driver refuses to accept Bus Pass

July 27, 2016

Today at a little before 1650, a surly Stagecoach driver refused to accept a valid Bus Pass and ordered the passenger off the bus.  Driver when asked, refused to give his name.

Stagecoach Goldline, route No 1, location Farnbrough Tech, bus No 22744  heading towards Farnborough town centre.

Passenger forced to get off bus and walk.

Two bus drivers confirmed Bus Pass was valid.

At Queensmead bus interchange, driver of No 1 bus heading towards Aldershot, was shown Bus Pass, asked was it a valid Bus Pass, driver said yes.

Bus Pass was used on return journey, no problem. On alighting from bus, driver was asked was Bus Pass valid, driver said yes.

Refusal to accept a Bus Pas, whilst rare, is not uncommon, drivers finding bogus reasons not to accept.

This uncouth driver, claimed use of bus passes was costing the company money.  His comment only serves to illustrate his depth of ignorance. Whilst it may be true, passengers using a Bus Pass are contributing less than ordinary fare paying passengers, they are contributing an extra revenue stream, which may make all the difference between a bus route being profitable or not, a revenue stream that would not otherwise exist.

There are also other advantages to wider society. Fewer car journeys, less congestion, less air pollution, lower emission of greenhouse gases. It gets people who would otherwise be housebound out and about, increasing their social interaction and mobility, delays dementia. The only disadvantage, makes people lazy, they may hop on a bus when they would have otherwise walked.

Anyone who deals with the public, be it in a supermarket or a bank, displays a name badge. The same should apply to bus drivers.

Once upon a time bus drivers used to have to display their licence. Why is this no longer a requirement?

Refurbished trains Guildford-Aldershot-Ascot line

June 5, 2015
refurbished trains

refurbished trains

refurbished trains

refurbished trains

From Guildford, one of the clapped-out, Third World cattle trucks refurbished. Now clean seats, but fewer seats. More like a high density urban train, or a Tube train, the emphasis on standing and cramming in as many passengers as possible. Still no toilets.

Completely unsuitable for the Guildford-Aldershot-Ascot line. They should put these refurbished trains elsewhere and bring back the trains that were on this route.

I did wonder did the trains have wifi, but this I did not check. I saw no signs to indicate wifi available, though I did notice a passenger accessing information on a tablet.

East Coast at Kings Cross

February 10, 2015
East Coast train at Kings Cross

East Coast train at Kings Cross

Kings Cross is where East Coast trains from the north terminate.

1802 York to Kings Cross yesterday evening, seats more like comfy armchairs (though a little too soft), roomy, lots of leg room. Free wifi.

Arrived at Kings Cross five minutes early then had to wait five minutes to be cleared for a platform.

This is how train travel should be, but a rarity with privatised rail companies, all out to fleece the passenger whilst at the same time providing a piss poor service.

East Coast Mainline is publicly owned, but not for much longer, it has been flogged off to Richard Branson and Stagecoach.

Dysfunctional public transport

December 19, 2014

Would I make Aldershot Station in time to catch the train to Alton? Luckily yes, three buses in a convoy.

I make the station with five minutes to spare.

Train to Alton running two minutes late.

The No 64 bus from Alton Station to Winchester, the bus stop clearly marked as bus train interchange, is timed to leave at exactly the same time as the train is timed to arrive. The bus usually leaves as passengers are coming out of the station.

Now you have to been a completely brain-dead moron determined to piss off passengers, for a bus to leave as passengers are pouring out of the train station.

I know, to leap off the train, run out of the station, if I am lucky, I catch the bus, delaying my ticket in case others are hoping to catch the bus, if unlucky I see the bus leaving the bus stop.

Today I was unlucky. I knew I would miss the bus, unless it was running late.

Half an hour wait for the next bus.

A few minutes early a No 64 bus turns up, windows filthy. I leap on the bus. Luckily the bus driver asked where I wished to go. I said Winchester, he said wrong bus.

Now you have to been a completely brain-dead moron determined to piss off passengers, to design a timetable with two different bus routes with the same route number.

I am now joined by a lady who has come off the next train.

A further wait of half an hour, by now chilled to the bone.

A No 65 bus comes in. I ask, just in case it is displaying the wrong number.

No, it is going to Guildford. I ask the driver where is the No 64? He says due now. I say what about the one due half an hour ago? Pig ignorant driver extremely rude, says how does he know, he only drives this bus.

Finally a No 64 bus arrives, 5-10 minutes late. Over an hour wait in the cold. Now not even worth going down to Winchester, my afternoon trip to Winchester all but ruined. I ask driver what happened to previous bus? He expresses surprise that it failed to turn up.

The bus is freezing cold, no heating, though not as cold as outside. The windows are filthy. A freezing cold draught, though no idea where it is coming from, no windows open. Maybe a window open upstairs.

New double-decker buses running on this route, not the clapped-out double-decker buses Stagecoach usually run.

But this is a new new bus, different design. Instead of luggage rack up front, two seats, with a tiny totally inadequate luggage space behind the seat.

At Alresford, I see a doubled-decker in front. As we get near, I see it is a No 64. Where did that come from?

I usually get off and walk down the hill into Winchester, but today too late. I stay on until bus station. I would have gone into the office and created hell about their disgraceful service, but it is now 4-15pm, day wasted without wasting more of the day.

I would have arrived around 1500 I arrive 1615.

Once again a day out ruined by Stagecoach.

On my return, bus then train to Aldershot. Bus I found has wifi, but does not connect to anything. At Aldershot, no bus, 20 minutes wait in the cold for next bus. Bus should have wifi, no wifi.

Train service is run by South West Trains. Bus service by Stagecoach. Stagecoach own South West Trains.

Stagecoach and Richard Branson have recently been handed the successful East Coast Mainline, successful because in public ownership. Are they fit and proper to run? No.

Stagecoach, has a live twitter feed, no mention of missed No 64 bus, explanation or apology.

Someone’s idea of a sick joke, when nearly every bus is not only leaving, but arriving more than ten minutes late.

At Alton, the buses must have an instruction to wait for passengers to alight from the train and catch the bus.

All drivers must wear name badges.

Buses must be equipped with gps, live updates at bus stops.

An app for smartphones and tablets, live updates, wifi at bus stops.

Dysfunctional South West Trains and Stagecoach buses

December 2, 2014
SWT cattle truck

SWT cattle truck

It was touch and go, if I would make the Reading-Guildford train if I walked to the station and caught the train, therefore I decided to catch a bus to Aldershot (problematic as bus service unreliable at the best of times) and catch the Aldershot-Guildford cattle truck. I managed with a few minutes to spare, only to find no train, half an hour wait for next train.

Ticket office asked did I want a single to Guildford. I said no, a return on a rail card.

I thought maybe catch the bus, even though I had paid for the train. I asked the bus driver what time bus arrived in Guildford. His dumb reply: When it gets there. As it was a clapped-out double decker bus and not a very pleasant journey, I decided to wait for the next clapped-out cattle truck.

First carriage I tried, freezing cold, no heating. Next carriage, all the windows open. Third carriage heating, about as effective as a candle.

One of the features of these clapped out filthy cattle trucks, is when they wait several minutes at Aldershot, they do so with all the doors open.

On arrival at Guildford I find I had been sold the wrong ticket, a single not a return, even though I had explicitly stated I wanted a return.

More hassle sorting that out.

I queued at the ticket office, to be told, no I could not change it to a return, it was my fault and the ticket had been used.

I demanded the station manger. Clerk in ticket office refused to get the station manager. I went looking.

No manager, no acting manger, but I did find a helpful supervisor. She said ticked office was in the wrong, wrote out a note, which she said use in lieu of ticket and apologised for how I had been treated.

On return to Aldershot, ten minutes wait for bus at seven o’clock, only no bus. Twenty minutes wait in the cold for the next bus.

Local buses and South West Trains run and owned by Stagecoach.

Richard Branson and Stagecoach have just been handed the lucrative East Coast Mainline.

Flogging off East Coast Mainline

November 27, 2014
David Cameron flogs East Coast Mainline to Richard Branson

David Cameron flogs East Coast Mainline to Richard Branson

We have 10 days to tell the Government re-privatising the East Coast Mainline is a terrible deal for passengers and for taxpayers. — Caroline Lucas

Anyone who travels by train knows it is broke and we pay through the nose, with year on year above inflation hikes in rail fares.

Travel at weekend, especially on a Sunday when frequency of trains is poor and connections bad, and you have the nightmare of railworks.

Travel on the Reading-Gatwick line with First Great Western, and the toilets are in filthy condition.

First Great Western can no longer even be bothered to print and display a revised timetable. And it is no use asking at the ticket office, as they do not know either

Travel on the Guildford-Aldershot-Ascot line and you get filthy Third World inner-city cattle trucks fit for a scrapyard.

Travel on the East Coast Mainline and you get clean, fast trains, pleasant helpful staff, free wifi (though very limited).

It will surprise many to learn, this line is state owned.

With the failure of Sea Containers, the company that owned the company that owned the East Coast Mainline, it reverted to the state. It was then flogged to National Express, who proved to be disaster,and it was taken back into state control.

In the five years it has been run by the public sector, East Coast has returned nearly £1 billion to the taxpayer, as well as increasing passenger numbers, introducing a new timetable, improving punctuality, investing in ageing rolling stock and establishing industry leading approaches to waste recycling and reducing carbon emissions.

In Switzerland, they take a pragmatic approach, whether or not public or private it is dependent upon what works best.

For ConDen government, it a religious dogma, anything that can be privatised must be privatised, irrespective of what the evidence says.

nationalised or privatised

nationalised or privatised

Ask those who use the railways, is privatisation of the railways a success, and they will tell you no.

They want to see railways brought back into public ownership.

They also want to see the HS2 gravy train scrapped, and the money instead ploughed back into the existing rail network.

It therefore beggars belief that the Government has announced it intends to flog the franchise back to a private operator again, despite the success of the public sector rescue. This is privatisation for privatisation’s sake.

David Cameron is poised to hand East Coast Mainline to Richard Branson.

The new company running the London-Edinburgh trains will be Inter City Railways, a joint venture 90%-owned by Stagecoach with the trains branded Virgin Trains East Coast. Sir Richard Branson retains a 10% stake.

This is is like handing over the Royal Mail to the private sector.

This is handing public assets, our assets, to the private sector.

Have those who use East Coast Mainline been asked if they wish to see it handed to Richard Branson?

The East Coast Mainline should remain in our hands.

David Cameron is doing the dirty. He is trying to hand it over before the General Election, as he knows he is going to be out of office after the election.

The public has just ten days to object to this state give away.

National Express: Aldershot to Heathrow

October 25, 2014
National Express Aldershot Heathrow

National Express Aldershot Heathrow

National Express are now running a luxury coach service from Aldershot to Heathrow. Some coaches are direct, others are via Woking. The size of the coach dwarfs the local buses.

The service is infrequent and the times random. To be a viable service, it needs to be hourly.

Also questionable, coach from Aldershot, rather than train to Woking then coach from Woking.

If for example, coming up from Alton or Farnham by train, is it better to change at Aldershot to a coach or change at Woking?

Best option is train from North Camp Station to Gatwick. An hourly service direct to South Terminal.

This service operates in conjunction with South West Trains. No information either at Aldershot Station or the bus station.

No 72 bus yellow Buzz Aldershot to Reading‏

November 21, 2013

Bus stops, are places where buses stop, though it is a good idea to stick your hand out, though not it seems, if you are the driver of the No 72 bus Aldershot to Reading.

1520 Half a dozen people (most of them elderly), stood at the bus stop back of M&S, they clearly signalled for the bus to stop, even leaping out into the road when it looked like the bus was not going to stop. The bus sailed by without stopping. The bus was almost empty.

The bus runs once an hour. Elderly people left in the cold for an hour, with a biting cold wind blowing. I suggested they went to the local coffee shop, then returned.

One man called the bus company. The best they could offer was that he took a taxi, got a receipt and sent it to the bus company (with no guarantee he would be reimbursed). The bus company refused to arrange a taxi, even though they were at fault, failing to pick up passengers.

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