@thegreenparty #Misnomer1 Network Rail should be Network COACH

If I want to go somewhere by car, I get in switch on and drive.

If its’s a long journey, I can set up my satnav and pretty accurately plan my time of arrival.

Even if there’s been an accident, or unannounced roadworks, or unnecessary contra-flow, I can usually find an alternative route and recalculate my arrival time.

Not so, if I plan to use public transport, particularly a train service.

They have timetables but these are not particularly reliable and if there is some form of route problem, you can’t take a detour.

Who hasn’t been on a train clickety-clacking (almost singing it as “now we’re moving”, “now we’re moving”,”now we’re moving” ) past grazing cows, only to hear that hissing sound as brakes are applied, followed by a disquieting hush.

You sit there staring at a bramble covered embankment, perhaps a lobelia strewn piece of waste land in front of it.

10 mins. later a bored voice comes over the intercom to tell you that there will be a short (LOL) delay … problems on the line. Later that night you limp into the station, too late to enjoy your planned venue and far too early for the train back.

You can give up any hope of letting other’s know when you’ll arrive.

Of course it could be worse. There have bbeen stories of passengers having to disembark and lug their belongings over rough land to a road, in inclement conditions, to catch a COACH.

The gripe that I especially have, Today, is that wallgate Wigan train service seems to specialise in COACH trips.

Oh! I know that this is just a perception but it is one caused by far too many messed up journeys.

It seems to happen on weekends, which is blessing for those who commute to work, as there are stories of people being sacked for persistent late arrival, not just for absenteeism.

It seems bosses (particularly nowadays with Tories in charge and high unemployment) expect you to know when Network Rail has become Network COACH.

The fact that even Network Rail’s online ticket sales service seems blissfully unaware of their schedule being a fantasy is no excuse for bonus driven bosses.

British Rail was inefficient and expensive.

Network Rail is inefficient, super-expensive and downright aggravating.

It’s not that I mind travelling by COACH, it’s just that they don’t always have working lavatories, they are even more crowded than a train, they have poor temperature control, they often get stuck in traffic jams, they rarely arrive on time and they take 5 hours for a 3 hour (alleged)┬átrain journey.

They are cheaper; but when you’ve paid Network Rail prices that becomes just another insult.

In a car, the journey may be longer but the cost is split at least two ways and there’s no problem accomodating your luggage. You can stop when, where and as often as you wish.

The service is door to door.

There’s no problem with waiting at a bus-stop in a hot sun or standing in freezing slush.

If you’re rich, the hassle of wondering whether, or not, the taxi will be on time is one less headache.

In a car, the journey can be part of the trip, taking detours to call-in at some place of interest, or stopping at a family pub for a meal at the same price as a railway sandwich.

Best is you can always cancel your trip, without loss of up-front ticket payments, knowing that the petrol in your tank can always be used to take a different trip at a different time to suit you.

Lastly for those Greens going on about Greenhouse gases.

Try thinking through why, despite the high levels of taxation on motorists, it costs so much more to use public transport. Think it through in terms of what that money pays for and its ultimate carbon cost.

If it’s cheaper, it’s greener.


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