March 28th, 2012
|09:39 am - Britain 2012|
There's a train through Coventry station every hour that goes to Bournemouth so my daughter and I thought we might take a day trip to the seaside - it's a couple of hours journey each way. However, when we looked into it, a return ticket standard class for both of us would be three hundred pounds. That's madness. That's just saying to people 'we don't want your custom'. Anyway, forget it.
The underpasses in Coventry are haunted by beggars. The guy I saw yesterday had an unusual approach to encouraging donations: he was shouting at everyone 'You fucking jack-arses!' A businessman on his way to the station turned back and watched me through the underpass to make sure I was OK - it was unnecessary but thoughtful. As we walked up the slope he said 'I think he needs to improve his customer service.' There was a moment's silence from the underpass and then the guy's voice came billowing out 'You come back here and say that!'
Anyway, forget it.
Ah, those were the days. Don't know if it still happens in Canada but I don't ever see hitchikers any more. Harder than ever to be poor.
|Date:||March 28th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)|| |
Yeah, I'm sitting here having a full-on flood of nostalgia for the days when I used to hitch-hike everywhere (about, uh, 10 to 15 years ago, and I loved doing so and thankfully never had any unpleasant encounters). I don't think I've seen anyone hitch-hiking in years.
I used to do it all the time, and while I did have a few bad encounters I always managed to wriggle out of it. Makes my hair stand on end to think about it now.
The seaside was something I missed the most about living in the Midlands. Is it any cheaper to head north or west to the sea rather than south? And I remember that train well from when I was travelling from the Midlands to Berkshire.
LOL to that begging guy! I got mooed at by a bunch of blokes yesterday but they weren't beggars; they were in shirts and ties and drinking outside All Bar One.
I would drive to Skegness, but H's car has broken down so I have loaned him mine to go to work. It's expensive to get a train ticket at the last minute.
As with many of these things, it depends on which train you want to catch. If you're willing to commit to certain off-peak trains and (curiously) buy singles, you could do that journey for half the price. If you'll put up with a slightly grim return journey starting about 8.30pm and getting in at 1 in the morning, then 2 of you could do it for about £100. Many years ago I used to commute between Cov and Birmingham and used to catch the Bournemouth/Poole train from time to time. It seemed to me to be a string of crowded commuter services joined together, so the truth is at certain times of day they really don't want any more customers.
From time to time I get nostalgic about living in Coventry... I'd forgotten about being shouted at by beggars, though.
sometimes I want to do something spontaneously but that seems to be a massive luxury I cant afford any more
|Date:||March 28th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)|| |
It does seem mad that you can get plane tickets far cheaper than rail tickets, yet planes have to get off the ground, and don't have the economies of scale a train has.
The UK rail system is something of a wreck. Lots and lots of repair work needed, and that needs funding. Seems that all has to come from the ticket sales.
Funnily enough the local train service in the W Mids is still pretty good, but this... havin a laugh I think
There is an arcane art to buying train tickets. Some people are brilliant at spotting that you can do things like Coventry-Woking + Woking-Bournemouth and it's cheaper than Coventry-Bournmouth (not to mention that two singles often works out cheaper than a return). The only one I've got a handle on is that first class with a change is often cheaper than second class without a change (e.g Euston-Wolves via Stafford first is cheaper and, allegedly, quicker than Euston-Wolves second, direct). Of course, in reality, it is half an hour slower, as you miss the connection at Stafford.
Rather than thinking that the railway companies are saying 'we don't want your custom', I suspect there are wars going on between Marketing, Finance, and perhaps other departments, and between companies, which are not the archetypal price wars, but ones that result in the answer to a simple question (how much does it cost for a resturn from X to Y) being either 'lots' or 'it's a bit more complicated than that'.
Wow. Because I don't travel regularly by train I don't know any of that stuff. Bring back British Rail I say, but I guess it will never happen.
|Date:||April 14th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)|| |
Holy crap, that's expensive train fare! You could spend a week in Spain on that money.
I did notice on my little jaunts around England on the weekends when I worked in beautiful downtown Bracknell (lies!) that getting the train is massively expensive. Fortunately the kind ticket lady at the local station (Winnersh, I think it was) would total work her butt off getting me cheap deals. Usually day returns on Saturdays were cheapest. Often getting a train from A to C and then another train to B was cheaper than just going from A to B direct. I have no idea why. Eventually I thought that the whys and wherefores of the byzantine rail ticketing services pricing structures were one of those unfortunate things that just have to be accepted about England, like the existence of jellied eels and the Tory party.
The guy I saw yesterday had an unusual approach to encouraging donations: he was shouting at everyone 'You fucking jack-arses!' A businessman on his way to the station turned back and watched me through the underpass to make sure I was OK - it was unnecessary but thoughtful.
As we walked up the slope he said 'I think he needs to improve his customer service.' There was a moment's silence from the underpass and then the guy's voice came billowing out 'You come back here and say that!'
Best beggar's sign I saw on my travels, in Haight Ashbury in SF, USA: "I bet you $5 I can make you read this sign."