Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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WARNING: Contains rant

Earlier this week, some Green Party representatives came through the train on my way home from London and gave me a survey. One of the questions read, "Do you think your rail ticket gives you value for money?" [tickyboxyes] [tickyboxno]

I paused for exactly 0.0000001 seconds before marking an emphatic cross in [tickyboxno]. Once I finished the survey, I vented my feelings by marking over the cross a couple more times. I suspect that making the survey A6-sized, thereby excluding any space to write comments, was a smart calculation on their part.

Allow me to explain. My monthly rail ticket from Cambridge to London, a distance of less than 60 miles, costs me £361.40. To put that into perspective, it costs more than my half of the mortgage on our three-bedroom terraced house. (Let us not talk about the additional transport expense I have using my Oyster card once I get to London. I spend over £4k a year getting to and from work.) The trains from Cambridge consistently run five to ten minutes late in the morning. In order to get a seat going either direction, a commuter must board at least ten minutes before the scheduled departure time. The non-stop trains only run once every hour and a half. The "fast" ones that pause at Royston and Letchworth run every half an hour. Those stops adds 8-10 minutes to the journey, which doesn't sound like a lot unless you are making that journey five days a week.

In my opinion, the only way that ticket would represent value for money is if the direct, non-stop trains ran every five minutes, if I were guaranteed a seat and if it didn't cost more than my damn mortgage. For that amount, I think the chap who checks my ticket and railcard should have to smile back at me when I smile at him. I won't insist on a cup of tea and a biscuit, or a little robot to come along and polish my shoes when it rains. That's a bit much. But if the Green Party can guarantee me those things for the current price of my rail ticket, I'll become a British citizen just so I can vote for them.
Tags: england, rant
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