Today in Britain some of the highest train fares in Europe co-exist alongside some extremely low rates of electrification and embarrassingly shoddy services.
In the last week of July, the 2012 Olympics begin in London. It was in that month seven years ago that four deadly bombs ripped through the heart of London’s transport system, an intensely utilised transport system which will be stretched to the max during the London Olympic fortnight.
After the overground trains and Central Line, we turn to the Jubilee’s troubles.
So how are things going with the new Greater Anglia rail franchise? Writing as a commuter who spends far too much time passing through Liverpool Street, I confess to some qualms.
Were there speed restrictions? I heard the platform announcement when we stopped at Stratford. Bit we in the 0751 sardine tins from Billericay were told there was a points failure at Liverpool Street. Who knows? Be nice to think someone did.
While the world watches athletes whizz round the Stratford Olympics track, will commuters crawl past on the rail line outside?
What we have here is a lesson for those tempted to assume that privatisation of public services always produces greater efficiency and reduces public expenditure.
If you live in London, it’s easy to see the limitations of cars. I currently own two vehicles, a car and a motorcycle. The car sits unused for days or weeks on end, as it’s seldom the most convenient, let alone the cheapest option.
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