Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

tickets
Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

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Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
KL - Peterborough
Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

ticketholder

Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

library

Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

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I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

plaque

Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

traveldocstickets

 

 

Public Transport (and more Spring Photos)

More spring photographs following on my last post, likewise some appropriately themed music, some stuff about public transport, some autism related links and some other links.

INTRODUCTION

This is a follow up to my previous post, but after the photographs I will be sharing a number of links as well. Here is some appropriately themed music once again – Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Immediatelty I had put up the previous post I set off on another walk. Although I did not manage to capture any more butterflies I did get plenty of splendid pictures.

Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange

HG

St Nicholas
St Nicholas Chapel
Cats
Cats on a pipe that crosses Bawsey Drain

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sunlight
sunlight on water and exposed mud flats
Waterfall
The upper Purfleet following much needed clean up work.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE DAFTNESS OF BRITISH PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This too has some photographic content. I made passing mention of a daft situation involving public transport in Norfolk in my post “Network Autism”, and now I am following up on it.

bus
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this style of bus, going by way of Fakenham, Lenwade, Hellesdon, Taverham and Drayton costs £5.50…
X1
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this type of bus, going by way of The Hardwick Industrial Estate, Middleton, Narborough, Swaffham, Dereham and Easton costs £11 – twice as much as in the other style of bus.

Although the routes taken differ, the distance covered and the time taken to cover that distance are similar, and therefore so too is the fuel consumption of the bus. The First Eastern Counties X1 route is available almost the whole day, whereas the Stagecoach X29 route is more restricted timewise, with the first bus leaving King’s Lynn at 6:28AM and the last return bus leaving Norwich at 5:20PM (and the other way around the restriction is greater because the depot is in King’s Lynn. 

This is the sort of nonsensical situation that can arise when public transport is in the hands of greedy profiteers rather than being publicly run and publicly accountable. There is no rational justification for the same journey costing twice as much by one route as by another like this.

LINKS

For today this section divides into two subsections, starting with…

AUTISM RELATED STUFF

I start with a link to a post on Mamautistic, titled “Not an Excuse”. This post is liberally laced with links of its own that I recommend you to follow up. Click on the picture below to read it in full.

My remaining links in this section are to posts on thesilentwaveblog. First up is a post titled “Asperger’s / autism may not be a disability only (but we *do* need to treat it like one)”. Please click on the image below to read this post, which is detailed and well reasoned, in full.

Next comes a post with the title “When an “official” Asperger’s / autism diagnosis is just a formality”. This one is is super-detailed but very well worth the read. Once again, there is an image that I can use as the link.

Finally, to end this subsection, although I reblogged the magnificent ‘put the boot on the other foot’ type post “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” earlier today it is so good that I feel another plug is in order, so if you have not already read it please click on the image below to rectify the omission.

OTHER LINKS

I start this section with a horrifying story from The Canary about how some girls in Britain in 2017 are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products. Click the image below to read this piece.

Girls are missing school because they can’t afford sanitary products. In Britain. In 2017.

My last two links go together – not only are both to pieces on Skwawkbox, both are to pieces about Tory election fraud:

  1. The first one is titled “#TORYELECTIONFRAUD JUSTICE REQUIRES FULL RECKONING, NOT #MCKINLAY AS SACRIFICIAL LAMB” – as usual I am using an image as the actual link.
    mckinlay
  2. The second piece deals with a ‘tactic’ that the Tories are using as a supposed form of defence, and is titled “TORY ‘NO INTENT’ #ELECTIONFRAUD CONFIDENCE IS A NON-STARTER. HERE’S WHY”. Click the image below to read the piece.
    newsnight intent.jpg

 

 

 

 

More on Public Transport

Some public transport related links, accessible by means of appropriately themed photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Several of the interesting pieces I wish to share with you are related to public transport (no great surprise there). In the case of each piece that I share the link will be in the form of a picture that appears I have introduced the subject matter. In this particular post all the pictures I am using are appropriately themed ones that I have taken myself (if the post I am linking to is illustrated I will use a picture from there). More detail about where these particular pictures come from will appear in my next post.

BUSES IN CRISIS

This section links to a post from the Campaign for Better Transport detailing the way in which British bus services have been slashed since 2010. If you are ready to read the full, grim detail, please click on the picture below, which features a 505 bus on it’s way into Lynn from Spalding.

Bus1

My second link, accessed by clicking the picture of the bus depot that ends this section, is to the Campaign for Better Transport’s  response to the House of Commons Bus Services Bill Public Bill Committee. 

busdepot

TRAINS

Given the scandalous state of Britain’s railways, it is not terribly surprising to read the horrors contained in David Hencke’s latest piece, titled “Why millions of passengers will face years of overcrowded trains because of a staggering electrification blunder”, which you can read in full by clicking the picture of a train framed by willow trees.

Train

WWW.LONDONTU.BE

In addition to this blog I am the creator of the website www.londontu.be on which I today posted a piece about Greenwich. To see this piece please click on the map section below:

Greenwich statfions close up

Cars, Buses and Trains

My gloss on an excellent little fact sheet produced by George Monbiot.

INTRODUCTION

This post was inspired by a fact sheet created by environmental campaigner George Monbiot which you can read in full by clicking the screenshot below:

screenshot-2017-03-06-at-8-29-41-am

CARS

This short piece outlines some very valid objections to the over-use of cars. However, the pollution aspect of the problems caused by the over-use of cars (which in this country has reached scandalous proportions) is more properly a criticism of the fact that the vast majority of cars continued to be powered by the infernal combustion engine. There are many non-polluting means of powering vehicles available these days. Addressing the pollution issue however does not address the problem of congestion. To avoid misunderstandings: Monbiot’s fact sheet is bang on the money, and everyone should read it in full.

As an example of my own approach as a non-driver, here courtesy of google maps is a suggested walking route from my home to the scout hut on Beulah Street, which I quite often have cause to visit:

scout-hut-walk

My usual choices of walking routes are actually longer than those recommended above because I prefer routes that spend less time around roads even if they take longer (see this post from yesterday for examples of two routes that I used on Saturday). There is a bus route that I could use if so inclined – there is a stop close to the Wootton Road end of Beulah Street but for a journey of this distance I positively prefer Shanks’ pony.

However, I freely acknowledge that while cars are over-used for short journeys there is another reason why there are far too many cars on British roads, and that leads to the next section of this post…

BUSES AND TRAINS

British public transport is in a shocking state. There are many people, particularly in rural areas, who have no public transport options available to them, and even where there are public transport options they are overpriced and unreliable. It is only by creating a public transport system that works for those who use it that we can seriously reduce car usage. 

I always like to include photographs in my posts, so to conclude this little post here is a shot of the front of King’s Lynn railway station:

railwaystation

 

Disability groups hail court’s support for wheelchair user on bus : Welfare Weekly.

A victory for disability rights (brought to you by Welfare Weekly and DWP Examination by way of the Guardian)…

Bus drivers must now pressure passengers to make room in ruling described by Doug Paulley as ‘significant cultural change’. This article titled “Disability groups hail court’s support for wheelchai…

Source: Disability groups hail court’s support for wheelchair user on bus : Welfare Weekly.

Hydrogen Powered Buses and Clean Air for London

Some environmental news and some pictures – enjoy.

INTRODUCTION

Having recently shared the latest of Anna’s posts about her campaign to prevent a big new road from being built through an area of outstanding natural beauty I thought a couple of stories showing a more sensible approach were appropriate (and I have some new pictures to share and was looking for something else to put in the post).

HYDROGEN BUSES AND A CLEAN AIR PLAN FOR LONDON

Hydrogen buses are already a feature of the streets of the city of Aberdeen, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan intends them to be in service in the capital by 2020. Buses are less damagaing than cars anyway because they carry more people, but hydrogen buses have an extra plus point – zero emissions. To read an excellent article on this theme click the picture below:

hydrogen-powered-buses
A hydrogen powered bus.

Councillor and London Assembly member Caroline Russell has produced a very detailed plan for making London’s streets healthier, backed up with evidence of a successful scheme in Walthanstow. To read the whole document click on the infographic giving details of the Walthamstow success that appears below:

walthamstow

PICTURES

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A Brunel £2 received in change
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Next to uncirculated coin.
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The next four pictures show ice on the surface of the lower Purfleet (yes folks, here in the north of the world it is winter)

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