This from H.A. from Luton …
I live in Luton, Befordshire. I recently had to escort my friend to the London Pain Management Clinic near Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
We parked the car in Leagrave railway car park. The parking fee has risen to a whopping £3.70 per day. The ticket machine apparently does not give change - it ate my £4 with no coins returned.
We needed to be at the Clinic before 10:00 so this meant catching an early train. The fare for this small journey (for 2 people) was a staggering £39.80. If we'd travelled after 9:30 this would have been £28.20. What a rip-off! - pity the poor sod that has to do this every day!
The carriages were bulging to capacity with people having to stand while clinging on to seats. The usual number of mobile phone, coffee holding and laptop idiots present.
Makes me so angry!
Leagrave Station frequently increase their parking charges. Local commuters now park all along Toddington Road (near the station) for free, but this clogs up the road. It doesn't take Einstein to realise if you want more people to use trains, you should lower the prices, make station car parking free and make the service reliable. PUT ON AN EXTRA COACH AT PEAK TIMES!
End of rant.
The GOS says: Quite right, H.A. It costs just as much to run a train after 9.30 in the morning as it does before, so the price differential is just blatant profiteering.
The GOS is old enough to have a Senior Rail-card, and occasionally uses it to go joy-riding on the railways. He books his tickets through an excellent website, Train Line. This lets you determine your own route, if you've got the time and a map of the railway system, and he has found that if you plan your journey so it avoids going into London, you save an enormous amount of money. So the railway companies are using people's need to visit the capital as another opportunity to make a profit. There was a time when we as a nation accepted that the railways were an important public service, not a chance for shareholders to line their pockets. The GOS says the railways should be re-nationalised.
Some years ago when the GOS was still in gainful employment, he had the job of booking a journey from Suffolk to Aberdeen for a group of young people and their teachers. You have no idea how difficult this was. Our local railway company at the time was Anglia Railways. They said they couldn't sell us our tickets to Aberdeen because GNER, who run the East Coast main line, wouldn't talk to them! They kindly offered, if we wanted to go via London, to take us there for nothing.
No, we said, that's a very long way round and we don't want to escort a large group of youngsters from Liverpool Street to Kings Cross on the Underground; we'd rather go via Peterborough and get on the main line there. Could Anglia Railways take us to Peterborough?
No, they said, sorry - they did have trains to Peterborough but they were little one- or two-coach jobs and there wouldn't be room for us.
OK, we said, as you'll know that we'll definitely be travelling at a certain time on a certain date, why don't you just hang an extra coach on the back?
No, was the reply, we can't do that. Our trains have the wrong sort of couplings.
We went by coach in the end. No wonder our roads are so clogged up with unnecessary traffic.
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