Trust again

September 26, 2008

A week in San Jose gave a contrasting picture with recent changes on Great Western Railways in the UK. I arrive late Saturday picked up the free shuttle to the Light Rail. $1.75 took me to the hotel in San Jose. A trip out to Palo Alto for a fascinating meal organised by Dave Pollard (more of that in another blog) cost under $10 for the return by Cal Train. Now I bought tickets for all those journeys but at no stage did anyone check them. Public Transport that work this well and is this cheap is part of dealing with Climate Change.

Now in contrast the UK is getting more and more difficult. My journey into London from Pewsey takes about an hour and is probably twice the distance of San Jose to Palo Alto. However in peak time it costs me over $100 for a return trip, and off peak to drops to just under $60. Add in expensive parking and its often more attractive to drive. Not only that there is one ticket clerk (a truly wonderful man called Trevor) and one slow ticket machine. If you fail to buy a ticket in advance you pay the full fare plus a significant fine. It can take twenty minutes to get a car parking ticket and a train ticket. Not only that every station has multiple automatic barriers to prevent fraud. Its not a welcoming system or a trusting one. Are Californians any less honest that Britons? Oh and talking of trust (not to mention fear) I really wish Euan had not connected me to this.

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