Sunday, February 18, 2007

Midland Mainline..........and the problem with "public" transport

Friday morning, having really had to drag myself out of bed, I arrived on the platform awaiting the 8.25 to be greeted by my old pal, Tory boy Cllr ......sorry Speaker, Andrew McConnell who persuaded me it was worth paying the outrageous £8 upgrade to travel with him in first have been known to fork out £4.50 on the way home (figuring that if I've had the kind of day where I want a glass of wine, a coffee, sparkly water and two snacks its pretty good value), but now that has risen to £8.......and in the morning........when all you get for your trouble is a coffee, orange juice and a biscuit?! But, my intelligence training got the better of me and I couldn't resist the opportunity to learn more about the Tory mayoral campaign......(!)
Andrew and I also debated the shortcomings of Midland Mainline, free coffee and tea yes, but consistently overcrowded trains at key moments in the day and especially when only half a train turns up. What is most galling it that if you dare to complain and admit you are from Bedford you are likely to get your head well and truly bitten off - after all it’s all our fault. Everyone on Midland Mainline it seems hates that fact that they get (according to them) 70% of their passengers from Bedford. We should consider ourselves extremely fortunate they even bother stopping to pick us up, especially as we have the slow, cold and dirty alternative of First Capital Connect! OK, so there we are, that's a good approach to have to promoting public transport for the sake of the planet! So maybe our experience is a metaphor for what is wrong with the whole privatisation of public services agenda. Choice is only choice when it is a real choice, there are some choices we are unable to make. I could of course choose to travel on Virgin, only problem is I don't want to have to drive to Milton Keynes to do so! I still really fail to see the point of privatising services which you then have to regulate and have little or no democratic control over. Creating false markets just doesn't make economic sense to me............Don't get me wrong. I'm no socialist; in local government we don't make our own paper, that would be foolish. But I worry about the continuing drive to "if it moves - privatise it". Where is the evidence that these false "choices" contribute to anything but the shareholders of the companies allegedly providing the services. I remember when British Gas was sold off my aunt writing in reply to the letter she got asking if she wanted to buy shares, I'm sorry said she, how can I buy something I already own? So rant over, will return to this topic.

On a lighter note our local party held a wine tasting session last night...........learned a lot about "legs" in wines, were they thunderthighs, Pippy Longstocking, or legless? My pals Yas and Jill and Yas's dad Chris, came too. When it came to the red wines Yas would have preferred something "richer and older"....oh, that was the men she was referring to!


Jonathan said...

Yes, it's all the fault of you Bedford people.

Disgusted of Market Harborough

Joe Otten said...

Yes, the trains are not too bad once the Bedford people get off. Frankly, they shouldn't stop anywhere but London and Sheffield. That'd save me an hour each way.

Linda Jack said...

To Jonathan and Joe I would say.......just count your blessings, you get on before us in the morning! And Joe, surely you don't do the journey everyday like us poor commuters.......??

Anonymous said...

Midland Mainline's first class upgrade is a rip off!

It used to be £4.50 from Bedford, it its now £10.20, but out of the goodness of there heart Midland Mainline offer a generous upgrade of £8.00

I agree with you Linda its a rip off.

Rob said...

I say let the company that runs GNER take over everything - they've consistently been the most passenger focussed since privatisation. Alas, they've gone down the pan financially, and the list of bidders - Arriva, First, Virgin / Stagecoach and... someone else... it'll come.... nope... but it isn't inspiring.