• Day11

    London - transit thoughts

    August 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Having made my way around London on public transit for a week, here is a long rant about it. No details of my activities so skip if you're interested in that.

    Tube/train is loud, usually hot, and often crowded, but gets lots of people around very quickly. Extremely functional (by which I mean they ignored most non-functional niceties). Well-priced IMO.

    Buses are hot, often crowded, and slow. Often it seems like I could get out and walk about the same speed. This is partially because bus lanes are a joke and buses stop every few hundred metres. I've also noticed a distinctly different demographic (poorer) on buses compared to tube. They are cheap to go long distances (exactly what they are bad at) and not cost-effective for short distances (what they are ok at) due to the flat fare.

    Oyster cards work very well, and the automatic daily/weekly/etc capping works exactly how it should. Get on that, Auckland! Despite a lot of advertising to the contrary, contactless payment cards (paywave, paypass) don't seem to work well - Daniel and I each tried two and only one of Daniel's worked... sometimes.

    Walking is great in places (parks abound in the major tourist areas) but for the most part the city isn't super pedestrian-friendly. Controlled street crossing signs take a long time and often cross halfway at a time - particularly silly when there are hundreds of tourists waiting to cross the road near a landmark while the lights let a slow trickle of cars through instead. Some really nice areas exist where they've closed roads (take a hint).

    Overall, it feels like London is clinging to cars when it has a demonstrably better system for getting people around. Tax them away!
    Ok, rant over, back to your regular updates of whatever I happen to be doing.
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