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  1. #101
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Either that or provide a public transport system that doesn't make a medieval cattle truck look like a more appealing mode of transport?
    That's the way to go. But you'd have to get rid of a lot of car congestion to make buses run any faster. If there were fewer cars:
    • traffic signals could be optimized for buses,
    • more pull outs could be provided for buses so they don't block other traffic when they're loading.
    • It might even be possible to build housing in some central district parking areas. That way, more people would be able to walk to work.



    As you know, London is one of the largest cities in the world, and most people have pretty distant commutes to work. I doubt if there's any way to make rush hour commutes congestion-free, even if they were carfree.

    I read that the big push now is for more bike commutes in London. It will be interesting to see how that pans out. I think that bikes are still in the experimental stage as far as moving massive numbers of commuters in a megacity.

    Have Londoners ever tried flexible work hours to reduce peak loads (AKA rush hour traffic)? That might be another experiment that's worth trying.

    It's going to be very difficult to change established travel patterns, but clearly this must be accomplished if London and other super cities are going to remain livable.


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  2. #102
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    This may be an idea for a new thread, and I bet it'd bomb b/c primary research doesn't seem too popular here, but what if a small sample of LCF contributors recorded their commute by bike, and compared that time to what they could achieve using a bus? That might answer this thread's original question objectively, if only on the micro-level.
    I use public transit if the roads are icy or the temp is below about -5C.
    Bike: 40 minutes in, 45 minutes home.
    Public transit: 65-75 minutes each way.
    I drove to work once this year, as I had to take the car in for a mandatory emissions test. It was a pretty easy 30 minute drive each way, and I was surprised, but I think it was just a lucky day.
    My current office is awkwardly placed for using public transit, complicated by the fact that they are digging a tunnel for part of a new cross town light rail route, right where my preferred bus would normally run. Last winter the bus commute (without that disruption) was sometimes under an hour, but still usually over. If I couldn't bike I would probably drive rather than use the bus year round, at least until the tunnel construction is out of the way.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Either that or provide a public transport system that doesn't make a medieval cattle truck look like a more appealing mode of transport?
    It seems to me that if services which you consider to make a medieval cattle truck look appealing are still overcrowded, investment shouldn't be focused on making it nicer, just on making more of it. Simple economics. At the current price, there's too much demand. Either raise the price until it stops being overcrowded, or increase the supply. Making it nicer is a waste of money for an over-subscribed service.

    That said, I would have to say my experiences with London transit, as a tourist but sometimes at rush hour, compare favourably to my experiences with transit at home. Similarly crowded and uncomfortable, but it's frequent and usually quite fast.

  4. #104
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil View Post
    It seems to me that if services which you consider to make a medieval cattle truck look appealing are still overcrowded, investment shouldn't be focused on making it nicer, just on making more of it. Simple economics. At the current price, there's too much demand. Either raise the price until it stops being overcrowded, or increase the supply. Making it nicer is a waste of money for an over-subscribed service.

    That said, I would have to say my experiences with London transit, as a tourist but sometimes at rush hour, compare favourably to my experiences with transit at home. Similarly crowded and uncomfortable, but it's frequent and usually quite fast.
    It does seem strange that a Londoner complains about transit, when they live in a city with arguably the most advanced transit system in the world. They have extensive subways, light rail, commuter trains, cool double decker buses, and rapidly growing bicycle infrastructure. Hell, they have a beautiful new pedestrian footbridge as well as a cable car across the Thames.

    I think their transit system is superb, but clearly it's going to take more fundamental changes to deal with the problem of getting millions of workers, shoppers, and tourists into and out of a central district every day. Ultimately they will have to look to more fundamental improvements in land use and time management. There's only so much that any transit system can do.


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  5. #105
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    I use public transit if the roads are icy or the temp is below about -5C.
    Bike: 40 minutes in, 45 minutes home.
    Public transit: 65-75 minutes each way.
    I drove to work once this year, as I had to take the car in for a mandatory emissions test. It was a pretty easy 30 minute drive each way, and I was surprised, but I think it was just a lucky day.
    My current office is awkwardly placed for using public transit, complicated by the fact that they are digging a tunnel for part of a new cross town light rail route, right where my preferred bus would normally run. Last winter the bus commute (without that disruption) was sometimes under an hour, but still usually over. If I couldn't bike I would probably drive rather than use the bus year round, at least until the tunnel construction is out of the way.
    Thyis is good data; I imagine the extra 20-30 minutes that the bus takes seems worth it in the freezing cold, right? And the 10 minutes saved on the car might seem inconsequential, and it may not be time saved at all if you count on the ride as time spent exercising, whereby an auxiliary trip to the gym or some other exercise session is required...

  6. #106
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Well... could we count perceived time? My commute by bike seems a lot shorter than the bus ride, although if I carried a watch I might be surprised.

    For that reason, I never carry a time device and all time reports are approximate.
    That's a totally valid metric, even if I think actual time is more relevent. But, if it somehow turned out that the bus could actually save me time, I'm still willing to bet I'd prefer to ride in all but the worst weather, b/c riding is generally fun, whereas I don't enjoy the bus at all.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    This may be an idea for a new thread, and I bet it'd bomb b/c primary research doesn't seem too popular here, but what if a small sample of LCF contributors recorded their commute by bike, and compared that time to what they could achieve using a bus? That might answer this thread's original question objectively, if only on the micro-level.
    Biking definitely beats the bus for most trips, especially when you factor in waiting times and bus schedule constraints. Plus I just prefer the exercise and fresh air of cycling. I support the busses mainly because I think it would clear a lot of traffic off the roads if more people would use busses. Plus, if you are in a situation where you're injured or otherwise can't ride a bike, a bus is a nice option. Also, for longer trips it would be nice to be able to take a bus instead of biking when time is a consideration.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    It does seem strange that a Londoner complains about transit, when they live in a city with arguably the most advanced transit system in the world. They have extensive subways, light rail, commuter trains, cool double decker buses, and rapidly growing bicycle infrastructure. Hell, they have a beautiful new pedestrian footbridge as well as a cable car across the Thames.

    I think their transit system is superb, but clearly it's going to take more fundamental changes to deal with the problem of getting millions of workers, shoppers, and tourists into and out of a central district every day. Ultimately they will have to look to more fundamental improvements in land use and time management. There's only so much that any transit system can do.
    I'm not saying this specifically about the poster you're referring to but generally I have noticed that people have a tendency to complain about the most optimal situations simply because they're programmed to seek out dissatisfaction, hence the grass always being greener.

    On a related note, I was cycling through a poorer area today and it occurred to me that middle class people typically express greater economic dissatisfaction than poor people do, who just seem to be getting by. This stands in contrast to stereotypes you hear about the global poor being up in arms protesting poverty. I think it may be because the opportunities available for poor people to get jobs at the lowest level are such hard work and hard hours, they end up just being satisfied (and tired) to get by without going through the extra back-breaking work it would take to impress managers enough to climb through the ranks a bit.

    Now if you read this far you're probably wondering what this has to do with the other post complaining about London transit. The point is that I think people with access to good public transit may romanticize the 'American' lifestyle of everyone having and driving a car simply because it's the grass on the other side of the fence. Probably once such a person would actually get the option to drive all the time but end up losing the transit choice along with everyone else and being stuck in traffic with them, they would realize the value of the transit option.

    It would be the same if someone on the UK dole would complain that there are plenty of jobs in the US until they realize that the jobs that are easy for anyone to get in the US are low paying, hard dead-end service jobs with bad hours and that few, if any, people that do these jobs get the opportunity to work their way up without putting in extreme amounts of hours and years. Is this comparison sounding like a dead horse getting beaten or does it make sense?

  9. #109
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Is this comparison sounding like a dead horse getting beaten or does it make sense?
    Dead pony.

  10. #110
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    I'm not saying this specifically about the poster you're referring to but generally I have noticed that people have a tendency to complain about the most optimal situations simply because they're programmed to seek out dissatisfaction, hence the grass always being greener.

    On a related note, I was cycling through a poorer area today and it occurred to me that middle class people typically express greater economic dissatisfaction than poor people do, who just seem to be getting by. This stands in contrast to stereotypes you hear about the global poor being up in arms protesting poverty. I think it may be because the opportunities available for poor people to get jobs at the lowest level are such hard work and hard hours, they end up just being satisfied (and tired) to get by without going through the extra back-breaking work it would take to impress managers enough to climb through the ranks a bit.

    Now if you read this far you're probably wondering what this has to do with the other post complaining about London transit. The point is that I think people with access to good public transit may romanticize the 'American' lifestyle of everyone having and driving a car simply because it's the grass on the other side of the fence. Probably once such a person would actually get the option to drive all the time but end up losing the transit choice along with everyone else and being stuck in traffic with them, they would realize the value of the transit option.

    It would be the same if someone on the UK dole would complain that there are plenty of jobs in the US until they realize that the jobs that are easy for anyone to get in the US are low paying, hard dead-end service jobs with bad hours and that few, if any, people that do these jobs get the opportunity to work their way up without putting in extreme amounts of hours and years. Is this comparison sounding like a dead horse getting beaten or does it make sense?
    I have made similar observations. I've also noticed that many people who complain about how terrible buses are have been on one a couple times, or not at all.


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  11. #111
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    I'm not saying this specifically about the poster you're referring to but generally I have noticed that people have a tendency to complain about the most optimal situations simply because they're programmed to seek out dissatisfaction, hence the grass always being greener.

    On a related note, I was cycling through a poorer area today and it occurred to me that middle class people typically express greater economic dissatisfaction than poor people do, who just seem to be getting by. This stands in contrast to stereotypes you hear about the global poor being up in arms protesting poverty. I think it may be because the opportunities available for poor people to get jobs at the lowest level are such hard work and hard hours, they end up just being satisfied (and tired) to get by without going through the extra back-breaking work it would take to impress managers enough to climb through the ranks a bit.

    Now if you read this far you're probably wondering what this has to do with the other post complaining about London transit. The point is that I think people with access to good public transit may romanticize the 'American' lifestyle of everyone having and driving a car simply because it's the grass on the other side of the fence. Probably once such a person would actually get the option to drive all the time but end up losing the transit choice along with everyone else and being stuck in traffic with them, they would realize the value of the transit option.

    It would be the same if someone on the UK dole would complain that there are plenty of jobs in the US until they realize that the jobs that are easy for anyone to get in the US are low paying, hard dead-end service jobs with bad hours and that few, if any, people that do these jobs get the opportunity to work their way up without putting in extreme amounts of hours and years. Is this comparison sounding like a dead horse getting beaten or does it make sense?
    It makes a lot of sense to me, especially the part about some people complaining about even the best of situations. Most Londoners, however, seem to be quite happy with the underground, happier, in fact, than most New Yorkers are with their subway:

    "Passenger satisfaction with the London Underground is at its highest since surveys began, in 1990. In August-September 2012, the Tube scored an 83% approval rating and LU operated 98.8 percent of scheduled kilometres. The New York Subway, meanwhile, scored a 75% approval rating in a survey conducted in 2012. A Straphangers Campaign report found that trains operated a regular service 79% of the time."

    London Underground vs New York Subway: Which is the best? | Vida London




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  12. #112
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    This may be an idea for a new thread, and I bet it'd bomb b/c primary research doesn't seem too popular here, but what if a small sample of LCF contributors recorded their commute by bike, and compared that time to what they could achieve using a bus? That might answer this thread's original question objectively, if only on the micro-level.
    My commute by bike is about 20 minutes. It's only 3 miles but there are a lot of stop signs and lights. I could use a bus or the train, but to do that, I would have to walk about 2 of the 3 miles because the stops aren't located near my apartment or my job. That seems rather pointless.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    It does seem strange that a Londoner complains about transit, when they live in a city with arguably the most advanced transit system in the world. They have extensive subways, light rail, commuter trains, cool double decker buses, and rapidly growing bicycle infrastructure. Hell, they have a beautiful new pedestrian footbridge as well as a cable car across the Thames.

    I think their transit system is superb, but clearly it's going to take more fundamental changes to deal with the problem of getting millions of workers, shoppers, and tourists into and out of a central district every day. Ultimately they will have to look to more fundamental improvements in land use and time management. There's only so much that any transit system can do.
    You write as though you have been there recently to experience it. Have you?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I haven't driven myself in and out of town at rush hour but have ridden taxis a few times. The main advantage of being in a private vehicle is you get to decide for yourself what temperature you want, what you listen to, and you don't find yourself pressed into someone's armpit or distastefully close to someone who hasn't washed in a week.
    You also get to decide where you want to go, if you should decide to change you original destination. You also get to decide whether and/or where to detour if there is a hold-up in the traffic flow. You also get to decide in most circumstances your schedule. You also get to visit family/friends/destinations on a whim when those family/friends/destinations are in locations not serviced by public transport.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #115
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    It does seem strange that a Londoner complains about transit, when they live in a city with arguably the most advanced transit system in the world. They have extensive subways, light rail, commuter trains, cool double decker buses, and rapidly growing bicycle infrastructure. Hell, they have a beautiful new pedestrian footbridge as well as a cable car across the Thames.

    I think their transit system is superb, but clearly it's going to take more fundamental changes to deal with the problem of getting millions of workers, shoppers, and tourists into and out of a central district every day. Ultimately they will have to look to more fundamental improvements in land use and time management. There's only so much that any transit system can do.
    Our transit system is superb or dreadful, depending on just what it is you measure.

    If you measure the availability of it then it's hard to argue against it being superb, especially once you get closer to central London. The combination of tube, bus, overground rail and river means you can get from just about anywhere to just about anywhere. If you move further out of town the availability declines and you end up with the annoyance of a radial system so that if you want to go from SW London to W London you sometimes find you have to go all the way into town then all the way back out.

    If you measure the experience when you're actually travelling it doesn't come out so well. Outside of the rush hour it's a good service, as long as you want to go to and from somewhere that's reasonably near an access point although as soon as you need to change trains it's surprising how much extra time you need just to get from one platform to another. During the rush hour it really is like riding in a cattle truck and if the train stops in a tunnel the heat, particularly in the summer, is stifling because the ventilation is woefully inadequate.

    It's also remarkable just how long it takes to get around - I used to work two miles from Waterloo station and when I left work at 6pm I could sometimes make the 6:27 train from Waterloo but more often than not ended up on the 6:36. To make that clearer, I couldn't be certain of covering the two miles from office to station in less than 30 minutes. In the summertime descending into the underground network I could feel a wall of heat rising up at me, and stepping into an overground train in the evening was like stepping into a sauna. I could literally go from being mostly dry to being a bath of sweat in the time it took to walk the length of the carriage. The 11 miles from office to home took me 75 minutes on a normal delay - the slightest hiccup in the system meant it took longer. What's really fun is when you get stuck in a train that's stopped between stations, in the searing heat, with no bathrooms available (there are none on many surburban trains) with no indication of when you'll be moving again. It's even more fun when you get off at an intermediate station because you need the bathroom only to find the ones in the station are locked (presumably the management are afraid someone might sneak in and clean them).

    There's also the cost of it. A season ticket is forgiving compared to the cost of driving around but those who pay for individual journeys, especially if they pay with cash rather than the prepay Oyster cards, really pay through the nose for it. Journeys are based on the zone system so you pay for the zones you travel through (if you travel from Zone 5 to Zone 4 you pay for the two zones; if you travel from Zone 5 on one side of town through town and into Zone 4 on the other side you pay for Zones 1-5). I haven't paid a cash fare in years because I use an Oyster card but the last I heard a single cash fare within Zone 1 (the centre of London) was 4 (about $6.50).

    Double decker buses are iconic but uncomfortable to use if you're tall. For me on a typical double decker bus there are maybe 5 seats I can use where I have leg room, and three of those are in designated priority areas for those less able to stand. So if I want to be sure of having enough legroom to actually fit in the seat and not having to give up the seat, there are two places I can sit. One of those is right over the rear axle which makes for an uncomfortable ride.

    There are obviously limitations when you're trying to deal with so many people in such a small space but so much of the trouble with our transport system is that so much of it just doesn't seem to have been thought through properly. The new trains covering a large part of the network have windows that don't offer ventilation, let the rain in when it's wet outside, and slam shut when another train passes. I frequently got off the train at the end of a journey home in the rain feeling physically sick, to the point that if I saw it was raining hard when I was ready to leave work I'd seriously consider getting a taxi home. Many times I worked later so that either the rain would subside or I'd be able to travel when it wasn't so crowded.

    These days I rarely have any reason to go into central London and I'm so glad I don't have to deal with the public transport any more. If I want to go to the next suburb to me it's about two miles along a bus route and I walk in preference to taking the bus.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  16. #116
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    You also get to decide where you want to go, if you should decide to change you original destination. You also get to decide whether and/or where to detour if there is a hold-up in the traffic flow. You also get to decide in most circumstances your schedule. You also get to visit family/friends/destinations on a whim when those family/friends/destinations are in locations not serviced by public transport.
    In London the "visit family/friends" etc doesn't work so well unless you can park there but aside from that you're right.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  17. #117
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    Our transit system is superb or dreadful, depending on just what it is you measure.

    If you measure the availability of it then it's hard to argue against it being superb, especially once you get closer to central London. The combination of tube, bus, overground rail and river means you can get from just about anywhere to just about anywhere. If you move further out of town the availability declines and you end up with the annoyance of a radial system so that if you want to go from SW London to W London you sometimes find you have to go all the way into town then all the way back out.

    If you measure the experience when you're actually travelling it doesn't come out so well. Outside of the rush hour it's a good service, as long as you want to go to and from somewhere that's reasonably near an access point although as soon as you need to change trains it's surprising how much extra time you need just to get from one platform to another. During the rush hour it really is like riding in a cattle truck and if the train stops in a tunnel the heat, particularly in the summer, is stifling because the ventilation is woefully inadequate.

    It's also remarkable just how long it takes to get around - I used to work two miles from Waterloo station and when I left work at 6pm I could sometimes make the 6:27 train from Waterloo but more often than not ended up on the 6:36. To make that clearer, I couldn't be certain of covering the two miles from office to station in less than 30 minutes. In the summertime descending into the underground network I could feel a wall of heat rising up at me, and stepping into an overground train in the evening was like stepping into a sauna. I could literally go from being mostly dry to being a bath of sweat in the time it took to walk the length of the carriage. The 11 miles from office to home took me 75 minutes on a normal delay - the slightest hiccup in the system meant it took longer. What's really fun is when you get stuck in a train that's stopped between stations, in the searing heat, with no bathrooms available (there are none on many surburban trains) with no indication of when you'll be moving again. It's even more fun when you get off at an intermediate station because you need the bathroom only to find the ones in the station are locked (presumably the management are afraid someone might sneak in and clean them).

    There's also the cost of it. A season ticket is forgiving compared to the cost of driving around but those who pay for individual journeys, especially if they pay with cash rather than the prepay Oyster cards, really pay through the nose for it. Journeys are based on the zone system so you pay for the zones you travel through (if you travel from Zone 5 to Zone 4 you pay for the two zones; if you travel from Zone 5 on one side of town through town and into Zone 4 on the other side you pay for Zones 1-5). I haven't paid a cash fare in years because I use an Oyster card but the last I heard a single cash fare within Zone 1 (the centre of London) was 4 (about $6.50).

    Double decker buses are iconic but uncomfortable to use if you're tall. For me on a typical double decker bus there are maybe 5 seats I can use where I have leg room, and three of those are in designated priority areas for those less able to stand. So if I want to be sure of having enough legroom to actually fit in the seat and not having to give up the seat, there are two places I can sit. One of those is right over the rear axle which makes for an uncomfortable ride.

    There are obviously limitations when you're trying to deal with so many people in such a small space but so much of the trouble with our transport system is that so much of it just doesn't seem to have been thought through properly. The new trains covering a large part of the network have windows that don't offer ventilation, let the rain in when it's wet outside, and slam shut when another train passes. I frequently got off the train at the end of a journey home in the rain feeling physically sick, to the point that if I saw it was raining hard when I was ready to leave work I'd seriously consider getting a taxi home. Many times I worked later so that either the rain would subside or I'd be able to travel when it wasn't so crowded.

    These days I rarely have any reason to go into central London and I'm so glad I don't have to deal with the public transport any more. If I want to go to the next suburb to me it's about two miles along a bus route and I walk in preference to taking the bus.
    That's very interesting and valuable information. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I assume there are compensations that make living in London somewhat tolerable.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  18. #118
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    Thyis is good data; I imagine the extra 20-30 minutes that the bus takes seems worth it in the freezing cold, right? And the 10 minutes saved on the car might seem inconsequential, and it may not be time saved at all if you count on the ride as time spent exercising, whereby an auxiliary trip to the gym or some other exercise session is required...
    The car is faster than the bike, but the benefits of biking far outweigh that. However the bus is currently so much worse than both, that I can barely tolerate it through the winter, and certainly wouldn't do it year round if I couldn't bike. However service may improve, when they complete the road and tunnel reconstruction in 2015, and also after our upcoming fall mayoral elections when presumably we will finally unload Rob Ford. As for the cold, it's almost as bad on the bus as biking, as some transfer points are very windy. The ice is the real deterrent to biking, the cold I could probably adapt to.
    Last edited by cooker; 03-28-14 at 08:58 AM.

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    That's very interesting and valuable information. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I assume there are compensations that make living in London somewhat tolerable.
    As with so much else it depends how you want to live.

    If you're into pubs and clubs, theatres etc then having a major city like London so close is unbeatable. With the political, financial and entertainment capitals on the doorstep it's easy to find work if you've got the right skills. And living in the suburbs means that most of my social life doesn't involve driving at all. So there are advantages to it - as with anywhere else there are advantages and disadvantages and you get to pick whichever combination works best for you.

    Truth be told London doesn't work for me as well these days as it did when I moved here, the question is whether I'd prefer living somewhere else with enough desire to make it worth the hassle of moving.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    That's very interesting and valuable information. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I assume there are compensations that make living in London somewhat tolerable.
    Have you been there? I'm not fond of cities, but London is a historically interesting and eclectic place to visit, and I could see the attraction for living there.


    I can also sympathise with the frustrations regarding the transportation system there. The trains can be extremely crowded and hot. Because we've been on holiday when we've been there, we have had the luxury of being able to wait for the next train, or the next train, or the next train ... but if we were going to work or were working to a schedule, we wouldn't have that luxury. And stuff happens to the train lines now and then, and they suddenly close a section. We were trying to get back to where we were staying on one occasion when they closed the line. Fortunately we had our bicycles with us, so we hopped on and rode, but others weren't so fortunate and they were either stuck waiting until the line reopened several hours later, or were herded onto the few busses they employed to get people past the closed section.

    We were in London just before the Olympics, and opted to leave and go to Edinburgh, thinking that the transportation system in London would be impossible. About 3 months later we were on the west coast of France and met a New Zealand couple who lived in London. They stayed in London over the Olympics, and told us that the transportation system was great ... so many Londoners had left the city thinking that the transportation system would be impossible that trains and busses were almost empty in comparison to what they usually were.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    What's really fun is when you get stuck in a train that's stopped between stations, in the searing heat, with no bathrooms available (there are none on many surburban trains) with no indication of when you'll be moving again. It's even more fun when you get off at an intermediate station because you need the bathroom only to find the ones in the station are locked (presumably the management are afraid someone might sneak in and clean them).


    Great line!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by neil View Post
    It seems to me that if services which you consider to make a medieval cattle truck look appealing are still overcrowded, investment shouldn't be focused on making it nicer, just on making more of it. Simple economics. At the current price, there's too much demand. Either raise the price until it stops being overcrowded, or increase the supply. Making it nicer is a waste of money for an over-subscribed service.

    That said, I would have to say my experiences with London transit, as a tourist but sometimes at rush hour, compare favourably to my experiences with transit at home. Similarly crowded and uncomfortable, but it's frequent and usually quite fast.
    When the buses run empty, people start complaining we need to stop funding them because it's a waste of taxpayer money. When the buses run full, it's uncomfortable and horrible for the passenger. The bus can't win.

    I was on the lightrail yesterday and was full of passengers yet no one was unhappy. I had a seat and it wasn't unconfortable having taken the same train hundreds of times. I feel the same way for the bus.

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    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    When the buses run empty, people start complaining we need to stop funding them because it's a waste of taxpayer money. When the buses run full, it's uncomfortable and horrible for the passenger. The bus can't win.

    I was on the lightrail yesterday and was full of passengers yet no one was unhappy. I had a seat and it wasn't unconfortable having taken the same train hundreds of times. I feel the same way for the bus.
    Your experience mirrors mine.

    I'll just add that some of the most rabidly anti-public transit opinions are expressed by motorists who live out in the sticks or in the suburbs and who never ride buses or trains. They don't want any public monies going to mass transit, yet they wholeheartedly support the roads they drive on being subsidized.
    Last edited by Ekdog; 03-30-14 at 10:56 AM.
    Gimme that car-free living!

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    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    My commute by bike is about 20 minutes. It's only 3 miles but there are a lot of stop signs and lights. I could use a bus or the train, but to do that, I would have to walk about 2 of the 3 miles because the stops aren't located near my apartment or my job. That seems rather pointless.
    Actually, walking those 2 miles twice a day, at least once in a while, would be a good way to get some cheap exercise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    And living in the suburbs means that most of my social life doesn't involve driving at all.
    I imagine then, that London suburbs must be much more compact and diverse than American suburbs. Do you have a neighbourhood high street with shops and pubs?
    Last edited by cooker; 03-30-14 at 10:34 AM.

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