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Email address: feedback tgv. Trains were full of very ordinary people, including children and students The clientele felt very similar to cattle-class air travel. GordonS 7 months ago. Well, the same goes for roads. Some people don't even have a car, and wealthy people move around a lot more in cars.

But it turns out wealthy people do a lot more of a lot of things, especially move around, because they have money to do so. And were travel cheaper probably more people would do so. So, taxpayers basically pay for the ability to have a network that allows them to travel a bit. In some countries low income folks get cheaper tickets. Also high income folk pay a lot more taxes.

All in all, it'd be great to merge the high speed rail and ordinary road bus networks, and just maintain and subsidize that one, and have more socially fair pricing. The same doesn't go for roads. I might not have a car but my life would be severely impacted if local providers of goods and services including public ones, can't use roads. Roads that would be clogged with more passenger traffic if there was no mass transit available.

Better train infrastructure isn't just good for people who take the train, it's also good for road traffic. In Austria many people commute to Vienna via train, which as a nice side effect reduces the number of cars in the city. As an Austrian in Germany who used trains regularily to go back and forth I can assure you that it is not rare to see workers in full clothes with toolboxes and stuff in trains.

Most regular people look like office workers, families and you will always spot a few upper class managment people. The mixture depends entirely on your timing. If you use the train only during the holidays or weekends, you might get a very distorted image of who uses these trains on a day to day basis. But trains as a mode of transportation for the wealthy? In Germany and Austria you will see a mix of people that sort of represents the society as a whole in terms of wealth.

Many of those affluent suburbs became wealthy because of the station and rail link to London. The less-affluent suburbs are often those Mr Beeching ripped connection from, by removing most of the branch line network.

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In the rest of the country, I've never felt surrounded by wealth on trains. Mostly it just seemed like the same mix of regular people you'd see anywhere. That's not nescersarilly true, I suspect you aren't accounting for externalities like polution, the military cost of oil, etc. Rail is high-volume , far more so than achievable by bus, and the modal users are the middle class and commuters.

Really this is a "yes and" situation. We should also have decent low-cost buses, which in the UK are only available in London, Edinburgh and a few other places. Because the alternative to rail is cars. Cars don't scale to the level needed in cities. They also pollute a lot and kill a lot of people in accidents. Everybody benefits from fewer cars on the road. Edinburgh-London for example.

There are about seats on 29 planes from Edinburgh to London's 3 airports on Monday -- average of say seats a plane. There's about 12, train seats How do you propose to fit in another flights a day between the two cities? Airports in city centers are pretty problematic and I don't think that they can handle the number of commuters that a railway can.

You're right re city centers, perhaps I gave a bad example - in UK for longer journeys I like the train but flying is superior for my use-case usually - cheaper, faster. At least in London rail let's people avoid higher house prices by having a longer commute. But that expands the commuter belt, and raises prices for everyone else. It would be better if people could live closer to work.

I think they should use subsidy to make shorter local journeys free or very cheap. Include bus travel also. Ramp up the prices on longer journeys.

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They could also help out regional airlines to take strain of the rail network. Generally we all agree that flying when you could use the train is a very bad thing. A new generation of electric planes could change that. And a lot of the cross country fleet is diesel anyway and produces CO2 and other emissions. Sure, let me know how that works out.

Inflation in this context is RPI, because that's what rail salaries are based on. Service is now nearly twice the speed and twice the frequency. RDG want to get rid of this protection though. But you're right that advance fares are both cheaper and easier to get.

I think this is mandated by the EU. And it could be a good thing. I'm personally fed up to be treated like a thief when I forgot composting my ticket which happen because there is not gate to access the rails or when I could not buy it in the first place some station doesn't have have vending machines. But actually I would even be happier if we import all the working staff from Japan and make them the whole thing working smoothly under a join JR-France company. For english speakers, "composting" here means punching a ticket.

I never understood where the word came from, and I'm a native French speaker. Apparently the meaning doesn't come from the verb but from the italian word : "compositore" according to wikitionary [1] and the larousse dictionary [2] again in [1] "compositore" from italian is equivalent to "compositeur" in french which can mean "a person that writes music" but can also mean "a typographer or compositor".

Funnily enough the word we use for stamping tickets in Italian is vidimare which comes from vidimus seen in Latin, so it's actually closer to visa in etymology. For ESL speakers, "composting" to us means "put in a bin with a bunch of dead vegetation and let it rot". It can also refer to throwing something away in a bin that is destined for a compost pile for instance, food scraps.

I was wondering why the OP would be treated like a thief for not throwing his ticket away to be composted. Wow, thanks for that. I can't find a definition in an English dictionary that was able to make sense of that. It appears to have etymology in Old French composte which comes from Latin "composita" or "compositum" which means something like "something put together". Even crazier I can't figure out how we arrive at the modern meaning of decaying vegetables to make soil The etymology I see all mentions "composte" as "mixture of leaves, manure, etc.

Ahh, that makes sense. Thanks for having filled the "exercice left to the reader" as I didn't know the correct word! Not really, the EU is democratic, and generally there's skeptisism in the EU about a liberal rail market. The Fourth Railway Package explicity allows tracks and trains to be owned by a single holding company. The main point of the package was things like harmonising safety standards across europe so if you wanted to run a train from london to warsaw you wouldn't need to get safety certification from UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Poland.

If SNCF are good, that's fine, they continue.

Try driving off from the petrol station without paying, or boarding a plane without showing a boarding pass. So buy the more expensive one if you value the comfort. I don't know exactly how it is in France but in Italy and I suspect it's similar I may have a monthly ticket clearly stating the validity FROM-TO, having my name on it and yet still if i don't time stamp it at the start of month i'm treated like a thief because bureaucracy says ALL tickets must be timestamped. Ticket controllers not having to fear for their job don't even try to think and treat passengers with respect.

Now that we have a private Operator the situation is a little bit better but still until we have laws that dictate nobody must do any effort to maintain the job it's not gonna be pretty. Now You may ask Why I don't simply time stamp it at the start of the month. Maybe i'm late and I miss my train But most of the time and in many stations the stamping machines do not work.

I suppose that government subventions are split as a function of the number of passengers Does that monthly ticket has a start date printed on it before you compost it? Of course it does. And even for the tickets without a date Why should the passenger be penalised when there are no working stamping machines in the train station?

Most train tickets I've bought on the continent are undated - if you don't composte them then you could use them time and time again, which would be theft of service. In the UK we have carnets which must be dated albeit with a pen rather than a machine before boarding the train. They give very little discount and users are often accused of fraud. It's the passengers problem as they presumably can't board the train without a valid ticket.

I'm not sure how competition or changing ownership would help, what you need are strong laws making the train company liable if it's not there. Again in the UK we have "penalty fares", which are on the spot "fines" for "honest mistakes". Sadly the same doesn't apply to train companies, when they deny boarding despite a valid ticket, or you get threatened with legal action despite a valid ticket, you have to fight it, but they don't get fined.

It would be as simple as putting a stamping machine inside the train like they do on the buses. I mean it doesn't cost anything and the only reason it is not being done is the same reason machines in stations do not work. The train company has a monopoly and they don't care to try offering a decent service. The JR service comes at a cost. Shinkansen tickets are vastly more expensive than TGV.

Yes it's a bit more expensive but the trains themselves are way more confortable, most of the time on schedule and drive at full operational speed all the time because they rails are made for it. With TGV on the other hand you have a few sections which are standard rails and thus you the train drive at a normal low speed More comfortable than the TGV? The train I'm most familiar with is the Thalys, the high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris, and I'm not sure if it's more comfortable than other TGVs, but it's always a joy to travel in.

I recently went to London in the Eurostar, and they'd managed to make the train experience feel like a plane. Very disappointing. Regarding the Eurostar, it works like that because the UK is not in Schengen. As such, border control needs to happen. Not to mention the potential issues with terrorism.

And the Eurostar is net inferior to any of the Shinkansen trains. Can confirm, I've been on the TGV and also a few bullet trains in Japan - the bullet trains were practically luxurious in terms of comfort and space, and the service was fantastic. I also found the bullet trains to be great value, especially when compared to the expensive, uncomfortable, over-crowded, slow, dirty, late trains here in the UK. The border checks absolutely added to the plane feeling of the experience, but Eurostar seats are also significantly more cramped than those of the Thalys.

Err UK rail was famously terrible before "privatisation". Not that privatisation is the answer, nor that being public was at fault, but I'm not sure rewriting history is helpful. Looking at UK water companies being privatised so their owners can stuff them full of debt to get around the profit caps is probably a better case study. Monopolies being privatised doesn't seem super helpful either, but hey, that's the UK for you.

I read in a lot of articles that it is actually more terrible for a lot of tracks after privatisation in the UK. What happens is that companies focus on the most profitable tracks, so the other ones are not well maintained. It's not exactly amazing. Now indeed, the terrible service in the past was most likely due to underfunding, but recent history suggests we'll consistently vote in a Government that starves national infrastructure then sell it off to it's mates, so it's hard to see public ownership lasting and resulting in success. Its always easy to pick you some things that are worse.

But the UK train system was terrible and getting more terrible constantly year after year with total stagnation of new lines and other advancements. You can just as easily point to a number of other metrics that 'private' or whatever you want to call it British system has actually improved.

The people dislike of anything to do with privatization ends up people and journalist just looking for the problems. But the problems they find are not actually that much worse then the problems they had before. C1sc0cat 7 months ago. And when franchises change the outgoing franchisee just milks it for the last two years or so - which lead to the complete fracking disaster of the thames link.

What you said about the water companies is not correct. X is the annual price increase above inflation. There are no caps on profit. The reason why companies carry large amounts of debt is that debt finance is much cheaper than equity. Given that a utility has stable cashflows, it makes sense for it to use a high proportion of debt finance.

Fair enough, I defer to somebody who obviously knows more. However, there still seems to be questions around the debt, divididends, and asking Government for investment. Now obviously we live in a country of outrage, and fairly poor reporting, but the reporting does make it seem like we regularly get privatised profits and socialised losses. Hong Kong's is profitable mostly because it is run as a real estate company. Why don't other cities do this? I think all land within city limits should be publicly acquired with eminent domain before zoning and building of utilities.

No reason to let the land value increase fall to private landowners when it's all due to build-up of public services. Better use the profits for maintaining the services. That's roughly the case in Amsterdam. All land is technically owned by the city, and homeowners lease it for 50 years. When the lease will run out is always a detail to pay attention to when buying a home.

That's actually a great way to address this somewhat fairly. I just hope this would be more widespread. Here the city owns large parts and rents the land out with up to year contracts, but lots of the land is also just privately owned. Leases that short must make getting a mortgage hard. When the lease is about to run out, it means you need to reserve money for that, meaning the price of the house will be lower. I think you can still use the mortgage to pay for that lease. So overall it doesn't make much difference, it's just an extra thing to pay attention to, or you'll end up with unexpected costs.

If the lease is set to expire in twenty years, can you know in advance how much it will cost to renew, so that you can include it in the mortgage? If so, then it doesn't really seem to help the city to capture the gains that may have accrued over those years. If not, what happens if the lease now costs much more and you can't afford it? Do you get kicked out of the house? I think the cost of the lease depends on an estimated value of the house.

So if the lease expires soon, you can fairly accurately estimate what it's going to cost. If it expires in 20 years, it depends on what your house is going to be worth in 20 years. There are also arrangements where you pay this lease every month or every year, rather than paying it off for 50 years at once. If you can't afford to pay the whole thing at once, you can probably take a mortgage to pay for it, but you may also be able to switch to a monthly or yearly payment system. This estimated value of the house the WOZ value is also used for property taxes and you can appeal the estimate if you think it's wrong.

In any case, it ensures that the city benefits to some degree from the rising value of the land. In the UK, usually you negotiate for the occupier to refresh the lease before concluding the sale. After 50 years, you'll probably be dead so you don't have to worry about lease renewal in the UK the standard leasehold is 99 years, so you'll definitely be dead by then.

If you were due for a renewal, and you didn't have the funds to pay the fee, you'd remortgage. If you were very wise, you'd take out an insurance policy when you moved in to pay for it. Aren't leaseholds pretty rare in the UK? I'm in Scotland, but I don't think I've ever come across a leasehold property here. It effects the value of your estate and you wont get a mortgage on a short lease very easily.

It's also not necessary for a short lease. If you're going to pay every month or every year, a mortgage is pointless. If you want to pay it off for 50 years, that's when you're probably going to need a mortgage. In the Uk you wont get a mortgage on a short lease. A land value tax would sort this out. Build a new train station crossrail was a massive subsidy to land owners[0] , land price increases, more is raised in tax, which pays for the infrastructure.

On the other hand, build a new bypass, land prices drop, and nearby land owners get compensation for their inconvenience. Because it's not East-Asia. It works in HK, Japan, Taiwan or others countries because a train station increase value of the surroundings but in France a train station is a place you want to avoid , especially at night. In any city of a respectable size this is where you have you have a lot of beggars, thieves etc. It is even worse for women that get everything of that plus sexual harassement and it's not from native French.

ReptileMan 7 months ago. I don't know. Securing a city is not that hard. East Asia is not some crime free utopia. So it boils down to lack of political will. I was shocked by how bad the metro stations were in Paris at night, I changed somewhere in the central zone and it was a right dive.

I've never seen a London tube station, or Manchester metrolink, anywhere near as bad as Paris metro ones. No harassment, just homeless people pissing on the platforms etc. Paris is a dive though, give me Berlin, Munich, Rome, Prague, etc any day. That seems to be a problem that can be fixed with some security guards. Not really. This kind of low-key theft and coercion are hard to catch in the act. You can criminalize loitering and begging itself, but that's problematic, plus rife for discriminatory abuse.

Finally, even if you do catch them, the low amounts in question usually mean they'll spend a few hours at a police station, and then they'll go back. The sad part seems to be that: - track maintenance is lacking at least by journalism investigation reports - regional lines have shrunk, causing systemic back pressure on cars partly fueling the yellow vest protests I love the new TGV regen braking but it seems that holistically it's not a sure bet for the whole nation:. It doesn't need to open up the network to competition" I'm guessing this is being imposed on SNCF by national and European government.

In their defence they seem to be doing the right things. They're preparing for competition by lowering their costs etc. The proposed system of giving each region the power to grant a monopoly seems a bit ill considered though. No, that's not what that means. It's very easy for governments to have self-sustaining programs. They are still "public" but they bring in enough money to pay for themselves.

Public means it is a service all citizen aka the public should benifit from.

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A good public train network returns a lot of money indirectly, because it keeps all sorts of people mobile and therefore makes it easier for them to fill free positions. And in some areas e. The most important aspect of a public transport system is that it works well, is affordable and without disruptive changes can be so in 20 years time. The goal should be to reach these targets with efficiency.

I am not convinced that privatized railways offer any benefit for the public — they tend to grab all sorts of public money while closing lines that leave part of the public isolated, because there is not much profit to be made. In practise this can be observed in multiple nations. And public train networks have competition: busses. People have cars anyways, gas is cheap, there is no real public transport network you need to compete with.

Not in Russia. It's also the third-largest rail company in the world, so yes, it can be done. Not in Amtrak's Northeast corridor either. If Amtrak was run like a business, it could shut down a number of lines and become a cash-cow. But it decisively not run like a business. All this profit comes from freight operations. Passenger services are loss making. Much lower margins, of course, but still profitable.

How much of that is profit from industrial logistics read moving oil , and which part of that are revenues from passengers? It's been a shameful saga with multiple failures and no clear rationale. Ignoring the fact that the economic theory which usually fills in the??? That doesn't exist in the case of natural monopolies like rail. Very few people don't take rail for the fun of it. People take rail to go somewhere, therefore the market is transport. The options for say Glasgow to London are Drive Coach 2 operators national express, megabus Fly 2 operators I think Train 2 operators That's 7 different options, each has pros and cons.

Assuming the railway itself is public and shared, as in this case, how is rail a natural monopoly? A key reason is that off-peak services are often subsidised by on-peak services, so to economically provide a good all-day service the whole thing needs to be provided by the same operator. No reason to require a single operator, you just need a shared "pot" to move money around. On-peak trains pay into the pot, off-peak trains get money from it.

I don't think SNCF have any choice about separating train operations from rail track network maintenance and opening the network up to competition. It's an EU requirement, part of the fourth railway package. That's part of the reason there was talk of the UK not being able to renationalise their railways if we didn't leave the EU - it's increasingly requiring all states to structure their railways more like the UK system because that worked so great for us!

So private companies get paid dividends, that they didn't earn, from tax money and we still get a fragmented and under-invested system. The problem is that Grayling let stagecoach off their promises, undermining the whole point of privatization. So I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get back in time and had to cancel the trip. From what I hear this happens relatively frequently there. A train which you're not sure if it runs our not on any given day has somewhat limited utility IMO. What about Japan? Aren't they running the best rail network in the world with 0 subsidies?

I think New York needs to: 1. Cut costs. Lay off workers where possible. Cut wages and salaries across the board. Increase taxes. There just isn't enough money. I've seen a lot of people jump the turnstile. I think we can't emulate Japan's model in the US. Japan is very homogeneous from what I can tell.

We are decidedly not. Any attempt to strict enforcement will lead to hiring people who are attracted to such jobs and think it is their duty to rid society of "scum". SBB in Switzerland is also profitable. And they have nice high speed trains too. And reasonable prices for residents.

It runs like a Swiss clockwork. And we're talking public sector here, which would be a huge offense there. Protests would be massive. Why is this getting down voted? Did I say something wrong? Not saying I don't agree with what the author suggested. But it's important to have Why? I wish connectivity to airports here in India would improve and railways would just die. Why important? Because public rail makes it possible to connect city centers. Airports are biiiiiiig, noisy, airplanes pollute a lot, and take off and landing is slow.

Sure, planes are faster than trains, but they are a lot less efficient. Yes, it's hard to manage, yes it needs "roads" tracks , whereas planes have the air, but planes are very much a luxury. For many connections that are less than km or so apart, a train is faster than a plane.

A good rail network also connects smaller towns that don't have an airport. It can also be used to transport goods. All these uses would have to be replaced by cars and trucks if you'd only focus on planes, that's not very good for the environment. Travel in reasonably modern trains is by far the best kind of business travel you can have today, IMO.

You also didn't count the time to recover luggage. I've seen people bringing huge suitcases on high speed trains. They couldn't take them in cabin on a flight. Planes are good past the 2 hours flight time IMHO, or across countries where there are no interconnected high speed networks I'm writing this with Europe in mind. My ticket told me where to stand on the platform. When the train pulled to a precise location, I did not have to move any distance. One door for boarding, one for deboarding, passengers did not bump or block each other. Luggage storage located immediately inside train, pass a sliding door to my assigned seat.

The train seemed to stop for less than a minute, we were moving before I took my seat. No security in boarding station Morliax , a little over 3 hrs to Paris, km as the crow flies. Perhaps our French colleagues could chime in and let us know if this is a typical experience. Baggage security in France and other EU countries is quite efficient, not everyone carries bags.

I used to live a 7 minute taxi from Manchester airport. I would usually aim to arrive 30 minutes before wheelsup. It it took longer than 5 minutes from taxi to boarding it was unusual. In the rare occasions I checked luggage I'd arrive about t and have a beer in the lounge. Never missed a flight. To get to west london it was far faster than the train and tube, although most of the time I was changing at Heathrow onto a longer distance flight. Symbiote 7 months ago.

And your children will hate you for it. In Italy, the Milan-Rome km, 2. Sure, but the situation - bar a few "main" cities is far from being "good". I believe the Hong Kong metro owns and leases the land on top of its stations. Also, density. Amtrak [and other big country networks] also has money making routes, but that money is nothing when it comes the losses that need to be offset on the other routes. Competitors would either need to make substantial savings on operational costs, or limit themselves to the most lucrative connections, such as the profit-making Paris to Lyon route.

This sounds like a perfect way to have private operators take the profit from the cake routes and leave the subsidized routes for the state. Handing over monopolies on a region by region basis doesn't seem like it change much if anything. That's why it's a monopoly. The region can tell companies "who can make these lines some profitable, some less for the lowest subsidies, while fulfilling these other requirements?

Everyone wants your region? Great, you can lower the subsidies, or even tax the company.

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No one wants it? Ask for more money from the state, or consider eliminating some useless routes. Then the monopoly part makes it easy to calculate the profitability of the package and get concrete offers. But you could then just go, give the same plan to different competing teams in the public railway network and you will get a similar effect.

Because over all the private companies will also have to carry the cost of a lost competition to their customers.

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It is not a good idea for trains look at the German Bahn where it now turns out they neglected infrastructure for years just to look profitable , it is not a good idea for water and not for cellular networks or internet the German market is again a good example. If you have a monopolist it will also leverage the fact that they are the only one.

They essentially will blackmail you by strategic problems that will fall back onto you as the responsible governing body. They will put lobbyists into every possible spot and suddenly you live in a world where the only people who understand railways are on the monopolists payroll and a politician should decide about a topic they have no idea about. And if put up too high requirements, everybody loses. In Germany the frequencies for 3G were auctioned for way to much money.

How did the mobile networks compensate that loss? The effects: broken train infrastructure with 1 in 5 trains arriving late, the worst mobile network of Europe, the slowest internet of Europe. I am convinced a public train, mobile and internet infrastructure would be expensive — but I might get reception 10km outside of Berlin — I might be able to catch that next train and I might be able to get fibre in the middle of the German capital. Alternative, the private companies spend their resources lobbying politicians to remove the unprofitable requirements, something that is relatively easier than making them profitable, and the whole system collapses.

Simply called the TGV , these trains offer some clear improvements, as illustrated in the video above. It's great how this publication wants to inspire the US to learn from the rest of the world. What if they started by using the metric system, maybe putting furlongs and leagues in a tool tip? As a writer, one writes for one's audience. It's a US publication, targeting mainly US readers. Using metric units would be less understandable. It's not like the reason high speed rail doesn't work in the US is because we talk about speed in miles per hour.

Its part of the US attitude of ignoring modern engineering. Your Intel chips were probably specced out in mils milli-inches. All the screws are various fractions of an inch. A surprising amount of "modern engineering" uses imperial still. Science at least is all metric. Actually, in most of the world we use pretty much just metric screws. As for Intel chips, while wafers used to be specified in inches, I beleive they are generally fabricated on mm diameter wafers now. Yep, all of the hobby electronics stuff I have worked with has been M3 and M4 screws. Really convenient. Yeah, it's a sad situation but one we should be working together to remedy.

We all have to get behind and push, though -- it can't be an individual effort. I would argue that most of modern engineering originates in USA, with possible exception of automotive industry :. Much of it has found a home here but it definitely didn't all originate here. US automakers have pretty much switched over to metric fasteners for years. My year-old Ford is all metric. They sell their cars all over the world.

Getting downvoted for metric advocacy. Worth remembering that France hasn't fared very well in rail competition lately: the French-Government-controlled Eurostar chose the Velaro train sets from German Siemens to replace the existing TGV-derived train sets. It sparked a national outrage because a company controlled by the French government should, in their opinion, only buy French and a lawsuit from Alston who makes the TGV. It may save a buck or two but it also is a blow against local producers. Alongside the State Aid rules, this is one of the most important principles in maintaining the fair operation of the Single Market and preventing internal protectionism.

The EU is perfectly fine with protectionism so long as it is non-EU countries who are being excluded. You're essentially advocating for tariffs and "buy local" requirements. Not only they are bad for the economy, they're also mostly illegal in the EU. It adds to local economy and also staves off monopolization of producers. Nope, it is anti-competitive and bad for the economy, as it creates trade barriers and stifles innovation, as well as using your taxes badly.

It essentially accounts to government subsidies for a certain company. And that's why it is illegal in the EU.

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