Monday, November 23, 2009

Excellent train service in UK

I had to take a trip from London to Canterbury. I found the train service to be excellent. I was able to book for the train ticket online. There was a good schedule with a train connecting these cities every hour.

On both legs of the journey, the train was rather empty during the off-peak hours. But they still run the service to give a convenient connection to the passengers. This may increase the train fare, but the fare is still affordable (about SGD 60) for a return ticket on a journey that takes 90 minutes.

I have the option of taking the bus, which is cheaper. But the bus runs only two trips a day, and the timing did not suit me.

There is a fine balance between cost and convenience. The authority in the UK appears to be able to get this balance right. I hope that Singapore can learn from this observation, instead of leaving matters to the "free market".

Tan Kin Lian


  1. There is still plenty of work awaiting our specialists from LTA to explore.On a Sunday,15/11/09,I was waiting for over one hour for SBS Service number 98M but still can't find it coming.I HAVE WRITTEN TO LTA and is still waiting for their reply,possibly to much complaints regarding public transportation to handle.So how are we expecting 6.0m ppl to live in this city state country where our transport's system is still far from good.Why?
    I hope Mr.Tan could sit down with them to discuss on improvement,thanks.


  2. Hi Mr Tan,

    I have used the train service in the UK a few times and I have these comments to offer.

    By taking the train in the off peak hours, you have used the train during the cheapest and most efficient times. I am happy with it too.

    The dissatisfaction from the commuting public in the UK comes from using the peak hour services and include
    1. Regular price increases and high costs
    2. Delays ie lack of punctuality

    Many people live in the south of England and have to travel more than 1 hour to work in London. You can see this by the cars parked outside train stations.

    There was once I had to get to Heathrow Airport in the morning. When I took the train at 7 am from one town in the south, I was 90 mins away from London, and seats were few. 30 mins later, it was standing space only. Imagine paying SGD 40+ just to stand! I guess the folks there have gotten used to it.


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