Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Public transport from the perspective of a passionate car driver

As we all know, it's the cars my heart beats for, not the trains. Still, I am using public transport quite regularly, basically every day these days. And there's a lot of good things you can say about public transport, at least when you have the luck to live in a well organized rural area like Zurich and surroundings.
From an economical standpoint public transport can certainly match the alternative car.
From a convenience perspective in city traffic often public transport is much better than taking the car. You don't need to find a parking spot, you will not suffer from traffic jams and your journey typically ends just in front of the building that you want to reach.
There's another experience I wanted to share though. Recently I was standing at the train station waiting for my train. When it was 30 seconds before the planned time, actually people all looked in the direction where the train had to come, because they WERE expecting it to be on time. And it was, as in 9x% of all cases in Switzerland. That's quite appealing. That's precision that creates convenience.
There are a couple of caveats of course too, when taking the train. You need to stick to the schedule (sic!), you will not want to transport heavy and large objects and if you want to catch the swine flue then that's probably a good place to start with.
But all in all, a well working public transportation system is a good thing, as long as it doesn't become religious.


Anonymous said...

Bruno - you make a valid point about precision leading on convenience. That said, your remark about swine flu is a bit smug. At present, you are more likely to get killed driving on the roads in your own car than by catching swine flu on the buses and trains of ZVV.

John L said...

Swine flu doesn't seem to be much different to any other flu. Do you think it's being flogged to keep everyone on their toes while not noticing the CEOs of the big banks taking their huge bonuses before the collapse?

Bruno von Rotz said...

Good points. The risk of getting killed in your own car is quite low in Switzerland, as recent statistics say. We certainly have more cases of swine flu than people killed by car accidents. But of course the probability to be infected in a specific train is much smaller.

Concerning PR and the swine flu, I agree that a lot is blown out of proportions. But I guess different interests are behind bonus payments and public awareness and "how to sell my newspaper tomorrow"