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Short-haul Flights in the UK could be curtailed

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Short-haul Flights in the UK could be curtailed

Old 29th Aug 2007, 10:23
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Since there's a lot of opinion on this thread, but not a lot of real data from real passengers, I thought I might try to redress the balance.

I've been travelling Edinburgh - London on a weekly basis for business for the last two years. I used to fly every week but a few months ago I abandoned the plane for the train. Why ?

Cost

This year I've taken:
  • 34 single First class rail journeys (typically leaving Edinburgh 0600 Monday, London 1500 Friday)
  • Total cost 3937.65
  • Average single fare: 115.81
During the same period I've taken:
  • 14 single Economy flights (at similar times to the trains)
  • Total cost 1524.58
  • Average fare: 108.89
  • These flights have either been via EZY at LGW or BA at LCY
Typically I book around 2 weeks in advance regardless of how I travel.

So in terms of cost, there is little to choose. And in fact if I were to travel standard class, rail would be significantly cheaper.

Time

In terms of time, my door to door journey from leaving the house to the London office takes 5 hours exactly (train) and 3 hours 45 (plane via LCY) and 4 hours via LGW.

So on a good day travelling by air gains me an extra hour. However the good days travelling by air are increasingly few and far between, and the scope for things to go wrong (ATC delays, weather, tech aircraft, lost bags, late bags, security queues) is ever-increasing, whereas in 34 rail journeys, I've had delays of longer than 10 minutes only twice.

Quality

When I catch the train, I can walk to the station, or take a short taxi ride, whereas getting to the airport is a 20 minute taxi or bus ride. Similarly in London, getting to the office is a short tube ride (train) or a longer tube or train/tube ride (plane)

I can carry as much luggage as I can carry onto the train, and pack whatever I like into it. Travelling by plane, I'm restricted in what I can carry in my hand luggage, and have to stand in a queue, have my bag searched, maybe take off my shoes, and maybe have a body search as well. And with EZY I have to pay to check luggage into the hold.

On the train I have more legroom, can move about freely at any time, can use my laptop at any time, have internet access, and can use my mobile if necessary. In first class I get limitless free tea or coffee, juice, biscuits, fruit at my seat or I can pay for something more substantial. Or I can go along to the restaurant car and have a hot meal. On the plane, I may get a hot meal (BA) included in the price, but the choice is limited to having it or not, and on EZY I will have to pay for anything to eat or drink.

When I arrive on the train, I grab my luggage from the rack and leave the train immediately. When leaving the plane I have to wait for my bag to be unloaded which in the case of LGW can take up to 30 minutes.

When I leave the train I'm already in the city centre, whereas from the plane I have another 30 minute journey there.

You'll notice I didn't mention Heathrow once. Travelling domestic from there is a complete lottery and I abandoned it long ago.

=====

So why did I abandon the plane for the train ?
  • In practice, it's no more expensive. In fact, travelling Standard class, it's cheaper.
  • In practice, taking into account the more frequent delays at airports, the door-to-door time is similar
  • In terms of the quality of experience, train travel is now FAR better.
  • (another factor for me is that BA Cityflyer are significantly more expensive than BA Connect were. Unless you work for RBS, I guess)
Now if I was travelling cross-country, or from Aberdeen, or to somewhere close to Heathrow or Gatwick, or not able to buy tickets in advance, the equation might be different.

But I think the Tories are right to highlight that many more domestic journeys could be taken by rail. And in fact business passengers are already voting with their feet, without any need for government intervention. Nothing to do with the environmental arguments.

13Alpha
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 10:41
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Manchester (and I guess Leeds too) to central London is cheaper faster and much more comfortable by train. The journey has fewer hassles, ticketing/security/baggage collection et al. For me the only (marginal) benefit is when travelling to LGW to make a connection. A balance is required, for me, at the moment, the train is much more pleasant.
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 10:41
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I agree with much of what you say 13Alpha and have recently returned to rail travel due to the security farce at UK airports. The only thing I would mention is that I often find first class rail travel to be more expensive than a domestic flight and if you are in the zoo that is standard class then the train can be a living hell far worse than Heathrow on a bad day, especially if you are not boarding at the originating station!
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 10:59
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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I think what is becoming clear from this thread is that people are picking the mode of transport that is most convienient time and cost wise for them.

I live in West London so for heading up to the outskirts of manchester it is cheaper / quicker for me to take the car or the plane. But if I lived in central London and I needed to get to central manchester then the train would be better.

The politicians need to realise that people will tend to use what is more conveient for them so forcing those that live outside London to come into London to get to another UK city to then travel out again isn't going to work. All modes of transport need investment and then they might cut down on CO2 with people going direct to where they want to instead of going via city centres!!
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 11:14
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Sounds like a vote looser to me...

So, if you take Joe Public who wants to travel from say from Glasgow to Nice they'll be expected to take the train to Euston or Kings Cross. Then they'll take a tube to Paddington. Then they'll cough up to travel to LHR. Only now will they make real progress towards their final destination. It's a shame the trains are full, overpriced and that it's a real shag moving around the station concourses in London avoiding the pimps and addicts, because I reckon that poeple will choose to avoid LHR and go via CDG, FRA, AMS etc. Anywhere but LHR?

PM
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 11:19
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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It seems to me that this is ANOTHER London centric policy dreamt up by people who do not live more than twenty minutes by tube from a mainline station. Try doing it by train from BFS . Buffoons
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 11:48
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Trains are fine,- where they exist and provide frequent, fast services, but for many UK domestic journeys they do not. The recently publishd government paper on the 30 year vision for railways in England (Scotland was different,- but they get the money) was another regurgitation of previously announced or long delayed schemes with of course no vision at all. It is in no way linked to environmental issues because the government would have to pay , for example, for new electricification, notably of the Paddington and St Pancras main lines. There is to be no further electrifcation in the forseable future, even of short distances to link up existing lines, and there is to be no attempt made to cope with growth levels already being achieved. In other words the railways are in for make do and mend and an increasing inability to match capacity with demand. They will simply price demand back onto the roads . Joined up thinking? The argument over adding 2 coaches to each of Virgins west coast mainline Pendolinos has been going on for 2 years, during which the easy production facility has closed. The cross country Voyagers are also a coach or two short already and there is no proposal to strengthen them other than by refurbishing a few 20 + year old High Speed trains to add to them. Trains are gaining weight and losing efficiency per passenger to incorporate additional safety measures and disabled facilities and a good number of modern coaches are rotting in military depots as nobody will pay to put them on the tracks. What a difference to the aviation industry which responds to demand by adding more flights or larger aircraft and uses more environmentally friendly turboprops where justified.
David Cameron and pals appear to know nothing of the realities of travel within the UK ( or anywhere for that matter), and nor for that matter do Gordon Brown and company. Ming Campbell and folowers would have us all back in donkey carts travelling no further than village or city boundaries. Transport and the realities of environmental improvement are zones of enormous ignorance to all political parties. Where is the noise about cleaning up power generation, funding scientific research and the rest? What investment is going into improved ATC flows to reduce stacking and ground queuing? Does any politician even understand the importance of these or do the votes lie in being able to say " We are being more punitive than the other lot". How much of the "green passenger taxes are going to scientific research into fuel efficiency, new sources etc? You know the answer.
Aviation must start to fight its corner and tell the world the realities.
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 12:01
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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I once decided to be a bit greener and use the train for the majority of my journey to work. Out of 15 work days travelled it didn't turn up at all on three occasions, was a bit late twice and very late on another three, making me late for work on eight out of 15 days.

Needless to say, the Celica got taken to work from then on in. I always aimed for the first available train so I couldn't have left earlier to give myself sufficient time.
Until the trains are as quick and convienient as road and air travel, I will continue to use both and strongly resist politico's attempts to get me out of my car whilst they swam around in huge publicly paid for limos. AND, as long as Cameron and the like live and work in central London and other large cities with good public transport systems they will NEVER know how bad it is for the rest of us. The only time they venture out into the real world they are driven in said Limo!!

Got a much greener car meself now though!!

Doc C
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 12:55
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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http://www.transport-watch.co.uk/tra...athematics.htm

one highlight:

But surely rail is at least fuel efficient? Probably the most recent data in the land is that provided by British Rail in 1990. Certainly today it appears impossible to obtain system wide fuel consumptions. The 1990 data shows that, in that year, the fuel consumption per passenger-mile by national rail was equivalent to 83 per gallon for Network South East, 64 for provincial services and 112 for intercity - generally worse than a diesel powered family car containing two people.
A quick google suggests about 80 passenger-miles to the imperial gallon across air travel as a whole.

Anyone care to do a back of a fag packet calculation for a modern turboprop?

pb
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 13:19
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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13 alpha, that is a VERY selective comparison.
most of these moronic politicians have never been outside of islington, so don't know what the rest of the world is like.
I would love to get the train, except I don't live in london. Granted I only live about 40 miles away, but that may as well be a different country.
If I want to get the train anywhere, first i need to get to london, by car that is a non starter in the week. By train I have to endure horrific delays, dire serivce, standing room only and a cost per mile that makes flying first class look cheap. Weekends, I have no trains. most weekends I would be forced onto a bus because of engineering works somewhere or another.
There should be (and already is) a choice between flying, train and driving, but it should be a choice. Not something forced upon us by a bunch of idots from whitehall. you want to get the train? fine, do it, i'm not stopping you. why stop the rest of us from flying.
And why don't we make this a real free choice. At the moment the airlines charge a genuine market rate in a free market. The trains are subsidsed to the gills by the government. Lets get rid of that subsidy and see what the real costs are.
Oh no, we can't do that, in typical socialist style rather than encourage the trains to compete, we're going to cripple the airlines instead. Talk about bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator.
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 13:37
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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lplsprog - technically no in the IOM we are not subject to UK APD but our govt follows suit and raises it whenever the UK do. We are also subject to VAT so it would make our eyewateringly expensive air travel ( I fly IOM to LCY tomorrow - 360!!) even worse.

west lakes - during this years centenary TT the govt ran commuter trains - yes those 3ft gauge steam engines and the Victorian electric trams - the total number of car users who used the tram service was 1!!

As has been said people outside of large cities travel by what is most convenient - car most of the time or air for longer journeys - Brighton to Inverness by train anyone?
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 14:19
  #32 (permalink)  

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Capt Pit Bull: Anyone care to do a back of a fag packet calculation for a modern turboprop?
The SAS emissions calculator gives some interesting figures/comparisons. For example, on a sample route (I looked at CPH-EBJ, 258km), the A319 performed better than the Dash 8-Q400, 44kg of CO2 per passenger (at 75% load factor) compared to 49kg. Divide both figures by 3.15 to get kg of fuel, don't ask me how to calculate litres from kg.

As a rule of thumb though I would reckon that an efficient aircraft with a typical load factor on an inter-city journey of 'x' hours would have a fuel efficiency per pax-km equivalent to an efficient car (say a 2000cc diesel) with two occupants on an inter-city journey of 'x' hours.
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 14:40
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Handsolo said:
I agree with much of what you say 13Alpha and have recently returned to rail travel due to the security farce at UK airports. The only thing I would mention is that I often find first class rail travel to be more expensive than a domestic flight and if you are in the zoo that is standard class then the train can be a living hell far worse than Heathrow on a bad day, especially if you are not boarding at the originating station!
Yes agreed. At peak times cheap fares are hard to come by on the trains.

Piltdown Man said:
So, if you take Joe Public who wants to travel from say from Glasgow to Nice they'll be expected to take the train to Euston or Kings Cross. Then they'll take a tube to Paddington. Then they'll cough up to travel to LHR. Only now will they make real progress towards their final destination. It's a shame the trains are full, overpriced and that it's a real shag moving around the station concourses in London avoiding the pimps and addicts, because I reckon that poeple will choose to avoid LHR and go via CDG, FRA, AMS etc. Anywhere but LHR?
Or maybe, just maybe, it would result in more direct European scheduled and charter flights from regional airports ?

Doctor Cruces said:

I once decided to be a bit greener and use the train for the majority of my journey to work. Out of 15 work days travelled it didn't turn up at all on three occasions, was a bit late twice and very late on another three, making me late for work on eight out of 15 days.
True, and I travel on commuter/cross-country trains sometimes as well, and they suck. But the point of the article was about getting people who're travelling between Glasgow/Edinburgh/Manchester/Newcastle and London out of planes to reduce the need for expansion at the London airports, and what I was suggesting was that for those destinations taking the train already actually compares quite well.

Alex said:

13 alpha, that is a VERY selective comparison.
Yes, but it's the only comparison I've got any experience of, and it's directly relevant to the article. I don't live in Reading and work in Peterborough, and making that type of journey by train is probably a complete nightmare - but that's not what the Tories were talking about.

For once I think I agree with a Conservative policy. I must be getting old.

13Alpha
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 14:58
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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From "People Like Us"

Interviewer: One thing I've been confused about, Where does a long haul flight start and a short haul flight end?

Pilot: Amsterdam
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 16:28
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Only in the UK

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/england/6968868.stm
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 16:32
  #36 (permalink)  
A4

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One other aspect that perhaps should be looked at - safety. I cannot remember the last serious accident to occur in the UK regarding "major" domestic aviation (long may it continue). However, I can recall several serious, fatal train crashes, with the result of the line being taken out of service for weeks. If the number of trains running is going to have to be significantly increased (which by definition it will be) then it's statistically likely there will be more accidents and if the carridges are full to bursting...... carnage.

So whilst the lines are down will there be a temporary lifiting of the "domestic flight ban".....lets see how "green" they are then.

I still cannot believe that the Tories see this as a vote winner. Has Cameron become so blinkered and suckered into the green movement that he lost the plot. Hug a Hoody, a "responsibility charter" - Christ the man's a total ar$e - a complete and utter liability to the Tories. Four in a row for the Tories!!!

A4

PS Cameron did get the train to the Pole and to Rwanada didn't he?
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 16:42
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Last serious ones involving pax were the BMI 737 near the M1 and East Midlands and the British Aitours 737 at Manchester.
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 16:50
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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If you feel strongly about this you can email David Cameron at:-

[email protected]

I have already forwarded him the link to this thread - we need to tell the politicians the truth!
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Old 29th Aug 2007, 17:27
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Shameron & Yeo

I've never heard such a bunch of real "bovine scatology" from these two prats before. Shameron is a total "knob end" with no grasp on real life, let alone real people. Yeo (from the Yeo Valley 'tis pronounced "yo" that's where the yogurt comes from) is again a total unmitigated pillock, about as useful, as is his boss, as a pair of scissors to a haemorrhoid sufferer. I can't say any more, just let me try and find some real thinking, real living, knowledgeable politicos who know how people feel and think. I've stopped my party subs due to Shameron, gonna piss off to Southern France and let this lot go GFY

Rant over, got me bag, got me bottle, got me nappy allo beach!

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Old 29th Aug 2007, 21:07
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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One thing that they fail to consider is that if they curtail domestic flights in the UK instead of say SIN-LHR-MAN people will fly SIN-AMS/FRA/CDG-MAN and connect through there instead.

I am sure a lot of people do this already!!


They need to look at the bigger picture and realise that this could cost the UK aviation industry a lot of money in lost revenue.

Last edited by 747-436; 29th Aug 2007 at 21:22.
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