Archive for the ‘integrated transport’ Category

Car vs. Tram dilemma

Monday, 4 June 2012

Dyspozytor suffers from a pang of conscience

Poor public transport integration at Lodz Kaliska. Walking distances to the station booking office from the nearest tram stops are: bkp. Bandurskiego – 250m; Lodz Kaliska Estakada – 500m. Before the station was rebuilt a tram service ran right up to the front steps of the booking office. Map courtesy OpenStreetMap.

(Click map to enlarge.)

I’m sitting in my car in a traffic jam on the inner ring road in Lodz, thinking to myself, Why am I here? It’s not far to the tram stop from the flat where I’ve been staying. It’s the morning rush hour, so the journey to Lodz Kaliska would probably take no longer by tram and might actually take a few minutes less. I actually like travelling by tram! So, what on earth am I doing here?

I think about this for a while and draw up a list of reasons.

  1. It’s a 500 yard walk from the tram stop to the station booking office. The tunnel that would have provided a much shorter route walking route to the station is blocked off and the tram service that used to run right up to the steps of the station is just a nostalgic memory.
  2. Because of my bad back, travelling with a heavy suitcase is always difficult; lugging it on and off the high-floored 7N trams is an extra challenge I can do without.
  3. I’m dressed in my jacket and smart trousers, it’s rush hour and quite hot. If I go by tram I’m likely to end up smelling like cabbage soup.
  4. Given the problems encountered when I explored the Lodz tram network with Chris White, I’m not sure that the tram would have got me to the station on time.

I feel better. I find a fortuitous parking slot and after two attempts at reverse parking (my back is making it difficult to look behind me) I dock the car. I deduce that the Warsaw train leaves from platform 3, and climb up the appropriate steps (there are no train indicators).

There’s no train either. It’s sitting across the tracks next to platform 2. I cross the tracks by the barrow crossing, the guard whistles. I call out, Prosze czekac! (Please wait!). He waits.

Fast forward to the evening of the same day. I’m outside the Sobieski Hotel. The Minister emerges from a VIP reception, recognizes me, and we make small talk. He’s waiting for his official car. It approaches after a couple of minutes. He makes a dash for it, interrupting our conversation in mid-sentence.

My conscience feels better. Now if only official cars were banned and the Minister and all those responsible for Poland’s railways had to travel by rail, how long would it take for Poland to have the best trains and trams integration in Europe?