Archives for posts with tag: Transport

Towards the north-west of Ireland is Knock Airport in the county of Mayo. It’s a handy airport for those of us on the western coast of the country, since it flies to a few UK airports and the odd holiday destination too.

It has a slightly amateurish, making-it-up-as-we-go-along feel, which I’m OK with, since it’s small and therefore you can get through to the gate quickly.

The one thing that has always irked though is the ‘development’ fee of €10, payable by everyone 12 and over leaving. It was introduced when the airport opened, and, rather like the Forth Road Bridge toll, is still there. It’s not well advertised, either by the airlines or the airport itself, and catches out a lot of first time travellers. It also leaves a poor taste in the mouth, giving you the impression that both the airport and the country is chancing its arm and fleecing you because it has you over a barrel. My mother has recently taken to presenting a bag of coppers to the counter when paying her fee. It’s about the only statement you can make, since the office staff must have skins of titanium by now.

Anyway, I was talking to some staff the other day and they pointed out that Knock receives less government support than other airports like Shannon, and wouldn’t be able to keep going without it. I didn’t know that. So, in addition to it being not very advertised, it’s not very well explained either.

If the airport worked harder to educate its passengers about the fee, many more would leave feeling more disposed to the place, and more inclined to depart from there again.

Signs on the road – literally painted onto the road, as opposed to ones on a pole which itself is on or by the road, if you get my drift – confuse me. Why they are upside down? Or perhaps it’s back to front?

The huge majority of people in the western world read from top to bottom and left to right. We start top left and we finish bottom right. Yet road signs start from the bottom left and finish top right, perhaps assuming that you read the nearest word first and the word above it second.

Let me give you an example. When I’m driving and I come across this sign on a road:

AHEAD

SCHOOL

CAUTION

I read it ‘ahead, school, caution,’ rather than its intended meaning, the much more helpful ‘caution, school ahead.’

Perhaps the best solution is to arrange the words in the same order as they currently are, but further spaced apart, so as I’m driving I read the words separately, rather than together, and I’m less inclined to treat them as one clause and start at the top.

It’s the little things…

 

 

 

 

I was on the receiving end of a transport strike the other day. Or, industrial action, as it’s rather euphemistically called, as I attempted to get into the UK nation’s capital.

Industrial action. It should be called industrial inaction. It’s people who are providing a service – sometimes a single point of failure service – deciding not to provide that service, to do nothing.

Who suffers in this protracted battle of wills between the employer and the union? Other employees of supporting businesses who have to try and take the strain, but mainly the end customer, who funds – partly, I suppose – the service that’s supposed to be delivered but is being withheld.

A hundred thousand working people delayed, inconvenienced, frustrated and stressed. Wedged into late, irregular trains of a skeleton service like passengers on a Japanese commuter train, but with none of the punctuality. Hundreds of thousands of hours in lost productivity, lost contributions to national GDP, per day.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but it can’t lie in the antediluvian practices of outdated bodies, chaos, and meaningless apologies.