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Entries about transportation

Definition for the Morning Commute: Lumping

Gregwtravels creates a new word to define a part of his morning commute

sunny 14 °C

I moved down to South London a few months back, now living in Battersea. As part of my new life south of Thames, I no longer commute into work using the tube. I am now going "overground."

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Overground is how Londoners describe the commuter trains. The trains come in from all directions - north, east and west - but are most prevalent in the south. This is because there are few tube lines south of River, so the trains act as us Southerners rapid transit solution.

My local station is Clapham Junction station. Clapham Junction is "Europe's busiest train station" by the number of trains which pass through it. There are 2,000 trains a day which pass through the station. Clapham Junction is on the mainlines running into Victoria and Waterloo stations, and away from London heading to the southwest and south.

During the busiest hour there are 180 trains per hour passing through Clapham Junction. 117 of those trains stop at the station.

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The good news is that means I never have to wait long for a train heading to Waterloo, near where I work. There is usually a train every two minutes during the rush hour.

The bad news is that as in addition to serving the local community, Clapham Junction is also one of the busiest transfer points on the rail network, and thus there is always a lot of people waiting for those trains. It is not uncommon for me to have to wait for three or four trains to go by before I can squeeze on one of the trains.

To make it easier for those people waiting to get on the trains, on many of the platforms they have painted lines to indicate where the doors will open. This makes it easy to know where to stand to get on the trains, but does lead to a rather uneven distribution on the platforms, with everyone crowding around the areas where the doors of the trains will be.

When the train arrives, those getting off squeeze through a small channel through the crowds, as those waiting to get on the train wait with nervous anticipation to get onto the train. Once the last person is getting off, the crowd surges forward to push on to the very busy trains.

It isn't complete chaos, though. It has a certain order to it. As there is never enough space on the train for everyone, there is a certain amount of jostling for position. At the same time, there is an honour to it - people do look at each other - making eye contact, and allowing those who have been waiting the longest to get on first.

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I have never really been sure what to call this process by which people wait for trains at Clapham Junction. It's not a queue, but it does have some order to it.

Last week, it came to me. It is lumping.

Lump (verb) - to wait and board trains in small groups huddled around where the doors are projected to be.

Lump (noun) - the group of people waiting to board a train huddled around where the doors are projected to be.

And thus it is defined.

My daily commute starts by heading to Clapham Junction and lumping to get on a train.

Posted by GregW 14:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged transportation train_travel Comments (0)

Steeples rising above green fields and love of roundabouts

Driving with Henri through the French countryside.

sunny 15 °C
View Lille and World War I Battlefields on GregW's travel map.

We had just come over a small rise when we spotted another one. A small rise is really the only kind of rise that one can come over in this area, as the land is mostly flat and waterlogged, given how close it is to sea level. They don't call it the low countries for nothing, though technically this being France I am not sure they call it the low countries. Back in the day, though, when everyone here was chattering at each other in Dutch rather than French, before Louis the XIV brought the region once and for all under French rule, they called the whole area of Flanders the low countries, comprising parts of modern day Netherlands, Belgium and France. Besides, without border control anymore, it is sometimes hard to know what country you are even in. I know I am somewhere close to the France-Belgium border, but which side of it I am on is anyone's guess.

"If only you had a GPS, Henri," I said. He didn't respond, he just kept humming.

Anyway, we had come over the rise, and there it was sticking out above the green and brown farm fields, one of close to a million I had seen that day. Another church steeple.

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The whole area around Lille seems to be the same background over and over, kind of like I am driving with Fred and Barney through Bedrock, and they keep passing the same 5 cartoon houses. The view here is much prettier than stone-age Bedrock, though. A green field, a stand of trees, a brown field, a green field, a cemetery, a small town with a pub, a few houses and a church with a steeple. Pass and repeat.

The whole purpose of my trip to Lille was to leave it. I came down to this area of France to see a number of WWI memorials, battlefields and cemeteries, and so I spent two days criss-crossing the French and Belgian countryside, with Virgin Radio playing on the radio.

Virgin Radio – is there anywhere you can go in the world that Sir Richard hasn’t branded already? That weekend I got up early on Sunday to watch the opening race of the Formula One season, and there he was in Australia milling around the paddock at the F1 race this weekend. Somehow he ended up with his brand splashed on the winning car. Regardless of the incessant branding, though, the radio station played a decent selection of tunes, though I heard that James Morrison song Broken Strings featuring Nelly Furtado about 4 times an hour.

So, it was just me, Virgin Radio and Henri, dashing around the French countryside.

Oh, how rude. I haven't introduced you yet to Henri. Henri Renault, my readers. Readers, this is Henri.

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Henri is a Renault Twingo. I tell you it is a Twingo, because to my eye it looked like every other Renault on the road, all of which had different names. Henri was a very good companion and acquitted himself admirably all weekend long.

France is the 5th country I have ever driven in. Apparently France and I have something with multiples of 5, for France was also the 10th country that I had every visited back in 2005. It was also the 3rd country I worked in, but that isn't a multiple of 5, so we shall ignore it.

On the Saturday morning I was headed south towards Vimy along A1 when I saw a police car. A few seconds later, a white panel van shot past me. A few seconds after that, the police car whizzed past me with lights on. I caught up to the cop car and the panel van driving along the road, and realized that it wasn't a police car at all, but rather was a customs car. The car had a big lighted sign board on top that kept repeating "DOUANE SUIVEZ NOUS" - Customs Follow Us. At that point I realized that the panel van was from Belgium. I guess open borders don't necessarily mean free flow all the time.

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The morning was spent wandering around the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge. It was very moving, but I will speak about the experience there and at the other WWI sites I visited in my next entry, so for now let us pick up the story back on the road, this time as I pull into Thélus.

Thélus is a town just south Vimy, and it seemed to be mostly shut up and closed down for the day. I was starving, however, having not had breakfast and with the sun now past its apex and now on its way down towards the west, eventually to set. I found an open tabac. Cigarettes are only sold in small shops called tabacs in France, which also tend to have lottery tickets and a small bar with a small menu of food. The one I pulled into seemed to offer at least some food, as there was a big sign on the windows announcing "SANDWICHES."

I walked into a smoky bar area where a number of older French gentlemen were standing around laughing and swapping stories. I walked up to the bar and waited while the bartender finished off an especially amusing anecdote. Once the regulars had been suitably entertained, he wandered over to take my order.

"Avez-vous une carte?" I asked, requesting the menu.

The bartender looked shocked for a moment, before regaining his composure and shaking his head grimly. "No, ce n'est pas possible," he said, before launching into a flurry of French that I didn't understand.

I stood dazed for a moment, and then replied with the only thing I could think of to say. "No?"

"No," the bartender said, a shrug in his voice. He then returned to his regulars at the other end of the bar where another hilarious story was in full swing. I stood quietly for a moment, hoping for some reprieve from my hunger, but seeing none coming, ended up having to leave the store quietly, my head down.

I returned to Henri, who had been waiting patiently outside. "I bet you would have gotten served," I said. Henri offered me a quiet sympathy, before roaring to life to taking me away from the tabac.

I don't know why I couldn't get a sandwich as advertised. Perhaps the kitchen was closed, though it being around one o'clock in the afternoon, I would think it to be prime lunch hour. Perhaps it was just obvious that I was not from around those parts and had a silly accent and not much command of the language, and they just don't serve my kind around there. I don't know. I do hope, however, that at least I become the prime character in one of the hilarious stories that fly around the smoky bar area. I'd hate to be forgotten.

From Thélus, I headed east along the backroads, basically driving towards any steeples in the hope that the town would have something to eat. I didn't have much luck, but did get some nice pictures along the way.

In Saily-en-Ostrevent, there was some pretty little houses and businesses. Sadly the pub was closed.

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Up the road is Vitry-en-Artois, which had this abandoned looking train station. The train still stops here, but you have to buy your tickets using the automated machine. The station building is abandoned.

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There was a bunch of old guys in really big wellies (rubber boots) gathering outside of this (sadly shut) pub. I don't know if they were farmers, hikers, hunters or grave diggers, but they looked pretty scary. Like the kind of people who would think nothing of killing the foreigner in town and burying his body in a shallow, muddy grave. Needless to say, I didn't linger around too long.

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Just down the road, however, I came across my first chance of food in Douai. An Esso Gas station with an automated food machine. I bought a ham and cheese sandwich for €3.50, and immediately regretted it. I didn't open the sandwich, instead putting it on the seat beside me, and continuing my trip. 5 minutes down the road there was a McDonald's. Thank god for the unstoppable spread of American fast-food culture.

Douai is an absolutely stunning place with a beautiful medieval centre, including an imposing town hall that was glimmering in the sun. It also has a shockingly large amount of cars looking for a shocking small number of empty parking spaces, so all I could do was circle the town hall three times before heading back out of town. The image of the town hall's spire glistening in the sun is burned into my memory. You'll just have to imagine what it was like, though, because I need two hands to drive Henri and thus didn't have one free to snap a photo.

I did get a couple snaps from Douai, though, of this medieval gate. These were easier to get, as the gate was well outside the centre and thus parking was ample and free.

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From Douai I headed back to Lille, my first days adventure complete. I got back to find that Lille traffic on a 5:30 PM on a Saturday is horrendous. It took me a good 45 minutes to cover the 3 kilometres or so from the motorway back to my hotel. Perhaps, given the ladies of the early afternoon that I saw walking the streets in Lille previously, these were all potentially Johns. Who knows, but I was glad to get back to my hotel room and a nice hot shower.

After my shower, I sat down to organize my photos. Feeling a little peckish, I opened up that ham and cheese sandwich. It was like biting into a wet newspaper, though wet newspaper probably has less chance of giving you e-coli. I tossed the sandwich in the bin, and again thanked McDonald's for the Big Mac. I'd hate to think what would have happened if I hadn't found that McDs and would have had to actually eat that ham and cheese.

"IT Consultant and travel blogger Greg Wesson was found dead today in a small Renault automobile outside of Douai, France. Mr. Wesson was apparently killed when a ham and cheese sandwich he was eating evolved to the point of being intelligent life, and choked the surprised Canadian. The sandwich, which had spent the previous year and a half languishing in an Esso gas station's automated sandwich machine, stated he was angry about being left in the vending machine for so long. 'Have you ever tried talking to a mozzarella and tomato baguette?' the sandwich asked. 'I mean, sure it is more evolved than the Pringles, but their views on workers rights are, frankly, stone age.' Mr. Wesson's blog will be continued by the people at Renault, who aim to use it to explain to a bewildered public how a Twingo is different than a Clio is different than a Mégane."

===

Sunday, after watching the Australian Grand Prix, I headed out in Henri, thinking to myself that I, driving my Renault, must be much like Alsonso, though in reality probably being more like Piquet Jr. I headed to the North-East this time, following the signs that were taking me to Ypres (Ieper), in Belgium. Traffic signs are bilingual up here, in both French and Dutch, so I get to learn the name of towns in two languages. Ypres or Ieper, I am still not sure how to say it. I know that in the Great War, the British soldiers stationed there called it Wipers.

Along the way to Ypres, I went through about 1,000 roundabouts. I am now a huge fan of the roundabout. They are so much more efficient and quicker than stop signs or stop lights, at least at anything up to a moderately busy intersection. For a really busy intersection, traffic lights make the most sense, but below that, the roundabout rules. You pull up, slowing down to check for any cars in the circle. If there are none, you go. If there is one, you stop. Simple, quick, and (so they say) a lot safer than traditional four-way intersections. Less chance of fatal head-on or T-bone crashes. If you are going to hit something, it is probably going to be a glancing blow along the side of the car. The kind of thing that makes body-work guys happy, but won't kill you.

Ypres is an old town, and quite pretty. The site of intense fighting during WWI, there were a number of site around the area that I wanted to see, so I used the place as a base for my driving for the rest of the day. I did take some time to wander around the pretty town centre, which has been gloriously restored to its Medieval beauty.

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Much like the countryside in France, the country side in Belgium was made up of a lot of fields punctuated by the occasional small town with a tall steeple on their church.

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Henri and I did have some drama, as I got lost trying to find my way from Ypres towards St. Julien.

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Sadly, St. Julien wasn't on any of the maps I had, which is probably due to the fact that the only map I had was of Lille's city centre and thus was unlikely to have a small town in Belgium appear on it. St. Julien doesn't, unlike many towns, appear on the numerous road signs along the way.

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I did however, somehow find St. Julien eventually. Happiness abounded.

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From St. Julien, I was able to make my way back to France and Lille, thanks to the well marked road signs. If only St. Julien had been so well marked. The drive back to Lille gave me one last chance to listen to Virgin radio, drive a car on the right hand side of the road, feel the sun through the windows and keep an eye out for the towers as we crested the small rises.

"Look Henri, another steeple!"

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Posted by GregW 10:16 Archived in France Tagged transportation Comments (1)

Reflections on a slow trip to Quebec (that could get faster)

High Speed Rail to Come to Canada? Travelling from Toronto to Quebec via train could be getting faster in the future.

snow -20 °C
View Quebec City New Years Dec 2007 Jan 2008 on GregW's travel map.

It’s the start of the New Year, and of course that implies that we have just ended the previous year. As with many out there, I have taken this time as an opportunity to reflect on 2007. Along with the usual fretting over the fact that another year has passed without getting engaged to Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson or Jessica Biel (or, really, any Jessica), I take this time as the year ends to see how I fared with travel this year. A lot of this is driven by the fact that many of the reward programs I take part in, like Marriott Rewards, Continental OnePass and Air Canada Aeroplan have qualification periods that run in parallel to the actual year. Luckily for me, I have qualified for elite status in all three of those programs this year, which means 2008 will hopefully mean more comfortable airline seats and bigger hotel rooms.

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I have also, for the third year, calculated how much I flew and how much carbon I threw up into the atmosphere. This year I flew an exceptionally large amount, even for me, with 81 flights totaling up to 80,785 actual miles flown. This is the most I have flown any year, fuelled mostly by the cross-country trips from Toronto to Seattle early in the year, and my recent weeks flying north-south between Toronto and Houston. According to the carbon calculator I used, all that travel added up to somewhere around 27 tonnes of carbon put into the atmosphere. Yikes! And so I was off to purchase a number of carbon offsets to assuage my guilt about so recklessly destroying the planet.

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Good news for the planet, though, is that I didn’t actual fly anywhere for a Christmas vacation this year as I have the past few year, instead electing to stick to the ground and take the train up to Quebec City. While it’s diesel engines do spew carbon into the atmosphere, the amount is less than flying, and the carbon isn’t flung into the high atmosphere, instead it’s spewed out at ground level to choke the local fauna as the train cuts through the Quebec forests.

My train, operated by Via Rail Canada, left downtown Toronto’s Union Station at 11:30 AM on December the 30th, travelling pokily along and making a number of stops as it headed east and north towards Montreal, arriving at 5:02 PM. After a 50 minute stop-over (enough time to grab a burger from McDonald’s, another few tonnes of carbon thrown into the atmosphere), I was back on the train heading towards Quebec City, arriving at the impressive and imposing Gare du Palais in Quebec City at 8:56 pm.

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The total trip took 8:33 minutes to cover the approximately 800 kilometers between Toronto and Quebec City, averaging 100 kilometers per hour. That’s not very fast, providing a similar speed to driving and certainly much slower than flying, which takes 1 hour and 25 minutes.

I choose the train, though, instead of driving or flying though, because I was on vacation and in no real hurry to get anywhere. Instead, I wanted a nice relaxing trip, allowing me to look at the scenery, read a book (it was a Michael Crichton thing about talking monkeys) and relax.

That might soon change. Yesterday in Ottawa, the premiers of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Dalton McGuinty and Jean Charest, announced a plan to do a feasibility study of putting a high-speed train between Quebec City and Windsor, Ontario, which we would find “whizzing along the tracks at upwards of 300 km/h – double the speed of VIA Rail's current trains – [taking] two hours and 18 minutes to travel between Montreal and Toronto, down from four hours.”

While this is an idea that has been tossed around a number of time over the past 20 years, the two Premiers (the leaders of the provincial governments, for those not familiar with the Canadian political structure) have a number of reasons to study the idea now. In addition to the desire of voters to see Canada meet carbon reduction targets, Quebec and Ontario are both large manufacturing economies. The price of oil has been skyrocketing, causing the cost of manufacturing to rise, while the Canadian dollar strengthening against the US dollar and the softness in the US economy meaning that our exports to USA are becoming more expensive just as Americans are tightening their spending. A $20 billion dollar project to build high speed rail would mean jobs, especially for a company like Bombardier, maker of high speed train engines and cars.

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I’ve in the past covered how cool it would be to have a high-speed train in the high population Ontario-Quebec corridor that runs from Windsor, Ontario (just across the river from Detroit) to Quebec City and includes major population centers like Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

Nothing more clearly brought this to my attention than two different trips I made this summer.

The first, taken 5 times between May and July, was between Toronto and Detroit. The distance between these two cities is a straight 370 kilometers along. Via Rail runs trains down to Windsor, Ontario, but the trip takes almost 4 hours and the departures are too late in the morning to get me to Detroit on Monday mornings in time for work. Instead, I ended up flying Air Canada into Windsor, and taking a combination of taxis and buses between the Windsor airport and my workplace in downtown Detroit.

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In August, I headed over to Europe. Obviously I had to fly across the Atlantic (no trains to take there), but once I landed in Europe, I spent two weeks travelling almost exclusively by high speed rail, travelling between London, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam and Frankfurt on the fast and comfortable high speed Euro-trains. On the trip between Cologne and Amsterdam, I was even lucky enough to sit in the front cabin, where I could easily see out the front window and watch as we sped between Germany and the Netherlands.

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Now, the interesting thing is that if you do the math, the train isn’t really that much faster Europe. From London to Frankfurt is a total of around 800 kilometers, which the trains cover in 6 hours and 32 minutes, or around 130 kilometers an hour. Despite having ICE trains that can travel up to 300 km/h, for the most part the trains can’t travel that fast for much of the length of the trip. Things are getting faster though. The Cologne to Frankfurt part is all high speed track, and the train is often travelling in excess of 250 km/h, and the UK is building their infrastructure to get the Eurostar moving faster.

What is very impressive about the Europe trains, though, is the fact that they run so frequently. Looking at taking a train from Toronto to Windsor, the earliest I could get out was 7:50, arriving in Windsor at 11:30. The first flight out of Toronto airport leaves 7:15 and arrives at 8:22, meaning I have to leave my house around 5:30 to get to the airport and clear security. Leaving my house at 5:30 am to catch a 6:00 AM train would be possible. A 6:00 AM train would arrive in Windsor at 9:45 AM, and I could be across the river quickly and at the office by 10:30. That would be a completely doable proposition.

While the trains in Europe may not be as quick as they possibly could, they run often and they are comfortable, and that’s something that Canada needs to do in the Windsor-Quebec corridor to make train travel something that’s more than just a mode of travel for tourists who want scenery and relaxation.

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Posted by GregW 11:30 Archived in Canada Tagged transportation train_travel travel_philosophy Comments (0)

A Canadian Werebear in London

Arriving in London, UK, has me thinking of American movies...

sunny 24 °C
View EuroTrip 2007 on GregW's travel map.

When I was 12, my parents got First Choice, the first pay-TV movie channel offered in Canada. The first movie they ever showed was Star Wars at 6 AM on February 6th, 1983, though there were first-day technical issues, and there was no sound for the movie. Those technical issues were soon fixed, though and soon I was watching uncensored and commercial free movies in the comfort of my basement. My parents didn’t like the concept of a TV in the family room, as it would destroy family bonding, so the TV was relegated to the basement.

I had a cat named Guido that spent most of his time outside. In fact, there were times when Guido would go out, and disappear for four days, before returning briefly to enter the house, eat some food, use the litter box and then leave again. It always amazed me that the cat would come inside to use the litter box, as there was lots of dirt outside where he could have buried his poop. Guido was not an especially bright cat, but had figured out that if it wanted in the house, the most likely place I would be to let it in would be in the basement watching TV, so he would come around, bat at the basement window and howl. Guido never really meowed, he either snarled or howled.

One evening I had a friend over named Vaheed, and we were watching the excellent John Landis movie An American Werewolf in London. In the movie, for those who haven’t seen it, two friends are backpacking in England, crossing the Yorkshire moors when they are attacked by a wolf. One is killed, and the other survives, but is soon visited by the undead spirit of his friend, who warns him that at the next full moon, he will become a werewolf. The movie is both funny and scary, and at a particularly scary part, as Vaheed and I cowered tensely in my basement, a suddenly unnatural howling commenced, and the house shook with the fury of some undead animal tearing at the windows and sideboards to get at our tasty, young flesh. Startled, I looked up to see a wild-eyed, hair covered face in the basement window, sharp, saliva-covered fangs glistening in his mouth. I screamed in terror, and Vaheed jumped startled, blood draining from his face.

Within half a second, of course, I realized it was my cat, Guido, wanting in, and Vaheed and I relaxed, but the event had us both on edge, and later that evening while walking to his house, we realized how much the two of us, walking down the lonely, dark streets of suburban Burlington resembled the pair of hikers walking across the moors in the movie, and how likely it was that werewolves were hiding in the thick trees and bushes that lined the street. The two of us broke into a sprint, not stopping until in the safety of his house, half a kilometer away.

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As compared against other movie monsters, I really think it would be coolest to be a werewolf. Unlike Frankenstein’s monster, who can’t really communicate and is scary to children and women, or a vampire, who can’t ever go to the beach, the werewolf really has no restrictions on its ability to interact with other humans. You’re just a regular guy other than a couple nights a month, when you eat people unfortunate enough to be wandering around in the dark at night. Plus, wolves are fast and smart and cool looking.

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Instead though, as I grew up from that 12 year old scared in my basement of my cat, I started to resemble more of a bear than a wolf – large and lumbering instead of lithe and fast. Instead of the hunter of big game, I’m the chubby little cubby obsessed with honey and likely to get himself stuck in Rabbit’s hole. My friend Dennis, on returning from a trip to Mexico, brought me back an embroidered bracelet with the word “Bear” on it, though I have never worn it, afraid of the gay-sex connotation more than hiding my true, salmon-fishing nature. If I were to be a lycanthrope, likely to change at the full moon, it would most likely be that of the were-bear, man during the all periods except during the full moon, when I change into a black bear, on the hunt for berries and carpenter ants to eat.

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Upon landing in London, England, and catching the Piccadilly line to my hotel from Heathrow Airport, I was reminded of the movie An American Werewolf in London. In the movie, once the main character turns into a werewolf, he is out hunting unsuspecting Londonites. One of his prey is an unsuspecting business man, who has just stepped off his train and is working his way through Tottenham Court Road station. As he walks through the deserted hallways of the tube station, he is startled by the sound of a menacing howling that echoes off the tiled walls. He starts to run, but falls on the escalator, and we watch from the point of view of the wolf, as the wolf advanced towards the man.

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Of all the history in London, even of it being the land of my ancestors, this is my first thought on arrival in this new land, of 1981 movies, cats who spend too much time outside and running at a full sprint through the streets of my suburban hometown. Ah well, there’s probably lots of time to experience the history and culture of this place. For now, I’ll be happy to be the Canadian Werebear in town.

Posted by GregW 06:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged transportation Comments (4)

Getting around Paris via Public Transit

Paris, France and the RATP

sunny 14 °C
View Work Trips 2005 - 2006 & Train from Paris to Hong Kong on GregW's travel map.

Paris has a great public transit system that is ideal to shuttle tourists to the sites. Depending on where your hotel is, you may be able to walk to many of the sites, but some of them areas are a bit of a hike. Using the Metro is an easy way to get around. The map of the transit system can be found at the RATP website, http://www.ratp.fr/. There is an interactive map, and a very handy feature that will allow you to enter two addresses, and it will tell you how to get between them. But the question is, what ticket to purchase?

There are a number of options for tickets to purchase. The key options for a tourist seem to be the Carte Orange Hebdo (Weekly), the Carnet (individual tickets in pack of 10) and the Mobilis (unlimted day pass).

There is a tourist pass, but it is more expensive and more limited than the other options. It does provide you the ability to travel further outside Paris on the RER lines (outside of zone 1 and 2). In general, though, unless you are travelling outside of zones 1 and 2 (the core of Paris) a lot in a short period of time (3 days or less), then I can't figure out how this pass is worth while. Even then, a Carte Orange may be cheaper.

Because I am both a math and transit geek, and because I needed to figure out for myself due to a few demi-weeks I am spending in Paris, here's what I determined.

The Carte Orange gives you unlimited weekly trips (they have a monthly version as well). The Carte Orange is good if you are going to be taking 14 or more trips total in the period it is good (Monday - Sunday), and those trips will be on 3 or more different days. In that case, the 15.70 Euros (for zones 1 and 2) is the best deal.

Note that you do need a picture for the Carte Orange. A passport sized picture from a photo booth is ideal. If you don't have one, there are photo booths in the system. Chatelet in the heart of the tourist area has one, which for people in the core is probably your best bet.

The Carnet (10 tickets for 10.70 Euro) and individual tickets (1.40 Euro) are best if you are planning on taking less than 14 trips across 3 or more days. In this case, the total cost will be somewhere less than the 15.70 of the Carte Orange and will give you flexibility to travel on many days.

If you are going to be taking 5 or more trips in a day, however, you are best getting the Mobilis, which is a one-day unlimited pass for 5.40 Euros. If you do all your out of walking area site-seeing in two days, then you can spend 10.80 Euros on the Mobilis take 10 or more trips and come out on top.

You can, of course, combine the Mobilis for a heavy travel day and then individual tickets or a Carnet for the other days.

Finally, there are some options to get passes for the museums plus transit. However, I don't know how much museum entries cost, so I can't indicate if they are a good deal or not.

Enjoy the city of lights!

Posted by GregW 02:10 Archived in France Tagged transportation Comments (1)

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