Feb 25, 2009

The Inconveniences of Being a Geneva Citizen

- Part I : Public Transportation -

Geneva is a lovely place to live. It provides, for a town of so small size, tremendously many interesting job opportunities, a pretty decent night and cultural life. It is placed in a very handy location attached to an awesome lake and nearby mountains that invite to plenty summer and winter outdoor activities. Even flight and train connections are pretty well. However, the beautiful panorama across lake Geneva, despite the jet d’eau, is topped by the one in Lausanne and Montreux. Nevertheless, I agree with the rankings that put Geneva as one of the towns with the highest quality of life.

The only thing that makes me go crazy about this place is the way in which politics has failed in so many ways to make this a truly perfect place. Sometimes, I get the impression that wherever the state intervened it caused more harm than good. Here, I am thinking of potentially everything the state of Geneva is involved in: from public and individual transportation over housing to opening hours.

For today let me start with a rather harmless issue: Public Transportation within the city.

The first point regards the ticket machines. Often you arrive at the tram when it is about to leave and have no more time to take a ticket. A serious dilemma for the honest beneath us. Why can ticket machines not exist in trams? It would even lead to savings rather than extra costs, since the town would just need to remove the (useless) second machine that exists at most tram stops and save people time and hence money.

The second point regards the fact that using a bicycle brings you faster form A to B compared to the public means (and according to PL also using a skateboard). This has two reasons, The first is difficult to tackle: Tram Stops tend to be too close to each other. The second is easier to tackle: Public transportation should have a higher priority before ordinary cars, making public transportation faster and hence more preferable.

I am not even going to discuss the fact that ticket machines give no change (the ridiculous solution that was implemented recently is even more of a joke).


7 comments:

Dany said...

I think they want as most people as possible to have an abonnement... or just turists to pay in the machines (they (us) have fan trying to get the ticket...)

Pierre-Louis said...

"Public transportation should have a higher priority before ordinary cars, making public transportation faster and hence more preferable."

This is definetely already the case...with all the reserved buy lanes...I mean driving in geneva is the worst experience ever, it takes an hour to go somewhere it would have taken you 20 minutes wallking...

but maybe you want it even more extreme!

I think it should be free for geneva residents...paid by a tax on large vehicles (the rich)!

Dany said...

last year was a plebiscite about free TPG supported by the communists (http://www.lescommunistes.org/spip.php?article595) ... and the answer was a clear NO... why? I think people believed, probably rightly, that this would imply a worst service and less investment in extensions and new buses....

Laura said...

it would help a lot if they developed a smarter sincronization of the lights in this city..many times it is red for the pedestrian, the tram and the cars all at the same time! everybody just waiting...

Katya said...

man, you are spoiled. i think the transportation system is fine. much better than probably 90% of the globe.

cosimo said...

Let's start a discussion about housing subsidies. If you're lucky enough and you do not make "enough" money, you can get subsidized flats that outweigh in terms of quality the standard ones and are significantly cheaper. I am too "rich" to get an HLM, so I have to leave in a crappy flat or spend 1/3 of my salary to get a decent one.
I am totally in favor of the abolition of housing subsidies, all flats should be on the same bloody market where the price is determined by supply and demand, and subsidies should be given to income (if at all).

Sebastian said...

i agree on most points. in fact i thought of part II being about housing