LYON INDERGROUND— It’s not so much about the system, but more about the institutions that create its simplicity and seamlessness. The underground in Lyon, or rail ways in France generally have gone and are going through a huge deregulatory spirit. Liberalization means that the market is being opened up for other players beyond the government to participate. This is not Paris with 7 million or so inhabitants. This is Lyon, with just over 1 million people. By design, it’s a third of Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. Which is an advantage—there’s a calmness about the railway, tram service, housing and bike sharing. The first thing that’s profoundly noticeable is the way the size of the station fits around the train itself. Boarding happens within about 60 seconds, and the train actually has a driver. There are lines that are automated. For a trip that could take 2.5-3km ok the surface it costs about €1.2 for the 1.5km underground with only 5-10min of waiting, or less (we never waited for a train actually). The average speed here ranges between 60 km/h and 90 km/h— it felt more like 70 something to me—just for moving between stops. I’ll find out.
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