In Sweden, finally! It’s about -5 Celsius and snow. One might dread the complications that kind of weather might have on trains, but to one’s surprise the train I took from Copenhagen Airport to Lund was delayed for far worse reasons.
When it’s not snow, ice or wet leaves delaying trains, the people stand to represent the root cause to a logistical nightmare together with their partner in crime: Skånetrafiken, South Sweden’s equivalent to Transport of London (TFL).
However, where TFL succeeds in running more trains when rush hour is peaking, Skånetrafiken stands impotently on the side, watching herds of people with strollers and bags, cram into a train set, blatantly too short to meet the size of the crowd.
Watching it all go down – with a screaming ticket inspector ordering tourists with suitcases and massive backpacks and parents with prams to move down an already packed carriage in order to squeeze in even more mums with babies – you can only laugh at the madness.
In the middle of it all you wonder where the executives of Skånetrafiken are doing at that very moment? They are certainly not doing anything related to great customer service.
But it’s not only the lack of frequent trains or longer train sets, another issue is the clients. While Londoners have learned to together make things run fairly smooth by putting standing people to the right on the escalator and let others walk on the left side, this does not exist on the two sides of Öresund.
I don’t know the Danes’ excuse, but in the south of Sweden we are not cut out to do this. There’s a reason our region does not host a capital. We don’t do stress in the same way as big metroplolises. We don’t have a metro system. We are completely incapable of efficiently organise masses. We don’t understand that we have to move down the aisles, re-arrange ourselves in order to make things run smoothly and let people off the train before boarding.
Together with a paralysed public transport operator it’s a troublesome equation to solve, but somewhere between Malmö and Lund I ask myself when travelling with Skånetrafiken will become a pleasure?