Saturday, April 26, 2014

Italy is going down the train

I have taken a short trip through Italy, the first since a long time - 5 years at least.

A few shocking changes.

People in Rome look really dejected, sad and VERY aggressive. Services are very poor and neglected. I had to take bus number 90, I have been running right and left without finding the stop and asking 10 different people where the stop was... finally they show me a place, there was no sign of stop, but local residents knew that habitually the bus stops there....

I get the bus, after 10 minutes the bus stops and everybody gets off angry and insulting the driver and walking 100 meters to another stop.... it turns out that the bus had a failure and made an emergency stop, but no announce was done... people started also insulting each other, especially an old Italian man insulting a young black man...

People have become openly racist, they hate immigrants and have no moral restrain in insulting them.

Trains have become extremely expensive, almost all regional trains have been suppressed and replaced by high speed / high cost trains. This when the vast majority of the population struggles to make ends meet. Local trains are simply disgusting, VERY dirty and in a quite poor shape.

Some stations, like Torino Porta Susa, Milano Centrale and Bologna, who once upon a time were lovely, simple, enjoyable stations, have now turned into modern nightmares. They are a confusing labyrinth where you have to walk disproportionate distances to get to the trains, with hardly any signals, no benches to sit and wait, no services, no waiting room, everything very impersonal and unwelcoming.
This lack of infrastructure is intentional, to push the passengers towards the bars and shopping centers where they are supposed to consume. This is Hard Core Capitalism, baby.
Most platforms are underground, no natural light, just concrete and glass. Utterly depressing. There was stench of solvents, I could hardly breathe, I had to leave and wait in the upper floor.

more than in a train station, one would think he is in an airport... a VERY ugly one...

no plants, no art, no nothing, you are only left to contemplate this neo-fascist symbol of power, it feels like Nazi Germany 

They are not working at the High Speed train Torino-Lyon... needless to say it will be just a monstrous waste of public money to deliver a concrete energy-inefficient nightmare.
What Mussolini didn't manage to destroy, this Troika-run government is devastating fast and furious.

Needless to say, most of the times the trains - especially the local ones - were desperately late. From Torino to Roma I gave my seat to an old lady - overbooking, 86 seats for 110 tickets - and traveled 6 hours sitting on the floor.
The return trip, Rimini to Aosta, 530 Km in 8 hours for 86 Euros... call it High Speed... 20 years ago it was faster...

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