Greenpeace gives away free train tickets at airports across the UK

Posted by bex — 19 June 2007 at 8:46am - Comments

Campaigners offer free train tickets to travellers at Manchester airport

UPDATE (9.25am): The booths have now all been moved by security.

Over the past hour or so, impromptu ticket exchange booths have been appearing in airports across the UK.

Greenpeace volunteers (fetchingly dressed as stewards and stewardesses - pics here) have been offering BA passengers checking into domestic flights climate-friendly train tickets.

It's not just because we're generous souls - it's also because flying causes 10 times more damage to the climate than taking the train. And it's responsible for 13 per cent of the UK's impact on the climate (that's the government's own figures).

It's also the fastest growing source of emissions in the UK; between 1990 and 2050, emissions from aviation could quadruple, which scientists say could wipe out all other emissions savings we make in every other sector.

The main cause of this massive growth in the UK is the proliferation of short haul flights - often unnecessary domestic ones like the 30 or so a day between London and Manchester.

British Airways (despite its claims to be green) is one of the worst offenders, opening new and unnecessary domestic routes, fiercely opposing any measures that will curb growth in emissions, keeping a tight hold over government policy and lobbying hard for airport expansion.

You can find out more about aviation and climate change here.

And you can email BA's Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, asking him to ground unnecessary domestic UK flights on routes that are already well served by trains, and to end BA’s lobbying for more runways and bigger airports.


The pressure should be put on the Rail travel companies not the airlines. For me and my partner to get from Bristol to Edinburgh the rail companies charge £250 to £500 depending on type of ticket bought. It then takes 7 hours each way. Build better faster trains between the cities. Charge half the price and you will then see people flood onto the greener option.

To catch a plane on the same trip costs £99 and even with the wait before take off you get there in 3 hours. Train prices, comfort and speed are what stops people taking the train. Solve that and then you can lobby the airlines.

totally agree. how many people accepted your offer at the airports before you were kicked out? not many i assume. also, most areas have benefitted greatly from regional airlinks and some have no viable alternatives (N.ireland, cornwall, aberdeen etc) .

until there is a cost effective alternative (like high speed rail in Japan, Taiwan) which is affordable and efficient, the air will take the strain.

dont lobby train companies, lobby the government. the trains companies are profit inspired which should never have happened.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Flightscost/

I started a petition aout exactly this issue a few months back if you want cheaper trains and fewer planes you should sign it.
just click on the above link or copy it into your web browser

jethro

i wouldn't sign that petition. i don't think the answer is to make regional flights more expensive but to provide a proper alternative. flight booking is so easy, train booking is a nightmare. also, you have to look at the comfort factor. when you travel by plane, you know that when in the airport and on board the plane, the chances of being robbed, stabbed abused etc is much less than in a railway station or on a train. there is no security on trains and usually only staffed by one driver. station security doesn't do much for the confidence either. the rail system is totally disconnected, confusing, insecure and unsafe compared to flying.

sort the trains out, people will use them.

But if massive changes were to be made to the rail system, where would the money come from to fund them?
It would make much more sense to increase flight costs, providing even more reasons for people to use trains (ie, they would now be cheaper than planes) than increasing rail ticket costs, which would drive people away from rail.
That petition has my full support.

We completely agree that the rail service needs to be improved - we're calling for the government's subsidies to the aviation industry (billions of pounds, at the moment) to be transferred over to rail. We're calling for cheaper fares, higher capacity and better services for rail, and we're working with other groups lobbying for this.

Having said that, we also think it's important for Greenpeace to focus on aviation, to challenge its growth before it gets out of hand. There's an urgent need to cap the growth of aviation, before it wipes out our chances of tackling climate change. Challenging unnecessary domestic flights, where there is a good rail alternative, is an obvious place to start.

One of the routes we were giving out tickets for yesterday was Heathrow to Manchester, (there are over 30 flights a day between Manchester and Heathrow). The train tickets normally cost £59.50 for a two and-a-quarter hour journey; a BA walk-on ticket costs a lot more and, city centre to city centre, takes longer. There are actually quite a few domestic routes on which, outside of peak hours, getting the train is around the same price as (or cheaper than) flying and takes around the same amount of time, city centre to city centre.

But yes, there aren't nearly enough of those routes at the moment (and sorry to hear you don't live on one of them, GreenLiving!). With subsidies skewing things in favour of aviation, flying is obviously under-priced and rail transport is hugely over-priced at the moment, and there's a long way to go in improving the rail service.

Our campaign for capping aviation growth is working to this end - albeit from another angle than a campaign just working towards improved public transport. The aviation industry (particularly BA) has extremely close ties with government. BA fiercely opposes any measures that will curb growth in emissions. It's lobbying hard for airport expansion. It's launched new and completely unnecessary short haul domestic flights, like the one between Gatwick and Newquay - which is already amply served by other airlines and train lines that are 10 times less polluting.

And unfortunately, its demands are usually met – the government has actually left emissions from aviation out of its 2050 emissions targets so that aviation can keep growing unchecked.

(Chris Mullin, former minister responsible for aviation, has some telling things to say about the dodgy relationship between the aviation industry and government: "I learnt two things. First, that the demands of the aviation industry are insatiable. Second, those successive governments have usually given way to them. Although nowadays the industry pays lip-service to the notion of sustainability, its demands are essentially unchanged. It wants more of everything... airports, runways, terminals.")

That, and a lot of other factors, makes us think that unless someone intervenes, aviation will keep growing unsustainably (more runways, more flights, more routes) no matter how good public transport is. So we're intervening…

Wordily yrs,

bex
gpuk

"That, and a lot of other factors, makes us think that unless someone intervenes, aviation will keep growing unsustainably (more runways, more flights, more routes) no matter how good public transport is."

i disagree. the airlines will not keep adding routes if no-one is using them. if i can log on to a central website, book a train cheaper than a flight then i'll use it. and so will the majority of other people. i know this because this exact scenario has just occurred in taiwan. a high speed, efficient railway has opened and the airlines are hurting. the market will dictate this change.

http://news.monstersandcritics.com/business/news/article_1309907.php/Tai...

The high-speed rail has hurt the business of Taiwan's domestic air passenger service by about 40 per cent, forcing airlines to cancel some domestic routes or cut back on flights.

it is interesting to see that greenpeace has no reply to my last post.

I would like to add to it and hopefully provoke an answer?

from the outside view it seems that Greenpeace has some kind of vendetta against BA? British Airways have been cutting jobs and routes since 9/11.

November 30 2005 - British Airways has announced plans to re-structure the business and cut 35% (357) of its 1,715 management jobs by March 2008.

This includes:

A 50% reduction in senior managers - from 414 jobs to 207
A proposed 30% reduction in middle management jobs - from 1,301 to 911.

29.07.06

British Airways has announced it is pulling 84 staff out of Southampton Airport. The company is shutting its operations base at the airport and will axe its Glasgow route on 27 October this year.
Flightmapping August Newsletter - (07/08/2006); BA Connect scrap Belfast to Birmingham route - (03/08/2006); BA Connect axe seven routes - (07/07/2006)

i found all these on a 5 min internet search.
are there other motives in targeting BA?

Hi Gavin,

Sorry it has taken us a while to get back to you, we've been scrapping off the mud from Glastonbury - from ourselves and our laptops. Pitiful excuse I know, but we were feeling a bit traumatised by it all.

I think that everyone who has posted here about the need to improve rail service and other forms of public transport are absolutely right. I may be going against the grain of others in the organisation here, but you're right that without a solution we won’t really be able to stop the problem.

We often focus on the problem first, and leave the solutions to others, perhaps those in power, but it is clear that we need to offer a creditable and viable solution because our leaders aren’t leading. But with you and others pointing out the need for serious thinking and campaigning for the solutions I hope that will change.

I think we have done this successfully with our work on decentralised energy. But aviation is a brand new area of work for us and as I can see from all of the thoughtful and really helpful comments here, we still have some work to do before we’ve gotten the balance of fighting the problem and championing the solution right. While it is true we desperately need to cap the growth in air transport which is the fastest growing sector in terms of emissions, you’re right people do need an easy and affordable alternative if we are going to make a difference for the climate.

I will take your comments back to our planning teams and make sure that whenever we say that one thing should stop, we have a real alternative that will help us halt the worst effects of climate change. And hopefully you will see more on that here in the not too distant future.

Thanks for your input.

Tracy
gpuk

thanks for that,

i hope you can formulate a response to the increased air traffic faster than the european train companies....

2 July 2007

BRUSSELS (AP) - London to Frankfurt by train? It's possible, it can be as fast and as easy as flying and it's far better for the environment, a group of European high-speed rail companies claimed Monday.

Eurostar, Germany's Deutsche Bahn AG and France's SNCF joined Dutch, Austrian, Swiss and Belgian train companies to form a rail alliance, Railteam, that aims to make international train bookings far easier and simpler.

They want to attract at least 25 million travellers by 2010 - 10 million more than now - taking a 5 percent chunk out of the short-haul airline market by promoting four-hour business trips and up to six-hour leisure journeys across western Europe.

They said rail travel can and will compete with low-fare airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet that have revolutionised European travel by encouraging people to fly more often and take weekend trips away.

Lower-stress, lower carbon emission rail journeys are already attracting people away from airlines, they claim, after extra security checks lengthened lines at airports.

Eurostar, which runs trains from London to Paris and Brussels, said it already saw a 39 percent jump in sales of tickets that connect its services to French high-speed services that bring travellers to the Mediterranean and the Alps.

It said more corporate clients have been asking them to compare the carbon footprint of train travel and have calculated that their trains, on average, release 10 times less CO2 than flying. Eurostar is also aiming to make its trains carbon neutral, offsetting emissions that it can't reduce.

The western European high-speed rail network already links 100 cities and 120 million people in the region but many travellers are unaware that they can travel abroad by train - and many are unable to find information on rail links, prices and bookings outside their own country.

Railteam aims to change that - but slowly. From 2009, it plans to offer point-to-point tickets that could be bought over the Internet. Timetables will be sent by text message. If travellers miss a connection, their tickets will let them take the next available train.

2009!!!! can u believe it???

That's slower than a train driver's egg sandwich. There was a big travel piece in the Guardian earlier in the year which I'm sure mentioned something happening a lot sooner, but I can't track it down on their site. Maybe the launch date has been put back, but there's plenty of train travel advice on The Man in Seat Sixty-One for those who can't wait that long.

web editor
gpuk

checkout cheap train tickets guide, its so much cheaper than a flight and more eco friendly, nobody can complain about a £2.50 train ticket from london to manchester, this is what I got!

The pressure should be put on the Rail travel companies not the airlines. For me and my partner to get from Bristol to Edinburgh the rail companies charge £250 to £500 depending on type of ticket bought. It then takes 7 hours each way. Build better faster trains between the cities. Charge half the price and you will then see people flood onto the greener option. To catch a plane on the same trip costs £99 and even with the wait before take off you get there in 3 hours. Train prices, comfort and speed are what stops people taking the train. Solve that and then you can lobby the airlines.

totally agree. how many people accepted your offer at the airports before you were kicked out? not many i assume. also, most areas have benefitted greatly from regional airlinks and some have no viable alternatives (N.ireland, cornwall, aberdeen etc) . until there is a cost effective alternative (like high speed rail in Japan, Taiwan) which is affordable and efficient, the air will take the strain. dont lobby train companies, lobby the government. the trains companies are profit inspired which should never have happened.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Flightscost/ I started a petition aout exactly this issue a few months back if you want cheaper trains and fewer planes you should sign it. just click on the above link or copy it into your web browser jethro

i wouldn't sign that petition. i don't think the answer is to make regional flights more expensive but to provide a proper alternative. flight booking is so easy, train booking is a nightmare. also, you have to look at the comfort factor. when you travel by plane, you know that when in the airport and on board the plane, the chances of being robbed, stabbed abused etc is much less than in a railway station or on a train. there is no security on trains and usually only staffed by one driver. station security doesn't do much for the confidence either. the rail system is totally disconnected, confusing, insecure and unsafe compared to flying. sort the trains out, people will use them.

But if massive changes were to be made to the rail system, where would the money come from to fund them? It would make much more sense to increase flight costs, providing even more reasons for people to use trains (ie, they would now be cheaper than planes) than increasing rail ticket costs, which would drive people away from rail. That petition has my full support.

We completely agree that the rail service needs to be improved - we're calling for the government's subsidies to the aviation industry (billions of pounds, at the moment) to be transferred over to rail. We're calling for cheaper fares, higher capacity and better services for rail, and we're working with other groups lobbying for this. Having said that, we also think it's important for Greenpeace to focus on aviation, to challenge its growth before it gets out of hand. There's an urgent need to cap the growth of aviation, before it wipes out our chances of tackling climate change. Challenging unnecessary domestic flights, where there is a good rail alternative, is an obvious place to start. One of the routes we were giving out tickets for yesterday was Heathrow to Manchester, (there are over 30 flights a day between Manchester and Heathrow). The train tickets normally cost £59.50 for a two and-a-quarter hour journey; a BA walk-on ticket costs a lot more and, city centre to city centre, takes longer. There are actually quite a few domestic routes on which, outside of peak hours, getting the train is around the same price as (or cheaper than) flying and takes around the same amount of time, city centre to city centre. But yes, there aren't nearly enough of those routes at the moment (and sorry to hear you don't live on one of them, GreenLiving!). With subsidies skewing things in favour of aviation, flying is obviously under-priced and rail transport is hugely over-priced at the moment, and there's a long way to go in improving the rail service. Our campaign for capping aviation growth is working to this end - albeit from another angle than a campaign just working towards improved public transport. The aviation industry (particularly BA) has extremely close ties with government. BA fiercely opposes any measures that will curb growth in emissions. It's lobbying hard for airport expansion. It's launched new and completely unnecessary short haul domestic flights, like the one between Gatwick and Newquay - which is already amply served by other airlines and train lines that are 10 times less polluting. And unfortunately, its demands are usually met – the government has actually left emissions from aviation out of its 2050 emissions targets so that aviation can keep growing unchecked. (Chris Mullin, former minister responsible for aviation, has some telling things to say about the dodgy relationship between the aviation industry and government: "I learnt two things. First, that the demands of the aviation industry are insatiable. Second, those successive governments have usually given way to them. Although nowadays the industry pays lip-service to the notion of sustainability, its demands are essentially unchanged. It wants more of everything... airports, runways, terminals.") That, and a lot of other factors, makes us think that unless someone intervenes, aviation will keep growing unsustainably (more runways, more flights, more routes) no matter how good public transport is. So we're intervening… Wordily yrs, bex gpuk

"That, and a lot of other factors, makes us think that unless someone intervenes, aviation will keep growing unsustainably (more runways, more flights, more routes) no matter how good public transport is." i disagree. the airlines will not keep adding routes if no-one is using them. if i can log on to a central website, book a train cheaper than a flight then i'll use it. and so will the majority of other people. i know this because this exact scenario has just occurred in taiwan. a high speed, efficient railway has opened and the airlines are hurting. the market will dictate this change. http://news.monstersandcritics.com/business/news/article_1309907.php/Tai... The high-speed rail has hurt the business of Taiwan's domestic air passenger service by about 40 per cent, forcing airlines to cancel some domestic routes or cut back on flights.

it is interesting to see that greenpeace has no reply to my last post. I would like to add to it and hopefully provoke an answer? from the outside view it seems that Greenpeace has some kind of vendetta against BA? British Airways have been cutting jobs and routes since 9/11. November 30 2005 - British Airways has announced plans to re-structure the business and cut 35% (357) of its 1,715 management jobs by March 2008. This includes: A 50% reduction in senior managers - from 414 jobs to 207 A proposed 30% reduction in middle management jobs - from 1,301 to 911. 29.07.06 British Airways has announced it is pulling 84 staff out of Southampton Airport. The company is shutting its operations base at the airport and will axe its Glasgow route on 27 October this year. Flightmapping August Newsletter - (07/08/2006); BA Connect scrap Belfast to Birmingham route - (03/08/2006); BA Connect axe seven routes - (07/07/2006) i found all these on a 5 min internet search. are there other motives in targeting BA?

Hi Gavin, Sorry it has taken us a while to get back to you, we've been scrapping off the mud from Glastonbury - from ourselves and our laptops. Pitiful excuse I know, but we were feeling a bit traumatised by it all. I think that everyone who has posted here about the need to improve rail service and other forms of public transport are absolutely right. I may be going against the grain of others in the organisation here, but you're right that without a solution we won’t really be able to stop the problem. We often focus on the problem first, and leave the solutions to others, perhaps those in power, but it is clear that we need to offer a creditable and viable solution because our leaders aren’t leading. But with you and others pointing out the need for serious thinking and campaigning for the solutions I hope that will change. I think we have done this successfully with our work on decentralised energy. But aviation is a brand new area of work for us and as I can see from all of the thoughtful and really helpful comments here, we still have some work to do before we’ve gotten the balance of fighting the problem and championing the solution right. While it is true we desperately need to cap the growth in air transport which is the fastest growing sector in terms of emissions, you’re right people do need an easy and affordable alternative if we are going to make a difference for the climate. I will take your comments back to our planning teams and make sure that whenever we say that one thing should stop, we have a real alternative that will help us halt the worst effects of climate change. And hopefully you will see more on that here in the not too distant future. Thanks for your input. Tracy gpuk

thanks for that, i hope you can formulate a response to the increased air traffic faster than the european train companies.... 2 July 2007 BRUSSELS (AP) - London to Frankfurt by train? It's possible, it can be as fast and as easy as flying and it's far better for the environment, a group of European high-speed rail companies claimed Monday. Eurostar, Germany's Deutsche Bahn AG and France's SNCF joined Dutch, Austrian, Swiss and Belgian train companies to form a rail alliance, Railteam, that aims to make international train bookings far easier and simpler. They want to attract at least 25 million travellers by 2010 - 10 million more than now - taking a 5 percent chunk out of the short-haul airline market by promoting four-hour business trips and up to six-hour leisure journeys across western Europe. They said rail travel can and will compete with low-fare airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet that have revolutionised European travel by encouraging people to fly more often and take weekend trips away. Lower-stress, lower carbon emission rail journeys are already attracting people away from airlines, they claim, after extra security checks lengthened lines at airports. Eurostar, which runs trains from London to Paris and Brussels, said it already saw a 39 percent jump in sales of tickets that connect its services to French high-speed services that bring travellers to the Mediterranean and the Alps. It said more corporate clients have been asking them to compare the carbon footprint of train travel and have calculated that their trains, on average, release 10 times less CO2 than flying. Eurostar is also aiming to make its trains carbon neutral, offsetting emissions that it can't reduce. The western European high-speed rail network already links 100 cities and 120 million people in the region but many travellers are unaware that they can travel abroad by train - and many are unable to find information on rail links, prices and bookings outside their own country. Railteam aims to change that - but slowly. From 2009, it plans to offer point-to-point tickets that could be bought over the Internet. Timetables will be sent by text message. If travellers miss a connection, their tickets will let them take the next available train. 2009!!!! can u believe it???

That's slower than a train driver's egg sandwich. There was a big travel piece in the Guardian earlier in the year which I'm sure mentioned something happening a lot sooner, but I can't track it down on their site. Maybe the launch date has been put back, but there's plenty of train travel advice on The Man in Seat Sixty-One for those who can't wait that long. web editor gpuk

checkout cheap train tickets guide, its so much cheaper than a flight and more eco friendly, nobody can complain about a £2.50 train ticket from london to manchester, this is what I got!

I travel all the time around Europe and always use the train.  It is cheaper if you book in advance, and is always the greener option to flying.  As a keen taveller, it also adds to the adventure! 

As we are all in favour of greener travel, you should use www.raileurope.co.uk like I do.  It offers the most extensive range of train tickets throughout Europe - with easily over 200 different destinations.  It is invaluable for the keen green traveller.

Steve

Follow Greenpeace UK