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Poor transport

The question

Last week, rail commuters in South Africa became so fed up with delays and packed carriages that they set fire to the trains. What, if anything, has poor transport tempted or led you to do?

In 1993 I was working on London Underground's pumps and drainage renewal project as a graduate. Frustrated with long travel times, sweaty carriages and rude commuters, I found it was 15 minutes faster for me to cycle the 30-odd miles from Reigate to work near St Paul's than to catch the train to London Bridge or Victoria and walk or tube to work. This cycling was to stand me in good stead - two years later, I won the Botswana National Championships and went on to serve as the national coach for cycling in Botswana.

Since then, I've raced semi-pro in South Africa for a few seasons and last year completed my first Ironman triathlon. I suppose I have British Rail (Network South East - as it was) to thank.

Keith Fraser, 37, project manager, Muir of Ord The poor state of public transport has led me to consider using it only as a last resort.

Robert Pike, 43, project manager, Exeter When I lived in Yorkshire, t'bus timetables had two buses every two hours from t'end of our road. Even more annoying, they were 10 minutes apart, so you had either a wait of 10 or 110 minutes. The result was Shank's Pony and an enjoyable walk.

Andrew Worby, 56, Bath, civil engineer/solicitor Rather than burning trains, the public should change their vote and remove the politicians who fail to support investment in transport. Luckily for citizens in London, Brighton and Oxford, local politicians support public transport to the benefit of all.

Charles Brewerton, project engineer, Brighton Commuting on packed and late trains between Basingstoke and London, I once attempted to combine cycling and rail. On arrival the guard van with me and my bike in it had been locked, leading to shouts of 'please let me off'. I wrote complaining about the lateness and safety implications of large numbers of people standing on trains and was given some vouchers.

People should complain, as the numbers are monitored as performance indicators.

Nicholas Elsworth, 28, research engineer, Wokingham After five appalling journeys with a Dutch airline, it finally mislaid my bags. My request for a claim form was met with a wall of misinformation and statements contrary to international conventions and the Conditions of Carriage, as it tried to worm its way out of paying for a toothbrush. I referred the matter to my MEP, MP and the DTI, and I am now mounting a campaign against all things Dutch.

Julian Lord, 39, associate director, Bristol The over-emotional French habitually set fire to things to protest. It is their way. It is also, as you observe, the manner of some colonies. The correct British response, which I employ whenever necessary, is to write a stiff letter to The Telegraph.

Jon Balley, 55, water engineer, Bucks We had a bus service every 15 minutes from the village to the city, but competition now means two buses every half hour. So I'm back to using the car!

Bryan Stead, 59, independent consultant, Norfolk

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