It seems so easy abroad

When I was in Paris last week, I picked up the freesheet paper on the Metro and buried in the middle of the paper was a small piece that attracted my attention. It was a report on the go-ahead being given for an extension of T3, the third tram line, which has proved a resounding success, exceeding the predicted 100,000 journeys per day. The cost was to be some 400 m euros.
What was amazing was the matter of fact way the story was presented. It was not the splash but a relatively small story on an inside page. The message was that transport improvements are routine and expected. Sure the decision followed a consultative process and the usual delays, but Paris seems always to have a couple of metro and tram lines on the go all the time. Sure, the situation in London is quite good at the moment, with schemes on Thameslink, East London Line, and the Docklands Light Railway, as well as Crossrail and the opening of the new station at St Pancras for Eurostars, but that seems to be more a matter of happenstance than any coherent strategy.

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