Ukraine’s New Hundai Trains

So, I recently took a trip on them, Kyiv to Lviv. Five hours instead of over-night.

I like that you’re not forced in a strange union, sitting on bunk beds with strangers in a private cabin. I love the free electricity, the comfort, the modernity — sliding class doors, nice seats that face forward, windows that you can look through without having to lean awkwardly.

These new trains are over staffed compared to European ones. Of course, it’s impossible to tell who is doing it correctly without a more competitive free market for transportation, but I suspect that like most of Ukraine’s government endeavors, the trains have way too many employees. There’s someone assigned to each car. There are two people taking a cart of snacks through the train (which I love). There’s another lady whose only job seems to be passing through and collecting garbage twice during the five hour trip.

In other rail news, they’ve been requiring identification both for purchase of tickets and for boarding which slows things down a lot and increases the level of stupidity. Sadly, most Ukrainians aren’t very good at standing in line, and government institutions will never, ever think to invest in any sort of crowd control. So boarding a train is even more of a mob scene than usual because the gate keeper has to check everybody’s id.