• Sweden's news in English

Social Democrats propose 'metro butlers'

TT/The Local · 16 Aug 2010, 11:47

Published: 16 Aug 2010 11:47 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The party's Ilijan Batljan and Carin Jämtin wrote that Stockholmers feel they have too little time to love, laugh and play with their children. As such, they propose introducing collective workday services in public transit operator SL's premises.

Among other things, Stockholmers would be able to order and pick up their groceries, leave their dirty laundry and receive household help from an agency offering various errands.

"It is about using our common areas better and ensuring that public services are more accessible," said opposition city commissioner Jämtin.

The city, which owns SL's premises, determines which private companies can obtain operating contracts. The proposed services are expected to vary across the different stations according to the passengers' needs.

"Some will do business in existing facilities that are currently kiosks, but there are also some rooms that are empty," said Jämtin. "Outside the inner city, we imagine we would build new small rooms above ground."

Story continues below…

SL operates 2.5 million trips on an average day, with the average trip taking 38 minutes. Many passengers have moved to Stockholm from other parts of the country and lack social networks in the form of grandparents and other relatives who can help and make daily life easier.

Batljan and Jämtin also want to expand broadband across the public transport network so that Stockholmers can work during their trips, build more and larger parking areas near stations and ensure that new daycares are built near public transportation access points.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:30 August 16, 2010 by StockholmSam
Jesus Christ this is ridiculous. First, Sahlin slams Reinfeldt's proposal to lower income taxes and now her party proposes that the state spend that tax money on services that are non-essential and, in all honesty, frivolous?? This falls in the realm of capitalism, not socialism...if there is a demand for such services, let a private entrepreneur supply the market and let those who want to pay for it do so. I was a solid Social Democrat but this is the last straw. With a long line of recent ridiculous proposals obviously designed to sway votes without consideration for the long-term bureaucratic labyrinth they would create, I am tempted to vote M this time around. Sahlin's team is an embarrassment to Sweden.
13:01 August 16, 2010 by jeffi_in_denmark
This is quite funny. How about parents go home first, take their kids out of two activities per week and spend quality time with them that way? Oh, taking your children shopping with you is also a good family activity. Concerierge service at Central is just something for spoiled, overpaid, gimme gimme where's my stuff societites. Swedes are better than that :-)
13:26 August 16, 2010 by Marley420
Now I know which party not to vote for!
13:49 August 16, 2010 by Tennin
O.o is this a joke???
14:21 August 16, 2010 by pjtaipale
Is it possible to raise one's eyebrows to the ceiling?

Anyway, a quite funny proposal.
15:15 August 16, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
There is no end to what socialism can do for YOU! We have these kinds of businesses in the US, they are called "courier services".
15:20 August 16, 2010 by Craptastical
This doesn't appear to be S saying "we'll do your laundry for you for free, it's your taxes at work", it seems that they're proposing to make space available in/on SL property for these types of services to be made available *for a fee* and run *as private businesses*. For USians, think of this more along the lines of easing zoning restrictions to allow certain types of businesses located and in specific areas (ie, having a neighborhood dry cleaner is allowed, but not a gas station in certain parts of a neighborhood).

For those of you who still don't get why having someone do the laundry would be a big deal (to me included)... Many apartments here don't have a washer or dryer inside the apartment. Instead, you have to book a time to use the building's laundry room. Keep in mind that you're having to compete with others who live in the building for the open time slots. It's not unheard of that people occasionally have to take time off of work just so that they can take care of laundry because that's the only time that was available. In essence all they're proposing is something like dropping your clothes etc off at the dry cleaners, except they'll handle normal laundry as well, and of course the individual would pay for the services.

Now I'm most definitely not a supporter of S, but this is the type of thing that definitely would make my life much easier especially due to the lack of things like laundromats (ie throw your money in the machine day or night and wait for it to finish).
15:23 August 16, 2010 by Swedesmith
If this is such a a good idea, some enterprising person could open such a business. I don't understand why the government has to get involved.
15:25 August 16, 2010 by Craptastical
@Swedesmith: The gov't owns the areas which they would/could operate. Nowhere have I read that the gov't would operate those businesses, but they would make that space available to those kinds of businesses. I'm sure that whatever private business occupies that space would still be expected to lease the property.
15:43 August 16, 2010 by Beavis
What a great use of the higher taxes we will have to pay under this insanse b*tch! Thousands of people will loose their jobs.All those cleaners and tradsepoeple on the dole,.With reduced working hours (and 20% reduced pay)for everyone. But there will state paid butlers on the f**ig metros to serve those overpaid useless public servants like bag woman, cos thats all thats going to be left with any income!

Make sure these idiots dont get in in September!
15:47 August 16, 2010 by StockholmSam
""It is about using our common areas better and ensuring that public services are more accessible," said opposition city commissioner Jämtin."

Laundry service, grocery pick-up, and errand-running are not public services, nor should they be! These should be businesses run by private citizens.
15:49 August 16, 2010 by Craptastical
I'm amazed at some of the comments here. For some reason people are reading this as "the government will use your taxes to wash your clothes", and that's not at all what this is about. Again, it's about making *space available* for these kinds of businesses to operate. If anything, the gov't would make money off of this in the end through the leases with the private businesses (replace "lease" with "rent" if "lease" doesn't fall into your vocab).
16:15 August 16, 2010 by Craptastical
It seems that TLs article is trying to translate the article from SvD (http://www.svd.se/nyheter/inrikes/s-vill-ha-tunnelbanebutler_5139595.svd).

About what they're proposing, here it is in Swedish (from SvD):

"– Förslaget är självfinansierat, det här är bara ett sätt att mer effektivt använda skattebetalarnas pengar. Lokalerna äger vi redan och många av dem står outnyttjade, säger lIija Batljan till SvD.se."

Translated into English it is:

"The proposal is self-financed. This is just a way to more effectively use the taxpayers money. Many of the areas we already own are unused"

Let's say you have an empty plot of land where lots of people pass by everyday to and from work. The plan is to take that space and make it available for a certain type of business rather than remain empty. This also goes for already existing areas which are not occupied.

Now as far as the butler part is concerned, here's the quote in Swedish:

"likt conciergeservice på många större flygplatser"

Here's the English translation:

"Like a concierge service in many of the big airports"

S's big mistake with this is that they'e trying to glam this up. All it is doing is making it possible for private businesses to operate in areas that they aren't already in. That's a common problem for S though, they have some serious communication issues (it will probably hit them hard in September).

Now here's the quote from M, and it is an important one (like the others, from the SvD article):

"De vill bara slippa diskutera att de vill slopa rut. Att släppa in privata aktörer i tunnelbanan håller SL redan på med och vi har redan tagit in biblioteket i tunnelbanan så det här är inget nytt, säger Sten Nordin till SvD.se."

In English:

"They (S) are just trying to avoid discussing their wish to abolish RUT. Letting private businesses in the metro is already being done by SL and we have already taken in a library in the metro so this is nothing new."

Now this is interesting, and it raises a very good point (and something I forgot about). There already is at least one dry cleaner in the metro, it's somewhere along the red line on the way to Ropsten in the middle of the platform. Does anyone know if this is widely used? I remember thinking "if only this was at the station close to where I live and they did regular laundry I would use it all the time".
16:27 August 16, 2010 by alingsaskev
According to OECD figures Swedes work on average 1316 per annum which is fairly low by European Standards (Greece 1811, Spain 1745, UK 1652 and Eire 1541). Coupled with ample holiday allowances, "Mummy" and "Daddy days", etc. I would have thought that most Stockholmers could cope with doing their shopping and laundry unaided!
17:13 August 16, 2010 by Åskar

Laundry service, grocery pick-up, and errand-running are not public services, nor should they be! These should be businesses run by private citizens.

And if you cared to read the article before you get a knee jerk reaction you'd understand that this is what it's all about.
17:22 August 16, 2010 by Audrian
This is an elitist idea meant to serve a few client groups. It is inequitable because it is suggested to be financed from tax money.

If parents do not have time for their children it is because of the changes capitalism has undergone since the end of 1960s. Married women were housewives in 1960s. As wage became expensive, corporations encouraged women to join the labor force. The lower the real wage became the need for both parents to work became inevitable. Today parents work full time and sometimes over time. Those in living suburb spend about two hours per day driving to and from their work place. By the time they come home in the evening it is late. They are too tired even to cook.

The suggestion by the above mentioned politician is window-dressing. It is not meant to solve the fundamental problem of the labor market.

This is my suggestion. Educate Swedish people to cut down on unnecessary and wasteful consumption, e.g., not to eat in excess, buy and buy consumer goods in the hope that they catch up with the trend that models and film stars create. As with cigarette, advertisement of all types should be abolished. In its place information campaign should focus on announcing the existence of essential services rather than make people eat and eat, consume and consume. Once this is done people can survive with five hours of work per day. Both women and men will join the labor market, without being oppressed by it. This policy will put plenty of leisure time in their hands! Good also for mother nature!

The problem with this suggestion is that corporations, which will not like it, will call it socialism. What a pity!
19:24 August 16, 2010 by stateohio905
How many other nonsenses we are already paying for through taxes?????Are we going to live in kibbutz or .......????????????
19:24 August 16, 2010 by Byggare Bob
RUT is also "self-financed" but some reason that is beyond the pail of what is acceptable - I, for one, am struggling to establish why.
20:11 August 16, 2010 by Jes
I am waiting for some party to suggest that railway transport fares should be reduced by 50% . It does not make sense that a 12 hour bus/ train ticket in London area costs the same as a one hour ticket in Stockholm area .

This "metro butler" thing is not something that will improve movement in the city or encourage drivers to leave their private cars at home .

First things first !
20:30 August 16, 2010 by wifey
They are obviously bored and have wild imaginations and fantasies...just like children :-)
21:14 August 16, 2010 by voiceofreason
Many of these career politicians have never run a business or worked for a private enterprise. What do they know about wealth creation.

They are happy spending other people's money and making promises on the change that's left.
22:23 August 16, 2010 by Syftfel
Is this for real? I hope they do the Lidingö trolley as well! Can I drop off my laundry at the Larsberg stop?
22:29 August 16, 2010 by wxman
I don't know about the rest of you, but something I think we all need is more government intervention into our pathetic lives to make things both better and easier! We're fortunate that so many have their own lives in order such that they can devote more time to assisting the rest of us. What would we do without them??
22:59 August 16, 2010 by greeksvensson
Here you are: t-bana butler
00:38 August 17, 2010 by loddfafnir
Why is it only 08's who have "too little time", while the rest of us seem to manage somehow? Stockholm might be where the population is, but the real work is done elsewhere! Get organized and get over it.
01:55 August 17, 2010 by soultraveler3
I honestly don't understand why people have such a problem with this. The government doesn't need to be involved true, but if you read the article all they're talking about is allowing more services that are privately run, to be available to people using the t-bana. What's wrong with that?

Before moving to Sweden, I used to drop off my laundry once a week on my way to work, it was great to just stop by on the way home and pick them up. I don't even have children or anything like that, it's just nice to not have to spend 4 hours a week on something so mundane.

To those saying that it's just spoiled people being lazy I'd like to offer up an alternative pov. I worked 40+ hours per week at my regular job, taught karate a few nights a week, worked out an average of 2 hours everyday, made time for friends and hobbies etc. Alot of younger people enjoy a similar lifestyle, it has nothing to due with laziness, being spoiled or anything else like that, we just have different priorities that take up our time.
10:21 August 17, 2010 by insect

That clip is hilarious esp when he is trying to polish the sportshoes.

(tounge in cheek) I think Mona is just staying ahead of the game by trying to create Nyamkos (suggested) low paying jobs. She must have been given an advance copy of the book before it hit the shelves. hahaha
11:38 August 17, 2010 by NickM
Haha, all the right wingers on here make me laugh that pretend they "were" social democrats but now won't vote for them. A rather crude way to try and swing votes in favor of the right.

I don't see anything wrong with proposals that aim to help people rather than destroy them. If you right wingers think the private sector would decide to build new kindergatans near metro stations, then you're having a laugh.

It has no interest in the public good - it has interest in the public's pockets.
12:54 August 17, 2010 by markusd
@soultraveler3 , "I honestly don't understand why people have such a problem with this. The government doesn't need to be involved true, but if you read the article all they're talking about is allowing more services that are privately run, to be available to people using the t-bana. What's wrong with that?"

I don't think most people would have a problem with this idea if it only involved private businesses coming in to provide additional services. Personally, I think that's great.

Based on the article, however, it sounds like these politicians, who probably have little entrepreneurial or small business experience, want to influence the kinds of businesses that occupy the spaces. The politicians probably looked at their own needs ("I need a metro butler to run errands and pick up my groceries") and extrapolated a solution for the general population while all the commenters here probably read this and quickly determine that they don't want or will never use such a service for a variety of reasons. In general, the decision as to which type of business will offer the most benefit to travelers is better left to entrepreneurs who only have their own money to lose if they are wrong.
22:31 August 17, 2010 by aaww
don't get fooled by the socialist, remember, this is election year and all publicities are good publicity. what ever they say, keep quiet and use your vote.
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available