Archive for the ‘transport’ Category

Puccino’s Stevenage Station

March 23, 2023

Wednesday a week ago, train journey Gatwick Airport to Lincoln via Stevenage.

Whilst waiting at Stevenage, where it was very cold compared with Gatwick, I popped into the waiting room to get out of the cold.

The waiting room was also a Puccino’s kiosk.

I ordered a cappuccino. It was undrinkable.

Gatwick to Lincoln by train

March 22, 2023

Wednesday of last week, after landing at Gatwick the evening before and staying overnight at Premier Inn, train Gatwick to Lincoln via Stevenage. A new route for me.

Nightmare booking the tickets on-line the night before, to then collect the tickets from a ticket machine.

Gatwick has no ticket office.

A long queue at the ticket machines.

Website and tickets said train 1049. Train departed from Gatwick Airport at 1046.

Passes through London Bridge, St Pancras International then on to Stevenage where change for LNER Azuma to Lincoln.

At Stevenage, fellow passenger, do you not want Stevenage? We are at Stevenage. I thanked her, grabbed my stuff and jumped off the train.

Stevenage very cold compared with Gatwick.

Waiting room was also a little kiok. Coffee undrinkable.

On LNER train I explained to pig ignorant fat female guard their website not fit for purpose and have wrong train times. She did not want to know.

Later the guard changed. A pleasant black female. I explained again. She said she would raise with LNER.

As far as Grantham, a lovely Bengladeshi girl manning the buffet.

At Lincoln, a not very good cappuccino from 200 Degrees. But at least drinkable, unlike the undrinkable coffee at the kiosk Stevenage.

LNER ticket nightmare

March 21, 2023

Gatwick Airport has no ticket office at Gatwick Airport Station. Second busiest airport in the country, a very busy train station (currently undergoing expansion, and no ticket office.

This left me with no choice Tuesday evening of last week than to try and book on-line.

Several attempts, half an hour later, and I find I have paid for two sets of tickets, full price and Rail Card discount.

Now second nightmare , I am engaged with a robot. I ask for a human being. After several times of asking, I am told the office is closed.

And to add insult to injury, I am told to collect my tickets from the ticket office.

I try twitter. I am told to cancel my ticket. This I succeed, after a couple of attempts.

If I have to collect my tickets from a ticket machine, I may as well buy from the machine.

I head off to Gatwick South Terminal to use a machine.

I ask a pig-ignorant Indian by the name of Harold who is incapable of speaking intelligible English to operate the machine. He refuses. He refuses to help other passengers who speak his help.

Back into the terminal building, I once again battle with the LNER website. I can find no option for Railcard. I pay full price

Back to the station, battle with the ticket machine, and manage to extract three tickets.

Had I paid for my tickets at a ticket office, it would have taken mea couple of minutes.

Next morning when I go to catch my train, I find a long queue at the ticket machines.

The time shown for the train 1046. My ticket and the website 1049.

Coco Mat wooden bicycle phone charger

March 19, 2023

A few years ago, I used to see Coco Mat wooden bicycles around Athens, even copies of. Not anymore, other than at Coco Mat Hotel and The Place.

Tuesday afternoon, a third location, Athens International Airport for phone charging.

But if for publicity, the wrong location, boarding gates for leaving the country.

Aggressive abusive behaviour by bus passenger

December 3, 2022

1815 No 1 Stagecoach bus Aldershot to Camberley via Farnborough, two stops into the journey, two passengers boarded the bus, ignored the driver, sat down in front seats on the left, refused to pay.

Driver ordered them off the bus, the bus would not move until they left the bus, called the police.

Man who female passenger called Dave became increasingly aggressive and abusive, swore and hurled racial abuse at the driver, threatened to smash in the face of a female passenger who was shouting at the pair to leave the bus.

Dave claimed he had a bus pass, though failed to produce one. Female companion admitted she had no bus pass.

Driver said the pair had pulled this stunt two days previous .

The altercation went on for around fifteen minutes. The pair got off the bus, but not before Dave shouted more abuse, threatened to smash in the face of a female passenger and to track her down to where she lived and beat her up.

When I alighted from the bus I asked the driver to call his depot to report the incident and to warn other drivers of the pair.

Lincoln Central RMT train strike

July 27, 2022

I thought I would join the RMT picket line outside Lincoln Central train station.

There was no RMT picket line. Lincoln Central was closed, no trains.

I guess if station closed, no trains, no need for a picket line, if can deploy resources elsewhere.

But I would argue there is a need to have a presence, to explain their case and counter government propaganda.

Travelling into across and out of London during coronavirus pandemic

October 4, 2021

LNER Azuma into King’s Cross, luckily not busy, but I was one of the few passengers actually wearing a mask.

Outside King’s Cross Station, Black Sheep Coffee shop, never seen before. Not too cold, a mild evening, take a break and have a coffee. They were closing and yet it was not late, not yet yet eight o’clock. I was offered Robusta. You got to be kidding me.

I learnt from an Italian guy bringing in the tables that it was a chain, all over London.

The only reason I walked in I saw their equipment. They had good equipment, always a good sign.

Lady manning barrier at King’s Cross advised I travelled via Oxford Circus, Victoria Line to Oxford Circus, then Bakerloo Line to Waterloo. The reason for this advice, apart from quicker, was that I only had to cross the platform, whereas via Leicester Square I have to negotiate steps.

What struck me was how decrepit the London Underground, and the sparsity of information. In the past there was as enter the platform, opposite the route. Nada. Nor could I find a map pf the system. This is very basic.

Tube not busy, though not deserted as last few tines have passed through London. Only half the passengers wearing masks. To wear a mask is mandatory on Transport for London. Why is it not being enforced?

Waterloo, South Western Railway to Portsmouth. These are usually short trains. I was pleasantly surprised to find a long train of at east ten coaches. This is a marked improvement. The train not busy. Only a tiny minority wearing a mask.

I was very very lucky I passed through London when I did. London was later hit by a heavy downpour, flash flooding, with parts of the London Underground flooded.

GWR takes on the Jerusalema Dance Challenge

September 12, 2021

Incredible performance at Paddington Station.

The dance challenge originated with a group of kids in Angola, and Oh My God can they move.

This has has gone viral around the world.

Music written by South African DJ Master KG.

The original DJ Master KG video has racked up an astounding 444 million views.

Failure to notify change of bus route

September 1, 2020

For six months a diversion, instead of ten minutes into Lincoln thirty minutes, whilst a roundabout under construction.

Today, an hour late into town, no bus stop, temporary bus stop vanished. What did this mean, back to normal or yobs stolen the bus stop?

There was no information on the bus last week, nothing from drivers to say normal service resumed.

A lady pulled up, to say no bus, now back to previous route, road opened.

To previous bus stop, both sides of the road notice at bus stop to say bus stop not in use. No timetable.

Would it not have made sense to have left temporary bus stop in place for at least a week, notice to say normal service resumed? Or, whoever removed temporary bus stop, notices on other bus stops?

A bus passed by leaving Lincoln, therefore can expect bus into Lincoln to pass by anytime soon.

At Lincoln Central Bus Station, no timetables, not a single timetable. New timetable came into play Sunday. Information office not open. Information office never open.

Reclaim the Streets

May 16, 2020

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

The first businesses to reopen coffee shops, tables outside, social distancing maintained,  dwell time relatively short.

To achieve this, coffee shops need to be able to spread out into the streets, out into the squares, the norm in Athens, indeed the norm across Europe, when one coffee shop in Lincoln requested this they received an emphatic no from Lincolnshire County Council, not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Kick starting the local economy, improving the ambience, worthless council jobsworths don’t give a damn.

Our High Streets were dying before the covid-19 pandemic. The loss of Big Business, corporate chains, from the High Street is no great loss, it was destroying the High Street. If we are to recover it will be through small local independent businesses.  That is why we must allow indie coffee shops, and only indie coffee shops not chains, next restaurants, to expand into the streets. Not pubs and bars as we do not want drunks on the streets.

Local businesses spreading into public space helps everyone, safeguarding staff and clientele through social distancing, improves the ambience of the locality, especially if No Smoking, and for many local businesses it will mean life or death, the difference whether they survive or not.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has recognised people are going to be reluctant to use public transport  therefore we have to encourage walking and cycling if we do not wish traffic levels to rise. But if wishes to improve cycling and walking, must also make our city centres more attractive by encouraging local councils to facilitate indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread out into our streets.

Deliveries to the pedestrianised areas,  park on the periphery and deliver by handcart or trolley.

Sheffield, an unusual city in that prior to the covid-19 pandemic a city on the up, a marked contrast to most decaying cities. And why? Independent businesses everywhere.

BBC Radio 4 The Food Programme recently featured Sheffield, the focus on how indie food businesses were bringing life back to Sheffield. With the exception of Marmadukes I would not agree with their choice of examples, but the gist yes. I could list several examples, South Street Kitchen, Marmadukes, Steam YardSheffield Cheese Masters, Bullion bean to bar craft chocolate, ShuJu Taiwanese pop-up kitchen at Union St.

Mention also needs to be made of Now Then, an indie magazine that features local culture and indie businesses, interesting articles and art, well worth seeking out.

Through reclaiming the streets, we are operating at the interface between business, environment and society, a component part of Doughnut Economics, where the local economy is designed to be regenerative and distributive, with people and the environment at its heart.  We kick cars out of our town centres, we plant trees, we improve the ambience, we create a space where local businesses and communities can thrive, breathe clean air, or simply relax with a  good coffee, read a book, sit and watch the world go by.

One of my favourite places to sit and relax, Little Tree, a bohemian bookshop cum coffee shop, not far from The Acropolis.

In Exarchia, an anarchist district of Athens, they set up road blocks, boxes with plants,  created traffic free zones. The city authorities also act, they are extending the pedestrianised areas around The Acropolis.

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