Archive for the ‘transport’ Category

Abandoned e-scooters in Athens

December 3, 2019

Abandoned e-scooters are becoming a major problem in Athens.

Many users are considereate, park theeir scoters to one side, but many are not, drop their scotters anywhere, in the middle ofa s quare, across footatsh, on street coners, even across a pedestrian crossing.

There appears to be two comanies involved. That are currently oopearing in a legaislative background.

The e-scottesr are a danger when ridden through pedestrioanesed aares a danger to the rider when used on busy roads.

What ahhpens wshen an accidentm somwsone falls over an anabandoned e-scooter, whi si respoisnibe, the e-scooter comany, the rider?

Anbandnoinded supermarjet trolles were delat with by local munispalites collecting upo, then chatging a fee for recoverey.

Illgeally parked cars ar towewd awaym a recovery fee paid. Thaty is ther leats that needs to happen wsith e-scoyyers

Hot spots, Plaka, around The Acropolis, Monastiraki.

In Mallorca a clampdon on the si=use of e-scooters, hefty fines of up to 200 euros for misuse, 8p0 euroos to recover abaondend e-scootesr

Appalling service InterCity Buses

October 13, 2019

Afternoon and early evening Friday 4 October 2019 very poor bus service Intercity Buses to and from Larnaca. Local bus service also leaves much to be desired, too few buses leading to overcrowded buses.

At Ayia Napa I almost missed the InterCity Bus to Larnaca, it looked like a tourist bus. But appearances deceptive, a clapped out tourist bus, broken seats.

Bad driving, driver drives off before passengers had the opportunity to sit down.

Return bus at 1800, peak time, many waiting for bus which turns up late, not everyone able to get on the bus. The bus not much larger than a mini-bus.

I decide to wait for next bus, an hour later.

Annoying, had I known, I would have gone for a walk and caught the next bus an hour later.

The local bus, from Ayia Napa little better. Russians park their buggies in the aisle, sit on the folding seats in the allocated bays for buggies. When asked to move, park their buggies in the bays they refuse. Driver failed to intervene.

Appalling treatment of elderly passenger by Nepalese bus driver

September 24, 2019

1800 No 1 Stagecoach Gold bus Aldershot to Camberly via Farnborough.

The bus was late leaving, it had arrived a few minutes before, due to driver late leaving.

This happens all the time, drivers do not arrive at the bus until this bus is due to leave.

As the bus passed through North Camp into south Farnborough, an elderly man in his 90s asked the Nepalese driver where to alight from the bus. He was nearly knocked off his feet due to the bad eratic driving.

Instead of helping the man the driver turned very nasty and started shouting at the elderly passenger.

The man clearly distreseed became confused.

When he got off the bus, and as the bus drove off, man nearly toppled over on to the bus.

The elderly passenger alighted at Albert Road at around 1825, one stop before stop for Franborough Tech.

I alighted a few stops later at Queensmead South. As I was alighting, I spoke with the driver and said I was not happy with his treatment of an elderly man.

The driver then became very aggressive, started shouting at myself, that it was none of my business, shouted at me to get off his bus.

A young lady spoke to me when she got off the bus. She said it was appalling behaviour by the driver.

This is not acceptable behaviour by the driver, either towards the elderly passenger or to myself. He should be fired.

Thomas Cook collapse

September 23, 2019

0200 this morning 178-year-old travel company Thomas Cook went bust.

Over the weekend zombie travel company Thomas Cook kept afloat by the banks had been desperately trying to obtain over £200 million to stay afloat.

Up until the crash senior management had been happily pocketing hefty bonuses and massive salaries.

The crash came as no surprise.

Thomas Cook, outdated businesses model, package holidays.

Last week the failing Cyprus industry looked to tour companies to come to their rescue. It beggars belief they are still operating in the 1960s, failing to obtain direct bookings.

UK government has mounted a rescue exercise. But why charter planes, why send out CAA and Foreign Office staff? Why not use the grounded Thomas Cook planes and crew, the staff located overseas? It would have been cheaper.

A moot point should the government have bailed out Thomas Cook, would have been cheaper than the rescue, on the other hand sends out the wrong message and creates a dangerous precedent to bail out bankrupt companies, as they then become reckless, knowing taxpayer will pick up the tab.

Strange no mention why Thomas Cook found itself in this parlous state, saddled with massive debt with no hope of repaying, unable to service the debt, or criminal behaviour of a former chief executive.

Holidaymakers being threatened by their hotel, money demanded, should not pay. The claim of the hotels is against the administrators of Thomas Cook not holidaymakers who have already paid for their holiday.

With the collapse of Thomas Cook, tui will have a monopoly, they will screw clients, screw hoteliers, not that they have not been doing that for years. Tui must be broken up.

Hoteliers should grasp the opportunity Thomas Cook collapse offers for innovation, move to direct bookings, cut out the middle man who is screwing everyone, receive payment end of stay not end of season, but need to move fast otherwise companies like tui will step into the void and exploit the situation.

Already airlines are profiteering from the collapse, hiking air fares.

 

No trains Reading to Gatwick

July 10, 2019

I thought leaving Oxford at 7-30 I would catch the same time train as I did a couple of weeks ago leaving at 6-30. Either I was too late or no CrossCountry train, which I had assumed runs hourly. Wait until 2006 and catch train for Paddington which stops at Reading.

Train ran slow. I just missed a train from Reading.

Next train at 2235, no trains for two hours for what is a service of two trains an hour.

What of trains to Gatwick, planes to catch, what alternative transport has been arranged? Nothing, no information, no announcements.

I was told to find a Duty Manager.

A train to Basingstoke, leaving at 2107. I could go a very long way round. Guard and driver see me not looking very happy. Asked what’s up, I told them. I asked could I catch the Basingstoke train. They said yes.

At Basingstoke just missed a train. Have to cross to a central platform to see display for trains, then cross back again. A girl came in late from Salisbury, next rain to Reading cancelled.

She asked did the train I was waiting for go to Woking. I said yes, then told her she had just missed a Woking train.

On reflection I realised if she wanted Reading, she wanted Wokingham not Woking.

I caught the train to Woking, then bus. Arrived home 2220, 15 minuted before the train would have left Reading had I waited two hours.

Nightmare. Go out anywhere, never know if will get back home. Last week stranded at Alton, no trains, all trains cancelled, no information.

Situation is not helped by stations not manned, or at large stations like Reading, no staff to be, no announcements, no apology. And no one cares, at least the train companies do not care. The staff are almost begging for the trains to be taken into public ownership as they a see on a daily basis how bad the service has become.

Extinction Rebellion Lincoln

April 18, 2019

Mail on Sunday saw a ludicrous feature on Extinction Rebellion, they were deluded, they wished to take us back to a fossil free dark age.

No, they recognise we face a Climate Emergency, that a fossil free future is our only future.

London, key points were taken. It was not until the third day BBC started to report.

Police have been deployed to arrest peaceful protesters. Would they not be better deployed to deal with knife crime?

Arresting people is pointless, and on dodgy legal grounds. For every person arrested, two more take their place.

Nothing learnt from Civil Rights protests in US. Arresting people, more take to the streets.

In Algeria and Sudan, the people have taken to the streets, faced down oppression, kicked two brutal dictators out of office.

In Lincoln, on Day 4, a small gathering under a tree in the High Street.

Were they there days before, I do not know.

One ignorant man shouted abuse, hit out at the disruption in London.

That disruption is as nothing when London floods due to rising sea levels.

Extinction Rebellion have taken direct action as a last resort, for far too long our corrupt politicians have been in the pocket of big business, giving the go ahead to fracking, to Heathrow expansion, subsidies to oil industry, go ahead for open cast mining.

Direct action is the only action that has ever changed anything.

It will cost far more not to address climate change to sit back and do nothing.

Protesters in Lincoln were calling on Lincoln City Council to declare a Climate Emergency, as many councils already have, to halt the Western Growth Corridor.

Activists need to seize control of the local Town Hall, to end the one-party state in the pocket of the local coop and big business, follow the example of Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, open to public participation, network across Europe with other citizen-controlled Town Halls.

Lincoln and Lincolnshire have an appalling bus service. Try getting a bus to anywhere after 1900 in the evening.

The pedestrianised High Street is not. Lorries drive through any time of the day. No enforcement action, local council and police turn a blind eye.

There is a ban between 1000 and 1600, but no one takes a blind bit of notice.

There should be a ban 24/7, emergency vehicles only. Lorries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley. The norm in Europe

Maybe they will, but the protesters should have sat down on High Bridge and blocked the High Street.

Ban wood burning stoves from the city.

It beggars belief we still build new build with no solar panels on the roof.

We need local area power distribution networks, owned and controlled by the local community, into which feed renewables paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price. Surplus generation fed to other local networks via a publicly owned National Grid. Any ‘profit’ either fed back into the system or used to fund local community projects. Electric cars provide a nighttime base load.

Avoid any corporate chain coffee shops, enjoy specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. In Lincoln that would be Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle. Reusable coffee cups glass Keep Cup or bamboo ecoffeecup address symptoms.

The planning application for a drive-thru Costa must be opposed. No one who loves coffee would be seen dead in Costa. More traffic. At a time when we should be reducing our dependency on the car, an application for yet another drive-thru. Local Coop once again acting for corporate chains whilst at the same time destroying Sincil Street. Those who love coffee relax in Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Brighton has Hisbe. Lincoln needs a zero waste store.

An animal diet, apart from being nutritionally dense thus better for our health, is environmental sound, grass fed animals are part of the natural cycle, improving the soil acts as a carbon sink.

We need to re-wild.

We have to drastically reduce our emissions of carbon. The longer we delay, the deeper the cuts.

Children are going on strike on Fridays. They question why their future is being destroyed.

We need a Green New Deal.

Read This Changes Everything.

Hacks at failing local rags The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo failed to cover the protest.

Nightmare GWR trains from Reading to Redhill and Gatwick

November 19, 2018

At every location on a visit to Reading, I stay far longer than intended. I will not make 4-30 train. Not even 6-30. I go for 1902 to find cancelled.

Then the nightmare begins, no trains, no announcements, no explanation, no apology.

Next train for Gatwick, showing twenty minutes late.

Next train an hour later, comes into wrong platform.

As by now frozen decide to catch this train, even if later, as appears to be on time, as at least I can sit on a warm train out of the cold.

During this time no announcements.

Train does not leave on time. Train does not leave, told to catch earlier train which has now arrived and is sitting at the station. It does not leave either. After a long delay, it pulls out of the station, only to stop 100m from the station, where its sits.

Arrive North Camp Station at 2115. If trains running normally, approximately 30 minutes from Reading depending upon fast or slow train.

A man got off the train at North Camp, hoping to pick up stopping train to Ash. Only problem, there were no stopping trains. Whilst on the train, passengers to Ash should have been advised to continue to Guildford, then pick yo a train back to Ash, either on Reading or Aldershot line. I advised he walked to Ash Vale, caught train to Aldershot then to Ash.

There were no announcements to advise passengers what was happening, no apology.

There should have been a bus running to Gatwick.

And this was not a one off.

In September, on at least two Fridays in a row, no Gatwick trains were running. No announcements, no advice to catch Redhill train, then change.

On the last day of October, last train from Gatwick cancelleld. No information at Gatwick on replacement bus or from where to catch.

Train indicator at North Camp has not worked since June. GWR refusing to pay the £5000 to repair.

Not only GWR.

South West Railways too.

During the morning, no trains to and from Waterloo.

A couple of weeks ago, no trains at Guildford, apparently broken down train at Clapham Junction.

Last week in the evening no trains at Alton. Broken down train at Clapham Junction.

September, train from Portsmouth Harbour cancelled.

Every Saturday, no trains due to guards on strike.

Other rail companies as bad.

Three times in September on East Coast Mainline, now run by LNER following disastrous performance by Virgin, trains delayed, connections missed.

Then there is Southern Fail and Northern Fail, appalling service during the summer, missed connections, delays of hours.

Trains with no working toilets.

We have a Third World train service with extortionate fares.

Beginning of January we will see train fares hiked double the rate of inflation, with rail companies telling us service has improved.

Rail fares must be frozen for the foreseeable future.

Rail must be taken back into pubic ownership, the gravy train of HS2 scrapped.

It will cost nothing as default at end of franchise.

Failing companies must be stripped of their franchise.

Note: There were no trains from Farnborough North for fours hours.

Note: GWR consider a delay of two hours to be acceptable.

Scandal of closed ticket offices on Athens Metro

October 23, 2018

Athens has a state-of-the-art Metro. The trains are overcrowded, the ticket offices closed.

Acropoli is one of the busiest stations on the Metro. International visitors for The Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Plaka.

The ticket office is not manned.

Three automated machines, which no one knows how to use.

Longer to wait to use machine than journey time.

I hate to think what is is like when station busy.

Put in a note, a cascade of coins piling out onto the floor as though won the jackpot on a one-armed bandit in a casino.

My turn. Select language. What do I want, one ticket for 24 hours, two tickets? There were many more options.

Ticket for 24 hours? Does this mean, can use ticket within 24 hours, or does it mean my ticket may be used many times over the next 24 hours.

No idea.

I choose two tickets.  2-70 euros. Luckily I have in change 2-70 euros.

The problem is not only Acropoli. Every single Metro station is now unmanned.

Greece has massive unemployment thanks to EU destroying Greek economy. What’s done instead of employing people make more people unemployed.

Not only Metro. Back way into Ancient Agora closed and locked, staffing cuts.

A week of snow

March 4, 2018

It started Monday a week ago, awoke to a light covering of snow.  It soon melted away.

In Lincoln, bitterly cold, light flurries of snow, few people about, those that were were stocking up with food.

I had intended to leave early, instead left late, after lunch at County Restaurant the afternoon in Madame Waffle.

Tuesday the snow had arrived. Before breakfast a path cleared of snow.

A day of dark clouds, bright sunshine, heavy snowfalls.

Heavy snowfall, blizzard, and something I had never experienced before, whiteout.  This would alternate with clear blue sky and sun shining.

Subzero outside, and yet, was able to sit and relax in the conservatory, heated by the sun.

Solar power though of no use. Looking out, I see solar panels covered in snow.

Nothing moving, everyone snowed in.

Wednesday, as Tuesday, heavy snow, several inches deep, before breakfast clearing the snow.  No soonest cleared, within half an hour, at least an inch deep. Before lunch, once again clear the snow, now a couple of inches deep.

As Tuesday, heavy snow, dark clouds, sunshine. Again possible to sit in the conservatory, minus three degrees outside, drops to minus seven.

As Tuesday, heavy snowfall, blizzard, whiteout, which  would alternate with clear blue sky and sun shining.

Impossible to go out, sink into the snow.

Farnborough two days in a row, record for colddest place, minus 11.9C.

Warning, we are running out of gas. People should drop their temperature by a degree, will not notice, saves money, saves gas. If going out, turn down the thermostat by at least five degrees, then turn back up on return.

We need large gas storage facilities. We had but was closed last year. That is what happens when privatise energy supply, lose energy security, no resilience in the system.

Not possible to import from Europe, as pipes lack capacity, and even if possible, Europe colder than UK, thus need the gas.

UK was powered by North Sea Gas. It was sold of on the cheap, now UK imports roughly half the gas it needs.

Wind is providing as much energy as gas, but different usage.

Industrial users of gas cannot be cut off, crash cool a kiln and cause tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the kiln.

In Lincolnshire, at least 45 roads are closed, idiots who should not be out, are out in their cars no idea how to handle a car in the snow, get stuck then block the roads.

Police call in the military they cannot cope.

Thursday I managed to get out. To my surprise, many people are walking in the snow in Washingborough. I guess house bound and an opportunity to get out the house.

I ask one man, is it worth walking to the local Coop? He says no, no bread, he has taken the last milk.

As I thought, no deliveries and more people placing demand on local Coop.

Slowly running out of food.

Walking around the village, very cold, Arctic conditions, sub-zero with a gale blowing.

There has been no snow all day.

Friday again no snow. Manage to get out and walk to the local Coop. As I thought, very little stock, no bread, little in the way of vegetables, a small amount of milk.

Again very cold with strong winds blowing.

Saturday a little snow overnight, light covering of snow.

One degree Celsius. It actually feels warm.

Hop on the bus to Heighington. The Spar shop reasonably well stocked, actually able to get some bread, the butcher well stocked.

Stock up with provisions. At least will not starve.

In the afternoon a trip into Lincoln. One kind person has even cleared the bus stop.

Walking to the bus stop and waiting for the bus, cold and damp, a breeze blowing, misty.

Very bleak journey into Lincoln.

The State of the Art Lincoln Central Bus Station colder than outside.

Outside the entrance a couple of inches of slush, Lincoln City Council cannot be arsed to clear the snow.

Sincil Street and High Street the same, slush covered streets. Traders pay enough in businesses rates, the least they can expect is the streets to be cleared of slush.

More people out than I expected. Maybe Saturday, maybe first opportunity to get out of the house and into Lincoln.

Stokes on High Bridge as always, empty, same for Cafe W at Waterstone’s. On the other hand Coffee Aroma busy and at Madame Waffle packed queuing at the door to get in. That is th difference good coffee makes.

I take the opportunity to stock up with more provisions.

Walking back to the bus station, I notice the slush melting, water gathers at the lowest point and flows, the newly installed drains not at the lowest point. Yet another design flaw for the newly opened Lincoln Central Bus Station that only opened last month.

Sunday a few degrees above freezing, the snow starting to melt, very misty.

It snows, and the country grinds to a halt, the trains do not run, those that do run, break down leaving people stranded for several hours, foolish people go out in the cars, clueless driving on snow.

For the last decade winters have been mild. Temperatures of 10C, maybe drops to 5C, occasionally below zero.

These mild winters have lulled the country into a false sense of security.

The Arctic, zero degrees, at least twenty degrees warmer than it should be , strong winds circling the North Pole driving the cold air southward into Europe.

What is a heat wave in the Arctic has panicked climate scientists, as what has been observed is way beyond their worst case scenarios for climate change.

Lincoln City Bus Station unmitigated disaster

January 31, 2018

This week the new so-called state-of-the-art Lincoln City Bus Station opened. The bus station is an unmitigated disaster.

What are being experienced are not teething problems, these are serious design flaws. Design flaws a first year university student would spot. Begs the question how the plans ever gained approval?

If there was an award for bad design, Lincoln Central Bus Station would be the leading contender, if not outright winner.

The building resembles a regional airport terminal building without the duty free.

Even before it opened, regular bus passengers were expressing their concern in comparison with the temporary bus station. These concerns have proved to be well founded.  The new bus station is far worse than anyone expected.

Journey times into and out of the town centre are now several minutes longer. And that is not rush hour. Rush hour it will be far far longer.

The bus station and 1,000-car car park both feed into the same narrow road.

Two large screens are not displaying all the bus times. Destination displayed, but not the route. Same problem at the bays.

In Hampshire and Surrey, live information linked to GPS showing the route is displayed at bus stops. Also in Prague, A Coruña, Athens, Tenerife.

There needs to be at least three sets of these overhead screens not only one near the entrance. There should be one near the entrance, one half way, one towards the far end.

The one and only set of overhead screens of no use if have arrived on a bus and have to change to another bus.

Where route information displayed it is wrong.

No 2 to Branston display at Bay A from which it departs shown as going via St Giles, Cherry Willingham, Reepham, Sudbrooke, Welton.  The No 2 bus route, Washingborough, Heighington, Branston.

As a consequence of incorrect information displayed passengers are catching the wrong buses.

1640 on a Friday afternoon the Information Office closed.

No timetables displayed as was the case at the temporary bus station.

At bus stops, still old timetables displayed. Why not route number prominently displayed at bus stops? The norm elsewhere.

A new bus fleet introduced by Stagecoach, serious design flaws.  Seats behind the driver, should be used for a buggy bay. Were the bus to suddenly stop, passenger in these two seats would be propelled out of their seats and smash their heads into the partition. USB charging points low down almost on the floor. Have to be a contortionist to access.  On start stop within the city these usb charging points are of little use. Their use is when on a bus city to city. Brand new bus fleet, the video screen displaying no useful information. Why not linked to GPS showing live where are on the route? Why not a display showing next stop? The norm elsewhere

The changed bus routes for Birchwood not acceptable, confusing for passengers, and less frequent, now every fifteen minutes not every ten minutes.

New bus fleet coupled with deteriorated service.

20p to use the toilets.

Floor to ceiling glass walls both sides of the building. One side is south facing. It will function as a greenhouse in the summer with passengers fainting in the heat.

Very congested with passengers. Nigh impossible to walk through the building. And that was mid-afternoon, not rush hour.

At the temporary bus station, a gyrator system. Not at the new bus station. Little room for a bus to manoeuvre. An accident waiting to happen. No 2 Bus to Washingborough, Heighington and Branston from Bay A, had to shunt back and forth to get out. It would be even more difficult for the other bays.

Wednesday morning the bus station log-jammed, no bus could move, none could get out, none could get in. A wait of 5-15 minutes from Pelham Bridge to enter the bus station.

A state-of-the-art bus station that lacks wifi.

The only good thing that could be said, is easy to access the  railway station.

But even this does not withstand close scrutiny.

At the temporary bus station, the train station literally the other side of the red brick wall. An entrance could have been created. Better still, an integrated bus rail station building with shops. Shops pay rent. For example Reading.

Car parking at Lincoln Central Station for pick up and drop off has been drastically reduced, creating an open windswept plaza serving no useful purposes

From Lincoln, no direct train services to anywhere.

There should be an hourly service to London and York.

Open the line Grantham to Lincoln, London Kings Cross, Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Doncaster, York.

Had an integral bus-train station been developed at the temporary bus station, where the new bus station has been built, could have been for delivery lorries and vans to park, to then deliver by hand cart or trolley to shops and other businesses. Not as we have at the moment, lorries driving through the pedestrianised city centre smashing up the surface of the streets.

The bus station has an integral coffee shop, Grand Coffee House.  Excellent design, let down by the coffee. Also not welcoming with a poster on the door telling people it is not a waiting room. Maybe explains why empty, and with that attitude to bus passengers deserves to be. If welcoming, passengers may be tempted to have a coffee whilst waiting. Though if appreciate good coffee unlikely to be tempted again.

On leaving  the bus or train station walk into Sincil Street, a once thriving bustling street of independent traders, now turned into a wasteland by the local council in bed with the Coop.

To see what could be, Hull Old Town, reported by Look North as one of the hipster places to be in the country, indie local businesses, not a chain in sight. Further afield, North Laine in Brighton.

This bus station is an appalling waste of public money. How much public money squandered the local council jobsworths manning the Information Office did not know.

The officials responsible should be fired, the councillors who granted approval should apologise and resign. Is it too much to expect of local councillors to actually scrutinise what is placed before them?

According to Lincoln City Council, to highlight design flaws, of which there are many, is to express negativity.

Lincoln City Council claim

Feedback from users of the facility have been incredibly positive so far, with very few issues raised.

This is not the view of bus drivers, it is not the view of the many complaints from passengers.

But then Lincoln City Council would claim the new bus station a success, wouldn’t they?

Lincoln City Council call this a Transport Hub.

No, it is a Transport Farce.  They have made the City of Lincoln a National Laughing Stock.