Archive for the ‘transport’ Category

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.

Abandoned e-scooters in Athens

December 3, 2019

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

Many users are considerate, park their scooters to one side, but many are not, drop their scooters anywhere, in the middle of a square, across footpaths, on street corners, even across a pedestrian crossing.

There appears to be two companies involved. That are currently operating in a legislative vacuum.

The e-scooters are a danger when ridden through pedestrianised areas, a danger to the rider when used on busy roads.

What is the legal situation when an accident occurs, a pedestrian trips over an abandoned e-scooter, who is responsible, the e-scooter company, the rider?

Abandoned supermarket trolleys were dealt with by local municipality collecting up, then charging a fee for recovery. The same practice should apply to abandoned e-scooters, minimum 100 euros recovery, 10 euros per day storage fee, levied on the companies. If this drives the companies out of business a beneficial side effect.

Illegally parked cars are towed away, a recovery fee paid. That is the least that needs to happen with e-scooters

Hot spots, Plaka, around The Acropolis, Monastiraki.

In Mallorca a clampdown on the use of e-scooters, hefty fines of up to 200 euros for misuse, 80 euros to recover abandoned e-scooters

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.


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