Archive for Commuting

Yet more Transport

Posted in Commuting, Politics, Transport with tags , , on July 29, 2008 by pieman70

Saw Panorama’s documentary regarding fuel costs today and I feel it missed the point, all though in fairness, it was pretty short of a point, it seemed to ask a lot of questions, such as is fuel taxation a bad thing, well yes if you talk to the crofters on Orkney who need to travel long distances to do anything, no if you talk to the LSE professor who lives, oh in London and sees no reason why people can’t take public transport. For my money he has clearly been in London so long he doesn’t realise that once you get out of London, yes there is an outside of London, Public transport veers wildly in quality and provision. The programme made a great deal about the GeeWizz electric car, a very small, pretty unsafe electric car that is all their age in London, and it is good there, you have car parks with recharging bays (It only has a 40 odd mile range) and it is exempt from the congestion charge and road tax. The show made the point that outside of London, while the government wants to promote these wee electric cars for cities, not many cities have the facility to charge them up, but hey, why provide any alternative when you can fleece us for tax. It is a catch 22. Councils won’t provide charging points until more people have electric cars, but no one will buy one until they can charge it up. trust me I would get a gee whiz tomorrow if I didn’t have to run an extension lead from my 3rd floor flat as it would be ideal for my short run to the station.

But of course, that’s not the point at all. It is very easy for someone who can afford, say a big BMW, or a custom super charged mondeo with nitrous kit, to do such things as buy an electric car for small trips, or have an LPG conversion. Indeed both myself and my wife would definitely consider the latter as a local petrol station provides LPG at half the cost of petrol. However, like most people who have to drive a big family car (What with having a family) usually older and hence higher emissions (Because we can’t afford to take the depreciation hit) and can’t afford money staving measures like LPG or electric, we will have to continue to be punished for using fuel, despite the fact that we can not afford an alternative. Yes, the Rich can reap the tax breaks and be smug about being green, we take up the slack. Joy.

I did get a smile today though, I’ve already heard many negative things about Edinburgh’s tram system from residents, largely the realisation of the small area it will cover and the disruption it will cause. As you know I find trams obsolete and wasteful compared to superior but rarely considered trolley buses, but also because of the mass whinge from interested party’s (Not to mention councillors who had already taken kickbacks for contracts to dig up roads yet to be awarded) when the SNP tried to cancel the scheme on the grounds of it being a huge white elephant. Now traders in Edinburgh have complained about the drop in business due to the roads being closed during the fitting of their ails, and complaints about the traffic congestion in general. The shop owners admit that business may improve after the trams are running but feel they should be compensated for the disruption. Hmm, its like they have a cake, but also wish to eat it while still keeping the cake, or in a nutshell, they want to bleed as much as possible out of this. I sincerely hope the Government tells them that had they not whined so much to get the project un-cancelled they would not have had the drop in business and to stop wasting everyone’s time and money.

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Commuting on trains: The Unwritten Rules written

Posted in Commuting, Transport with tags , on June 11, 2007 by pieman70

I travel daily on trains, and there is a set of unwritten rules regarding how to travel in a way that causes the least inconvenience to you and other passengers and in generally allows things to actually run. The good thing about these rules is that they’re applicable on just about every mode of transport.

When boarding the train:

Wait for people to get off the train. How the hell do you think you’re going to get a seat, or some choice standing area if you don’t let people get off the damn train. Wait to the sides of the doors because, unless you have the power to become insubstantial, such as a ghost or The Vision, people leaving the train can’t step through you.

Seating:

You do not deserve 2 seats. I have an arse that can contest many in both size and weight, I know that I don’t deserve 2 seats, I know that my rucksack or my shopping has not bought a ticket and is frankly lucky it’s getting a free ride at all. You can not reserve a double seat using any of the following actionsSitting in the outside seat and not moving aside when someone wants to sit at the windowPutting bags/shopping/pets on the seat next to youGlaring (Particularly if there are 2 of you on either side of a 3 seater and someone has the audacity to sit between you)If you want any control over how much space you get, space is always dictated by the person at the window, on the outside you have a walkway to occupy, they can’t move any further into the wall.When sitting down, fill up empty rows before parking next to strangers, seriously we won’t talk to you and will ignore any attempts at conversation regardless of how uppity you get, sit on your own.

Standing.

The door area is fine if there are a few people standing, but if its getting crowded, move into the walkway, I don’t care if you’re stops the next one, let the other people on and negotiate your way to the doors once the train is moving.

Leaving the train:

At a normal station, pay attention, particularly on a crowded train, you know you’ll have to get through a packed train before your stop, so make a start early, be polite and don’t push, and standees, let people past, they don’t want your spot, they want off which with the crowding is only a good thing.

At a terminus.

When all is changing, standing passengers get off first, no arguments, no whining, I don’t care how short the trip was, you had a seat, they didn’t, they get the clean run to the ticket barrier, you wait for them to clear then stand up. Standing up as you’re pulling into the platform, or in the case of Glasgow Central, when you’re crossing the river doesn’t qualify you as standing. Stop barging in front of the poor blighters who have been on their feet all trip just because you don’t want to be caught in the throngs of the ticket barrier.

At the ticket barriers,

both ways have your ticket ready, it speeds things up, also, if you can’t find your ticket, don’t stand at the barrier rummaging through your handbag/pockets there are people who thought ahead wanting to get on with their day, stand aside, get your ticket then approach the barriers. A hint, the human barriers at Glasgow central are manned by the hardiest of the Scotrail staff, like terminators they cannot be reasoned with or stopped. They don’t care if your train is leaving shortly. Your assurances that you’ll buy a ticket on the train will fall on deaf ears. You don’t get past them without a ticket.

Escalators:

The London underground has this right, in London standing two abreast on an escalator so others can’t pass is a crime punishable by 2hrs in the stocks. I have days where I just like to take things easy and see the world pass by; I also have days where I’m in a mad panicked rush. So be considerate and leave space for people to pass.

Finally some Do’s and Don’ts

DON’T: Play your music through your phone speaker. What the hells are you thinking? I have this MP3 Player on for a reason Cr@pwit. I don’t care if you’re playing the Best of Pie Man’s favourite songs of all time. I don’t want to hear it and neither does anyone else. Naturally the norm is duff techno, because the mindset who thinks that this is acceptable behaviour also thinks that white Kappa tracksuits look really good.

DO: Turn your walkman down when the train is packed, its good manners to try and limit your noise output when in a cramped pressure cooker. It prevents you being beaten to death by a copy of the DaVinci Code.

DO: Fold your paper, it’s cramped, and anyway, last time I checked the Independent doesn’t have centrefolds, there is no actual reason for you to have to hold your paper fully open, unless you’re a tit who wants everyone to know how much better you are than them by the choice of quality paper you’re reading.

DON’T: Get snippy when the person in the seat next to you reads your absurdly open paper with you, even asking for page turns and comment, you’re the one trying to occupy an entire 3 seats with arms and broadsheet.

DO: Chat quietly, I don’t object to conversations, even if I’m not involved (See earlier comment regarding MP3 player and book) you can talk on your phone, to your friends its all good, just at a volume that doesn’t broadcast to the entire train

DON’T: Shout. Just don’t.

Follow these rules and you’re much less likely to be bludgeoned to death by an aged Creative Zen MP3 player (Those things are really robust)