Thursday, 28 February 2008

Train in Vain

Public transport: some local difficulties

My local station has closed it’s ticket office so it can be altered so the counter is low enough for people with mobility issues presumably wheel chair users. This is a sensible and fair thing to do to allow all tax payers to use public transport. However quite how these wheel chair users are going to get to the London bound trains up and down two flights of 20-30 steps, let alone use the grim warren that is London bridge station at the other end I don’t know. How they will get on the train at all is question seeing as there are no staff to put out ramps at New Cross? They can’t be using the East London line because it’s closed for 3 years. Also a lot of the improvements specifically for wheel chair users , people with prams on public transport are mute considering on my train in morning I can barely squeeze on let alone someone with disabilities, to get them to a seat half the passengers would have to detrain.

The ticket office refurb also threw up the other stupid problem with London/uk transports we need integrated oyster style tickets.Because New Cross is closed I tried to renew my season ticket at Cannon Street, of course they tell me they can’t do this even though they work for the same company as the nice man at New Cross, who’s been doing it for over a year. So I have to go all the way downstairs to a man directly below the bloke above but who had a different corporate tie who sells me one from the same machine they have up stairs! Is this going to be sorted out before the Olympics so that someone from Uruguay staying Bromley can get an overland, bus, tube simply straight forwardly and don’t have to have Kafkaesque conversations like I had?
The answer is NO because New Labour doesn’t stand up to big money it has never knocked heads together and simply told the rail company to sort themselves out or the share holders and executive will be fined.

Until transport is treated as whole this will go on and on. It’s these details that make transport system work but New Labour don’t do details

The Guardian's tech column had article about a new all singing all dancing tracking system for London buses it having to be implemented because the roads are still full of private car users making unnecessary journeys thus forcing the buses to clump up and not run on time. It will cost £117 million and because it's a UK computer system will be that bit crapper than the Finnish version and will double in price. It should tell you via your mobile when the bus is due accurately so you don’t have to hang around at the bus stop, although I’m not sure we will ever trust it and still just head out!

Also the irony is that in Finland I bet the buses run on time to schedule and so don’t need this system!

BLTP 1st Law of UK government technology procurement.

The British invent all the cool stuff in world but the British government couldn’t buy a teas maid without it doubling in price, being 3 years late, telling the time in Tokyo only being permanently tuned to Capital radio and only making cold decaf coffee.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Stupid Gamble!

The End of Super Casinos?
My non conformist roots might be showing here but were super casinos ever a good idea?

I've lived in London on and off since the late 80's and I've been getting of the tube at Tottenham Court Road for just as long; I must have walked up towards Euston a 1000 times, never once have I crossed over and gone to the casino.
I've not even thought of it even when I lived 5 minutes walk away. Me and friends have scoured the west end for late nights drinks and never gone in for a pint and gamble. So why would we go to Manchester or Blackpool to have a punt?

It's not that I don't like gambling the times I've been to the races or the dogs I've usual done well and enjoyed myself. I've never bought a lottery ticket but I do have some premium bonds.

Apart from it being morally wrong for a government to encourage it's citizens to throw away their money it doesn't make economic sense. The idea of these super casinos was regeneration but where's the evidence that people with money wanted to go to these places. You can gamble in lots of ways already both home and abroad but most people (especially New Labour ministers) just choose not to. So the government wasted loads of money to find this out and has had to give Manchester some cash to cheer it up for not winning this dodgy bet.

PS. I've talked elsewhere about the plight of Blackpool adding gambling to the stag parties and happy hour joints would have only quickened the sad place's demise.

Friday, 22 February 2008

They still don't know me at all!

Got another text from Vodaphone this one said "touch my boobs" to go with the Danielle LLoyd one (no me neither) and one for Mjoy which had a women wearing dog leash on the entrance page.

Why would anyone want these downloads (I'm assuming Ms Lloyd is a hand bra sporting hollyoaks startlet or similar not a leading experimental music pinoneer), pictures of disrobed women aren't exactly rare and mostly free and of higher qaulaity. Also "boobs" is such coy naff word and as for touching them on a 1X 2 inch screen seeing them is tricky enough.

So let's be clear can Vodaphone et al grow up and give us what we want ie cheap and easy to use, realiable acces to the net. So I can get the footy scores, the train times and an ABBA discography when I need one.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The only tea bag in the caddy

The semiotics of washing up:

Tales from an office sink :
Seen amongt the cutlery, a garish cheap chipped mug featuring “humorous” Little Britain characters Andy & Lou and their catchphrases “I want that one” and “yeah, I know”, the mug was unwashed and had been used to make porridge.

It was like a little window into the “Tony Browns” Britain. If you were being maudlin you could say it showed a celebrity obsessed society, devoted to buying cheap trinkets (on credit), who like nothing more than laughing at minorities and who have no time to eat properly and so delude themselves by grazing on quick fix “superfoods” bought at a premium and eaten “al’ Desko” in rush.

The more sensible view would why didn’t they soak that porridge as it’ll never come clean and you are only grumpy because they finished off the milk!

Feb 19th 2007

Today’s news
Crying all the way to the bank:
Apparently Northern Rock is making the City of London look bad at business, but you lot did all mess up though (lending money to people who couldn’t afford it)and cost us all £ 3,000 cheers fellas.

Driven out of Town:
On a similar (engine) note Porsche are going to sue ken for putting up the congestion charge on flash cars as its bad for business. It would seem everything is bad for business. Taxation is bad for business, too much legislation (the free marketers mantra) not enough legislation (Northern rock etc). The idea that paying £25 quid will put off some greedy foreign investor from coming to London is risible. These people will spend £300 quid at Waitrose on food and then eat out for week; they happily spend a £500 on a hand bag and just as much on a bottle of wine at lunch.
If they really don’t like it why not go do business elsewhere Russia (no legal system) China ditto, France (way more taxes), Germany (loads of legislation, bit dull), Switzerland (dull), Italy (backhanders nice place though).

Also do we really need civics lessons from a company that use to make weapons for the Third Reich?

Spineless wonders:
Porsche know that no party in Britain is ever going to stand up to the financial lobby ever again, they only have to say “it will be bad for making money” and the government Tories and Liberals will back down. Its funny this never happened for coal mining, car making, and shipyards.....

The crumbs from the rich man's table.
Also if these rich people hedge fun types don’t pay tax, keep their money abroad and are in effect run private companies (were the profits stay within the company), how exactly are we getting the benefit, we can’t all share a few tips at Gordon Ramsay restaurants and the vat on a Bulgari necklace.

Lastly the best joke about this business about the (non-domiciles) “non-doms” not getting taxed (both here and abroad, wouldn’t that be nice). If they ever messed up and get caught insider trading and ended up in choky would they stop being a Non-doms and end up as “con- doms”. (From this week’s news quiz)

Sport: but we still won!
There was chippy renta quote scouser on the radio this morning; he had that Liverpool way of talking that sounded like he had mouth full of marbles. Now I like Liverpool, they are sort of my second team but you can call us (Barnsley) “a poxy team” as much as you like mate, we still beat you and whingeing about Benitez won’t solve the problem. Players lose matches not managers, or chairman or even the fans players! What happened to the irrepressible scouse whit? The reds will beat Inter tonight and all this will be forgotten.

Transport news:
Still massive overcrowding on my train this morning; no transport at all except buses on the weekend (as overland at Deptford and New cross closed and of course East London line is to for next 3 years)