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.

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