Sat navs send homeowner round the bend

August 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

TomTom 281x300 Sat navs send homeowner round the bendA lady in Somerset has pleaded with drivers to ditch their sat navs.

This isn’t as some kind of ‘be free of technology! Throw off your mental chains!’ type nonsense, she’s just a bit pissed off with lorries driving into her cottage.

Caroline Cockman, reckons lorries have caused £50,000 of damage to her home in Coxley, Somerset, due to believing everything that the sat nav tells them.

Cockman has lost count of the amount of vehicles that have got stuck up her lane.

It’s an ongoing hassle for the poor woman, claiming that just this week, there’s been three large vehicles trapped in her narrow strip of road.

“Their sat navs direct them down the lane and they ignore the evidence of their own eyes that it’s too narrow and just carry on until they get stuck.”

“The worst incident happened a couple of years ago when a big lorry blew out my back wall – it cost £33,000 in repairs. There have been many other incidents – I can’t remember them all. It must be well over £50,000 of damage in total.”

Understandably Cockman is now pleading with council officials to make signs at the top of the lane more obvious.

“The trouble is some drivers still use domestic sat navs instead of commercial ones. I’m told the commercial ones do carry warnings about the lane’s width but the domestic ones don’t.”

“Last Monday we had a big sewage tanker, with an escort to make sure it travelled safely, and it took him half-an-hour to reverse out. Then on Wednesday night someone collided with our low wall which stops vehicles coming off the lane and into our courtyard.”

“Another guy was trapped for six hours. If only truck drivers used their common sense as the lane got narrower and narrower.”

Perhaps we do need those new robot lorries after all?

Petrol prices down for the bank holiday

August 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

asda petrol Petrol prices down for the bank holidayIt’s the last bank holiday before Christmas, so to celebrate, supermarkets have cut petrol prices by up to 2p a litre and diesel by 1p!

Asda kicked it off when they bugled that they’d be cutting their prices today (Tuesday), capping petrol at 124.7p a litre and diesel at 128.7p, which is the lowest the chain have had since January 2011.

Then Sainsburys and Tesco both chipped in by saying they’d be reducing their prices on petrol and diesel too, although neither chain has a national price cap.

Supermarkets being supermarkets, they’ve always had the chance to offer cheaper deals for the driver, especially when tied up in points and rewards and brand loyalty type stuff.

However this move has been seen as a response to the otherwise slightly dearer independents, according to Paul Watters, AA’s head of public affairs

“We have seen competitive independent retailers east of London selling petrol as low as 125.9p a litre recently, which heralded a more general move by Asda,” he said. “With its national pricing policy, that lower pricing will be spread to drivers across the UK and will spur other retailers to follow.”

“However, depressed demand is also a major influence as families in the UK, Europe and the US continue to struggle with family finances. Although pump price movements have been relatively benign this year, the trauma of price spikes from 2011 into 2013 continues to haunt drivers.”

According to the AA, the average price across the UK yesterday was 129.71p a litre, and diesel was 133.74p.

The other supermarkets are set to follow, because that’s what they do.

Train fares to increase today: protests likely

August 19th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

traintrack 300x225 Train fares to increase today: protests likelyToday’s the day when we all find out how much train fares are going up by, not that train travel is a rip-off as it is. But as morning follows night, train companies put prices up year on year when the RPI inflation figure is announced.

The formula used allows prices to be increased by an average of RPI plus 1%, but train companies have the option to add another 2% to some fares, just as long as the overall average remains in line with the formula.

Next year’s price rise could well take the overall increase to around 24.7% during this Parliament, according to the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and protests are expected at stations across the UK.

In addition to that, Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh reckons there’ll be a further rise of 24% by 2018 if the Tories stay in power. She’s obviously forgotten about the Lib Dems being in the coalition as well, but that’s British politics for you.

The CBT are right to point out that, in the same period train fares have risen by upwards of 24% since 2010, wages had only risen 6.9%. Everyone knows that the UK has some of the highest train fares in the world and as a result, customers don’t think train companies are at all trustworthy.

Rail Minister Claire Perry did acknowledge that “we have had inflation-busting fare rises almost every year over the last decade” but insisted the Government is committed to “fair fares”.

She said: “What we have got to do is make sure rail passengers, who could be forgiven for thinking ‘What on earth am I getting for these rises I’ve seen over the last decade?’, start to realise that they are paying fair fares for comfortable commuting.”

“Passengers are paying for the “biggest investment in the rail network since Victorian times”, she added while yammering on Radio 4.

British Airways bring on the cats and dogs

August 14th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Looking at cats while on a flight news now, and British Airways have introduced Slow TV.

The in-flight entertainment has had a bit of an overhaul, and will now offer such channels as Paws & Relax, which is basically footage of cats and dogs being lovely.

There’s also a film of a seven hour Norwegian train journey, which sounds both amazing and like someone’s possibly been at the biscuits and dug out their Orb albums over at BA.

All of the vibes. Right there.

Paws and Relax’s shows include cartoon ‘Simon’s Cat’, ‘America’s Cutest Dog’ and the BBC’s ‘Secret Life of Cats’, and there will also be a showcase for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, where no doubt emotional fliers can see if they want to adopt a poodle mid-flight.

In-flight entertainment manager of British Airways  Richard D’Cruze, said relaxing TV clips help enhance passenger’s trips.

“We discovered some scientific research that proves watching images of cute animals can actually lower your heart rate and reduces stress levels.”

Raleigh Choppers: back. Back. BACK.

August 14th, 2014 6 Comments By Ian Wade

chopper 205x300 Raleigh Choppers: back. Back. BACK.The Chopper is back.

Yes, the slightly comically named Raleigh bike with its unique monkey handlebars and two different sized wheels (so far, so penny farthing) is back in production.

Due to the demand of nostalgic parents, the sort who keep voting for Star Wars in film polls and vaguely recall Texan Bars, Raleigh have replicated it and re-released the Chopper for a whole new generation.

Around a million and a half Choppers sold originally, but production was ended in 1979, just ahead of the whole BMX thing and Raleigh wooing the kids with Grifters.

Halfords will be stocking a limited number of the flaming red ‘Hot One’, although anyone expecting it to be on sale at its original price of £32 will be disappointed, as the new version will set you back £250.

Ben Hillsdon, Raleigh marketing manager said: “Whether you’re young or old it’s hard not to be taken in by the charm of the Chopper.”

It’s true, very few can resist the charm of sitting on a bright red chopper.

London buses to get wifi

August 7th, 2014 7 Comments By Ian Wade

47861821 nbfl no 08 broadgate 140510 300x167 London buses to get wifiLondon’s bus users are in for a treat. A TREAT! Wi-fi looks like it’s coming to the capital’s buses.

Transport for London are trialling free wi-fi on the buses, which is starting small with just two buses at the moment – the No.12 (Dulwich to Oxford Circus) and the RV1 (Covent Garden and Tower Hill).

If this proves popular, TfL will then start looking for a sponsor so it can roll it out to the rest of its buses.

And as if by magic, here’s a quote from TfL’s Simon Reed “London buses have always led the way with new technology on its network, benefiting the millions of passengers who make the most of the extensive network every day.”

“Innovation is a key theme of the Year of the Bus and we have worked with our suppliers to find new and innovative ways to further improve the experience of our passengers. These trials will establish whether this technology provides genuine benefits to people on the move.”

The free wi-fi trial is just one of the innovations heading to London’s buses, hopefully those plans will factor in doing something about those new buses that smell of urine.

The rest of the country, meanwhile, couldn’t give two hoots.

pollution Council to dole out on the spot pollution finesPollution news now, and officials from Islington Council in North London are to issue the on-the-spot fines to vehicles how leave their engines running.

The council is going around like Al Capone dishing out these £20 fines in what is hoped will reverse global warming, or at least make Islington less pollutey.

It looks like other councils are likely to follow their lead and dish out fines ahoy, as the spectre of European environmental targets looms over it all.

Others are just saying it’s not fair and acts as a ‘stealth tax’ to those who fail to switch their motors off when stationary.

Councils have had the power to issue penalties for idling in 2002 but the rule has not been widely enforced until now, as they were looking for further routes in how to rinse drivers.

Now officials from Islington Council in North London are wandering about issuing the on-the-spot fines, and will target buses, lorries and diesel cars willy nilly.

To add the wave of bad gas, Islington councillor Claudia Webbe said: “We are committed to improving air quality, which is why we are clamping down on idling buses, lorries and diesel cars.”

“We need Boris Johnson to do his share by introducing a low-polluting bus fleet, and addressing the high number of polluting lorries that travel through our streets on a daily basis.”

oleary1 300x180 Customer service costs money  new friendly Ryanair fares up 12%They say good manners cost nothing, but the recent change of approach being sported by the airline we love to hate does seem to have come at a price. While the cost of a no-frills airline ticket is a moving target, latest figures suggest that discount airfares have actually increased by between 12% and 20% from last year.

Research by website WhichAirline.com found that, since Ryanair came over all customer-friendly,  the average cost of a one-way ticket is €65.67 (£52.40), up from €58.45 (£46.64), an increase of around 12%.

However, a spokesman for Ryanair dismissed the research as “hopelessly inaccurate”, claiming instead that “Ryanair’s average fare fell by four per cent to €46 last year.” But then he would say that.

But to give Ryanair some credit, whether or not the average fare has increased, the new customer caring approach has seen the demise or discount of a number of add-on fees. These include reduced infant fees and allocated seating charges for children; a drop in the charge for checking luggage at the airport, from £60 to £30 per bag; and the introduction of a 24-hour “grace” period during which passengers will be able to correct minor errors, such as spelling mistakes, free of charge. Previously such changes cost £110 per person. The airline’s boarding pass re-issue fee was also cut from £70 to £15.

Ryanair also claim that, even though they aren’t increasing prices, other similar airlines are increasing fares by even more. And the WhichAirline.com figures agree- at EasyJet, fares have increased by nearly 20%, up from €72.97 to €87.44, and at Wizz Air, the Hungarian low-cost carrier, there has been a 13.5% increase, up from €60.74 to €70.62.

Nevertheless, increases in ticket prices do not appear to be putting off travellers, with Ryanair passenger figures for June up 5% on the previous year, totalling 8.3m passengers. EasyJet carried 6.1 million passengers this June, up 10% on the same month last year.

First Great Western 300x225 Quiet carriages still a thing, says First Great WesternCome in off the ledge everyone, First Great Western are NOT removing their quiet carriages after all.

Phew.

The train company were keen to dismiss such balderdash after several reports had said they’d done away with them.

A name-free First Great Western spokesman said: “There will be a quiet carriage on all our high speed trains for the foreseeable future. Claims that there will be no solace for customers who want a quieter journey are simply unfounded.”

What is true, added the spokey, is that they’re removing the First Class quiet carriage in the next few months, as an overall overhaul of its First Class carriages.

“The company is converting some First Class carriages into Standard carriages on all its long distance trains, which will only leave one and a half First Class carriages.

“To make one of those carriages ‘quiet’ would be madness, but it is a practical decision based on the need to increase the number of standard seats on our services. The renewed First Class carriages will instead be fitted with specially designed headrests and partition screens to keep noise levels to a minimum.”

WELL THAT’S A RELIEF! (Shhh! – Ed.)

luggage Staff shortages at Gatwick may affect your luggage Going on holiday and flying from Gatwick this weekend? Well, you’ll be able to go, but you might not be able to take your luggage with you.

That’s because of ground staff shortages on the biggest holiday weekend of the year. Swissport, who operate baggage services for some airlines at Gatwick, simply don’t have enough staff to put your suitcases on the plane.

Why? Because they use staff on zero hours contracts, and nobody wants to work at the weekend. (Ha ha – up yours Swissport!)

Still, it’s not very good news for travellers flying with the following airlines and travel companies: BA, Virgin, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

Some passengers who flew last weekend are still waiting for their luggage, and one Commonwealth Games paraylmpian was left stranded at baggage claim for four hours, waiting for his wheelchair.

Monarch have already sacked Swissport, but there has to be a notice period of 120 days before they can employ another baggage handling firm.

So what can passengers at Gatwick expect this weekend?

‘Gatwick is working closely with its airlines to improve the performance of Swissport in line with the airport’s own high standards of passenger service.’ said a Gatwick spokesrobot.

OH WELL, THAT’S REASSURING.

£10 charge for London diesel drivers

July 29th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

pollution £10 charge for London diesel drivers Boris Johnson – Foursquare Mayor of the Bullingdon Club chophouse – is considering charging £10 for each diesel vehicle to enter London from 2020, in a bid to tackle the city’s monstrous pollution levels.

Low emission zones might become widespread in major cities as efforts increase to oust clapped out old diesel vehicles, which are responsible for the majority of stinking local air pollution.

Boris would pile the £10 charge on top of the existing Congestion charge, meaning that lorry and van drivers would be forking out £20 minimum to enter Central London. And if you’re in a diesel car made before 2006, you’ll also have to raid your wallet.

However, if your white van or lorry meets Euro 6 emission standards, you won’t have to pay.

It comes as Labour proposes plans to introduce a network of UK-wide low emission zones. If not, most British cities will be choked up with dangerous levels of pollution by 2030, and we’ll all probably choke to death.

Boris’ environment lackey, Matthew Penchartz, said: ‘We want to see an unwinding of incentives that have driven people to diesel. Euro engine standards on emissions have not delivered the savings expected, meaning we now have a legacy of a generation of dirty diesels.’

However, for years, everybody was happy to push diesel as a ‘clean’ alternative to petrol. In fact, ministers encouraged people to buy into it to fight climate change.

Well, you live and learn, eh? *coughs*

25% phone in sick after their holidays

July 28th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

holiday 25% phone in sick after their holidays There’s nothing like going on holiday to make you realise that you’re wasting your life in your dead end, wage slave job. Instead, why not just live on sun lounger with rum coursing through your veins?

This horrific post holiday epiphany could be why a whopping 25% of us take an unofficial holiday extension and chuck a sickie on our first day back from holiday.

A survey by Travelex also found that if we didn’t phone in sick, we spent our lunch hour pining for the fjords and planning our next trip out of the office hellhole.

The survey asked 2000 workers about their holiday attitudes, and also found that nearly half of us admitted to being distracted or forgetful after their holidays.

But you can hardly blame people, can you? You’ve got a skinful of pina colada and a digestive tract brimming with calamari, as well as sunstroke.

And let’s face it, we all need 24 hours to recover from a Ryanair flight.

fiesta 300x225 Ford Fiesta is biggest selling UK car everThe Ford Fiesta has become the best-selling car of ALL TIME.

The cheery little runabout that has been knocking around for nearly 40 years, has sold 4.1 million, to become the best selling car in the UK.

It has overtaken (OVERTAKEN HAHAHA) the Ford Escort, the previous record holder, to become the most popular model among British drivers.

The Fiesta was a mere £1,865 when it came out in 1976, and soon become a hit with the young set and lead the small car end of the car market ever since.

Mark Ovenden, head of Ford Britain, said: ”The Ford Fiesta has gone from strength to strength and today’s car combines style, value, driving dynamics and remarkable technologies such as the multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.”

“It continues to outsell its nearest retail competitor by more than two to one – and that really tells the story of this extraordinary car.”

Also, the advancements in technology differ somewhat from the car’s launch. For example, it would now take more than 80 modern-day Fiestas to generate the same nitrous oxide emissions of a single 1976 Mk1 model.

This first-generation Fiesta, with the 46bhp four-cylinder 950cc petrol engine, weighed around 800kg and achieved 37.7mpg. Today a 1.0 litre Fiesta is more than a third heavier, but achieves nearly 66mpg.

Fiesta models are developed in Dunton, Essex, while engines are assembled in Dagenham, Essex, and Bridgend, south Wales. Cars destined for the UK market are built in Germany and Spain.

Well done Fiesta!

Cabbies go cashless

July 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

london cab 300x225 Cabbies go cashlessLondon, and it seems that to get around these days, you don’t need any cash.

Well actually you do, to charge up your Oysters and all that, but a London cab driver is trialling Barclay’s Pingit app for the next week.

It allows the fare on the meter to be transferred between bank accounts within 30 seconds.

Mr Cable, who has been a London black cab driver for 23 years, told the Independent: “I am always up for trying new technology to help make mine and my passengers’ lives easier.”

He’s Mr Future basically, as he was also the first cabbie to accept chip and pin cards in 2004.

“It means I have more time on the road to earn money – rather than stopping off at the bank to pay in my earnings or pulling up at ATMs for passengers with the risk of getting a hefty parking fine,” he added.

Of course, you can still probably get away with doing a runner if you’re that way inclined, but we’d never advise readers to do anything like that.

A man named Darren Foulds, the director of Barclays Mobile and Pingit, said: “We are always keen to support new ways to make people’s lives easier. This trial really demonstrates the huge potential for mobile payments as they gain more widespread use.”

The app will use QR codes (SEE? THERE IS A USE FOR THEM AFTER ALL) and can access any bank account when cash is needed for their fare.

Uber, meanwhile…

Britain is getting a SPACEPORT

July 14th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

space 300x168 Britain is getting a SPACEPORT Apparently ministers are drawing up plans to create a Space Heathrow somewhere in the UK.

They’ll unveil the 8 possible locations for the UK’s first spaceport at the Farnborough Air show tomorrow, which are thought to include sites in the North of Scotland, Bristol, Norfolk and the Outer Hebrides.

But won’t just be Richard Branson and his rich Virgin Galactic berks who will use the spaceport. It’ll also be for manned space missions and satellites.

Talking of Branson, he’s launching his first Virgin Galactic flight later this year from a spaceport in New Mexico. But he’s already been talking about using Lossiemouth, on the east coast of Scotland, as a possible UK base for Virgin Galactic flights.

So will the spaceport be the same as a regular airport, except the departures lounge will be weightless?

Will we still have take off our shoes and put our toiletries in a clear plastic bag?

And will there be a WH Smiths selling a free Mars Bar and Galaxy with every copy of the Daily Teleport?