Posts Tagged ‘public transport’

Looks like the whole of England is going Oyster mad

November 3rd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

oyster swipe Looks like the whole of England is going Oyster madBus companies have been looking at London’s Oyster system rather enviously and it looks like the whole of England wants to try it out.

Initially, we’re looking at the largest urban areas in the country who will be getting a similar service, and of course, some places already have their own versions.

Greater Manchester passengers will be the first to get the new format, rolled out in 2015. Presumably, it’ll be an extension of the ‘Get Me There’ card which already exists in Manchester, enabling people to get on the trams.

In the West Midlands, a number of public transport operators are already part of the Swift scheme.

These swipey payment cards are going to be implemented in Tyne and Wear, Merseyside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire too. Nottingham, Leicester and Bristol might be having them as well. Everyone wants to go cashless.

So, if you catch a bus that is owned by Arriva, Stagecoach, First, Go Ahead and National Express, chances are that, soon enough, offering actually money to a driver will be no use to anyone.

In a joint statement, the chief executives of the companies involved said the move would deliver a “wider benefit than the capital’s Oyster system”, adding: ”Millions of people in our biggest city regions will benefit from this transformational initiative to provide London-style smart ticketing. Bus operators share the aspirations of our city regions to become growing economic powerhouses and we know high quality public transport is an important part of making that happen.”

Sadly, these cards can’t do a thing about crazy, ranting bus drivers.

Women eating. It’s so GROSS, isn’t it? Especially if they eat on the tube. I mean, what are they thinking? Surely they should just look nice and subsist on air, rather than subjecting us all to their vile public mastication?

Eating Chocolate Bar Women Eat on Tubes to demonstrate against Women Who Eat on Tubes

That seems to be the thinking behind the crap Facebook page Women Who Eat on Tubes, where people are encouraged to post their HILARIOUS invasions of people’s privacy. The page is crammed with candid shots of random women, hungry and tired and eating a takeaways on the underground. Ha. Ha. So funny. Look at her! Eating! Does she have no shame?

Bizarrely, WWEOT has 18,000 members, but hot on its heels come two other Facebook groups who want to kick its ass. The groups, both set up by women, are staging events in opposition to the page. One, called the ‘Circle Line Lunch Party’ takes place on the 14th of April, encouraging women to scoff on the train.

The other group, straightforwardly named ‘Women Can Eat Wherever The F*** They Want’ is asking women to go to their nearest tube station on the 10th of April and eat on public transport.

It’s doubtful that the shady creeps who post on WWEOT will come down with their cameras to see them scoffing cream cakes and sandwiches, but Lucy Brisbane McKay, who dreamed up the Circle Line Lunch Party said:

Lucy ‘I thought the best thing was to get the power. This is about turning it around and putting the joke on the lads posting on the page.’

Don’t mess with the ladies. We will eat you for breakfast. On the tube.

What do you hate most about public transport?

February 25th, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

train1 What do you hate most about public transport?Public transport eh? A wonderful thing and occasionally, hellish beyond belief. Concerning the latter, a survey has been conducted to see what we all hate most about riding the train or sitting on a bus.

With any luck, those dreadful annoying humans that cause such grievances will read this and realise how annoying they are.

It’s not going to happen is it?

Topping the list of annoying habits, people who try and jump on a train before everyone has got off have swatted aside all other bugbears. Other actions which grate us all include the scum who hog seats with their bags, the gits who read over your shoulder and those who sit in a reserved seat without a ticket. That last one doesn’t seem like a big deal if you’ve got the nerve to tell them to sling it. What’s wrong with you soft arses?

Other irritants included those who loudly talk on their mobile, people who get off with each other and those who still have their keypad tones on. The latter, in fairness, should be thrown off the train. While it is moving. Then there’s drunk passengers, children and people who eat smelly food, too.

Gareth Woodhouse from redspottedhanky.com said: ‘’Sometimes we can get a bit wrapped up in our own journeys or have a lot on our minds and it can make us less considerate of those around us. The ability to put up with things that annoy us is quite a British trait but it’s inevitable that certain behaviours test our patience more than others. Clearly those who can’t wait for the train to clear before boarding or people hogging seats can rile us but with a little more consideration and some common sense train travel can be comfortable and efficient for everyone.’’

Here are the top annoying habits:

1) People forcing themselves on when others are still getting off
2) Smelling bad
3) Drunken behaviour
4) People playing ringtones/music through speakers
5) Others kicking the back of your seat constantly
6) Parents not controlling their children, even when they’re grabbing at your face
7) People who don’t give up their seat for others who need it more
8) Playing music too loudly over headphones
9) Eating noisily
10) Putting feet on seats

For the rest of the list, click over the jump

Read the rest of this entry »

London buses: no longer accepting cash

February 3rd, 2014 22 Comments By Mof Gimmers

oyster swipe London buses: no longer accepting cashLondon bus drivers won’t be accepting cash fares from passengers as soon as this summer, according to Transport for London (TfL). This news comes on the back of only one third of people polled being supportive of the idea.

Soon, if you want to ride the bus, you will only be able to do so with an Oyster Card or with contactless debit or credit card payments. With other cities, like Manchester, moving toward similar systems to Oyster Cards, this could be rolling out across the country in the next couple of years.

The TfL say that only 1% of journeys are paid for with cash, so this isn’t going to affect many people and that it will provide millions in savings for the transport service.

Leon Daniels, managing director for TfL’s Surface Transport said: “The decision to stop accepting cash fares on London buses reflects the changing way that people pay for goods and services in our city, including journeys on the bus network.”

The great news for the people of London is that they will now be able to travel in complete silence and avoid talking to anyone at all from now on, which is something they seem to glumly revel in.

train 287x300 Increases in rail fares come complete with signal failures and delays!So, today, most of you are back at work. What’s worse than going back to work after the Christmas holidays? Public transport in 2012, that’s what. And people catching the train to work this week will be having their patience tested sorely as grim weather, signal failures, delays and fare rises all kick you repeatedly while you’re down.

However, adding small cheer (or large irritation depending on your outlook), the 6% rise in tickets was met with a protest at St Pancras.

While depressed passengers stumbled around in the dark and damp, they were met by a New Orleans-style jazz band dressed as the Thomas the Tank Engine character the Fat Controller while other protesters from the TSSA rail union carried placards slagging Prime Minister David Cameron off.

Members of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) joined in the protest too, handing out leaflets which invited commuters to speak their brains to the Treasury so Chancellor George Osborne can invariably ignore your gripes.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This is just the start of three years of real pain for all passengers. The £4,000 annual season ticket is now commonplace in south east England. By 2015, the £5,000 annual season ticket will be commonplace as well, thanks to ministers insisting on (RPI) inflation plus an extra 3% on top of that in 2013 and 2014.

“Mr Cameron talks glibly about everyone sharing the pain. Well, rail passengers are taking the biggest share of the pain while ministers and MPs travel for free on the most expensive network in Europe.”

In addition to that, London Underground and London bus fares also went up from January 2nd, rising by an average of 5.6%. Still, at least loads of your money is being thrown at the Olympic eh? That’s nice isn’t it?

train1 297x300 British Rail commuters pay ten times European counterparts, which is just brilliantIf you bought a 2011 season ticket from Woking to London with tube travel, you’ve paid a handsome £3,268. Now, if you did that same journey from Velletri to Rome on an Italian ticket, you would have paid a measly £336.17, according to figures from the Campaign for Better Transports (CBT).

Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you thrilled? The weather is invariably nicer in Italy too and they probably get free wine on-board.

And the CBT have been looking at similar 24 mile journeys around Europe, showing just how much more us saps cough-up compared to everyone else.

And the best bit of course is that our fares are going up from January 2nd by an average of six per cent!

Speaking on Sky News, shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: “UK rail commuters are taking a hit year after year after year, and all they are trying to do is to get to work.”

“It does not have to be like this. We need to look at how the Europeans run their railways.”

‘Til then, everyone buy as many motorcars as humanly possible in a bid to make the Earth die before we’re priced out of living entirely!

TfL trial bus timetable app

September 7th, 2011 6 Comments By Mof Gimmers

47861821 nbfl no 08 broadgate 140510 300x167 TfL trial bus timetable app

Despite great advances in technology in almost all areas of our lives, one thing that remains crashingly antiquated is our wheezing public transport system.

In particular, our buses are a farce. They stink, are filled with hideous, wretched humans and never, ever arrive when they’re supposed to.

Still better than walking though.

So with that, Transport for London are using smartphone technology to help you catch one of these human battery farms on wheels. TfL is trialling a ‘countdown’ service, which lets you know when the next bus is supposed to arrive at your chosen stop, which means you can leg it for the bus or watch your life ebb away while you stand motionlessly sobbing at the bus-stop.

The Guardian reports that the service’s existence leaked out after an internal memo was sent to all TfL staff telling them about it, at countdown.tfl.gov.uk. As well as the beta site, there’s also a mobile test version, which looks to be ‘developers only’ at the moment.

Much like Edinburgh’s MyBusTracker, this will enable you to know when your next bus is due. Basically, enter your street, postcode, route number or bus stop code and it’ll tell you what you need to know.

Apparently, once the system is fully working, you’ll be able to send a text with your bus stop code to receive realtime bus arrival times for that stop, according to TfL.

Now, all we need is everywhere else to sort an app out, seeing as the vast majority of Britain doesn’t live in London and Edinburgh.

train1 297x300 FixMyTransport   an easier way to moan about rubbish train ridesIf you’re regularly piddled off with public transport but don’t know how you can complain when a journey goes catastrophically wrong, things just got a lot easier.

mySociety, the good folk behind TheyWorkForYou, the get-in-touch-with-your-MP site, have today launched FixMyTransport, your one-stop solution for having a gripe about a late train or a broken bus.
It couldn’t be simpler – mySociety say that it is…

Easy You don’t have to know who to contact or even which operator runs the line; all you need to know is where you were travelling to and from. We’ll automatically send your report to the right contact.
Transparent Transport operators are accountable: your report will also be publicly visible online to anyone, and so will the operators’ replies.
Social FixMyTransport automatically creates campaigns. When someone makes a report about the same issue as you, you’ll be grouped together on the site, creating more impact than all the complaints individually.

As far as transport providers are concerned, the hope is that complaints to them about certain issues will be grouped together as opposed to being more disparate. Also, the transparency of the system will mean that they’ll be able to show passengers what they’re doing about a problem. Of course, they’ll also feel more obliged to engage with their customers and be seen to come up with solutions and resolutions.

So go on readers – get out there and get yourself embroiled in a crappy piece of public transport action. That way you can try it out and let us know if it works.

Nobody wants a stupid high-speed rail link

June 24th, 2011 19 Comments By Mof Gimmers
fast train Nobody wants a stupid high speed rail link

A really fast train, yesterday

The government are spending £32 billion on a high speed rail link, and what with everyone being up a certain creek without a paddle, people are incredibly wary.

According to a poll commissioned by The Taxpayers’ Alliance, it appears that there’s a lot of people in Britain who aren’t particularly thrilled at this new scheme. In fact, 48 per cent of people want to see the scheme scrapped entirely and only 34 per cent are actually supportive of the link that will be  capable of carrying trains travelling at 250mph.

If successful, a train journey from London to Manchester will be one hour and 20 minutes long. Imagine how spectacular a crash would be. No-one would survive.

Matthew Sinclair, the director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, says: “The public support alternatives that would blunt the need for some particularly painful measures and make room for lower taxes. There is strong support for cutting expensive projects like high speed rail, which they don’t see as the right use of their cash”

However, the government are looking at the project as if it is some kind of magic cure to close the economic gap splitting Britain. For starters, it might shut the mouths of those whining about the BBC’s decision to ship a load of jobs away from London to Manchester. It takes longer to travel across London than it does to get to the North by train as it is.

The Transport Secretary Philip Hammond says: “I believe that it is not possible for Britain to maintain its prosperity in the 21st century in an increasingly competitive, global economy unless we can close the growth gap between the north and the south.”

That said, the whole thing is a way off yet, with the first phase of HS2 due for completion by 2026, and will benefit people in Leeds and Manchester… but not Scotland who will have to pay for it, but see no tangible benefits at all, which must be nice for them.

Still, it won’t matter much if we’re all crushed into one carriage on a train that arrives late.

angrythomas 300x225 Soaring prices, overcrowding, delays   and a 90 year high for train travel

"And you lot can go and piss off" said Thomas

According to the amazingly interesting folks of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC from now on) there were a whopping 1.32 billion train journeys 2010.

The last time more people used the railways was in 1923. Alas, since that time, there’s much less track since the “Beeching Axe” in the 60s which saw huge amounts of rail being tossed aside in favour of… well… nothing.

And so, with demand for train travel clearly on the rise, it is irritating to consider that, on top of less tracks (and thereby, less choice), we’re also going to be hit with a price increase and not see an improvement in service.

Wonderful.

“2010 was a year of strong growth in rail journeys, as demand bounced back from the recession and passenger numbers rose to levels not witnessed in peacetime Britain since the 1920s,” says Michael Roberts, ATOC’s chief executive. “With well over a billion journeys made last year, the last time rail travel was this popular train crews were shovelling coal into steam engines and many carriages were still lit by gaslight.”

Alexandra Woodsworth, of the Campaign for Better Transport, is worried: “The rise in passenger numbers on the railway is welcome news but we are very concerned that this trend will be reversed by the hefty fare rises we saw this January, and the worse that is to come next year.”

“Saving a few pence on cheap advance tickets hardly makes up for paying hundreds more for a season ticket each year. The Government has recently admitted that the fare increases won’t even bring relief for overcrowding, which means we are running the very real risk of pushing people off the railway. Instead, we need to support the growth of train travel with cheaper, simpler, fairer fares.”

overcrowded train Thought trains were overcrowded? Its going to get worse say MPsIt’s always galling when The Powers That Be tell you that you should be going green and using public transport, especially in light of the fact that, for the most part, public transport can be a hellish experience.

What’s worse is when you read a report saying it will probably get worse.

And so, in a report from MPs, it’s thought that overcrowding on trains in England and Wales will get substantially worse over the next four years, despite the fact the price of tickets will be going up. Wonderful.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the Department for Transport’s own plans suggested targets for increasing passenger places would be missed. Chairwoman of the PAC Margaret Hodge said MPs were concerned that the “already unacceptable levels of overcrowding will simply get worse and ever more intolerable”.

Her report – Increasing Passenger Rail Capacity – said the main problem was a lack of any incentive for the industry to supply extra capacity without additional taxpayer support. At the moment, train operators are required to use “reasonable endeavours” to give peak passengers “a reasonable expectation of a seat within 20 minutes of boarding”, but alas, there’s no legal obligation to expand the amount of carriages or improve stations.

This means that the taxpayer has to provide funds to Network Rail to carry out any upgrade work, which inevitably never comes.

One of the solutions suggested, apart from longer platforms, is that more operators should employ a smart card service (like the Oyster Card) which would allow train companies the chance to use the information about passenger numbers, which would hopefully help them to tackle the problem of overcrowding.

Hodge told the BBC that rail operating companies in the UK were more inefficient than those in other countries, so any reforms must be properly overseen. “We don’t think the regulator has been doing a particularly good job. We think it’s time to look again at the way that Network Rail and the operating companies are accountable to the public,” she said. “They don’t seem to think about how to use public money more efficiently. They think that the answer always lies in more taxpayers’ money or in commuters paying higher fares.”

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, described the report as a “shocking indictment of the total failure of rail privatisation”. He added: “Passengers are forced to pay through the nose to travel in obsolete and overcrowded carriages while private train operating companies are laughing all the way to the bank.”

Best start the car up…

The greatest bus in the universe is coming

August 3rd, 2010 16 Comments By Paul Smith

Forget the jetpacks for just a moment, this is how your getting to work in 2030. It’s a 3d fast bus, or a ‘straddling’ bus, and it’s quite possibly the greatest bus every to adorn the planet. Actually, we can’t think of any buses that may compete for the title, and would therefore welcome your suggestions. It certainly beats Boris’s London Routemasters into a cocked a hat, and it’s the future of transport in Beijing’s Mentougou District:

straddling bus The greatest bus in the universe is coming

The pilot scheme will see a 40km long path built for the bus, which will carry up to 1,400 commuters at a time, while still allowing traffic to pass by. Or under. Or through. Whatever. It will cost just 10% of building the equivalent length of subway, and could reduce traffic jams by nearly a third. To be honest, it could also be an entirely made-up story plucked from the pages of the now-defunct News without News, in that you don’t need a single word of copy to know what the story is:

Bitterwallet straddling bus no idea what that says 360x500 The greatest bus in the universe is coming[ChinaHush] via [Engadget]

NSFW: A straight talking train message

July 16th, 2010 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Trains are the bane of our lives. Well, those of us who are daft enough to use ‘em. There’s always a spurious reason for delays, such as “there’s a patch of remorse on the line” or “the train is just to depressed to move any quicker”. Well, here’s a train that is completely honest about its plight.

train fucked 375x499 NSFW: A straight talking train message[OddlySpecific]

Those of us who have to use public transport on a regular basis have seen our fair share of freaks and deviants, but if you got on the train later this evening and saw this going down, would you change carriages at the next stop or move closer to get a better look?

Those of a nervous disposition look away now – everyone else, follow me… Read the rest of this entry »

Britain’s worst train stations named and shamed

November 17th, 2009 17 Comments By Mof Gimmers

how to draw a steam train 10 Britains worst train stations named and shamed

The idea of getting a train fills me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Travelling through the countryside at great speed… stretching out your legs as a nice old lady brings you tea.

Of course, the reality of a train journey snaps you out of it as you’re penned up like battery chickens on stinking carriages that invariably turn up late to a platform that tells you nothing and offers no shelter from the relentless downpour. And you can never find a pisser when you need one.

Not all train stations are rubbish… just most of them. But which are the worst? Well, a new report has come out naming the 10 worst railway stations in the country… and gutted if you live in the North West.

Manchester Victoria received the lowest satisfaction rating, followed by Clapham Junction, in south London, and Crewe, in Cheshire, according to the inspectors’ report, which calls on the Government to invest £50 million to carry out urgent improvements.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis (that can’t be his real name, surely?!), who witnessed the dilapidated state of some stations when he toured the country by train last summer, is due to visit 10 of the worst performers today, beginning at Clapham Junction.

The others bad’uns, as identified in the Station Champions report by Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green, were Barking, Stockport, Preston, Wigan North Western, Liverpool Central, Warrington Bank Quay and Luton. They were identified in a report by the Station Champions – Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green.

Lord Adonis said: “While touring the rail network in April this year, I was struck by the great variation in the passenger facilities at stations. Train travel has improved a good deal in recent years, but more needs to be done to improve conditions and services for passengers at stations.

“I want every station to be a good station – a hub of local community life and somewhere that you wouldn’t mind spending time, with adequate facilities. I support the report’s recommendations of minimum standards for stations – classed by size – in terms of information, car and bike parking, facilities and environment. I intend to make these minimum standards a requirement in future rail franchise agreements with train operating companies.”

Sir Peter and Mr Green said: “Stations are deeply entwined with their local community and effectively act as the gateway to both town and railway. They leave passengers with their lasting impressions of both. A dilapidated station is bad business for both town and railway.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, said: “Passengers standing on wind-swept platforms across Britain should be able to find out if their train is coming or not. There are all too many stations that do not have any real-time information and in the 21st century this is outrageous. Today’s report highlights this issue, and supports our position that real-time information should be standard, not a luxury.”

Why don’t you share your miserable experience in Britain’s train stations in the comments?

[Independent]