4 days of sunshine, and oh, what’s that… a tube strike, oh yes: Bob and his cronies are on the war path again! They’re bringing this city to it’s knees holding our tube system to ransom for their jobs; well excuse me Mr Crowe, but your members now work for a private company, that company’s fucked, mainly because of massive inefficiencies, caused; if general consensus is to be believed by ‘your members’ just not working hard enough, you got the guarantee you asked for, but you still went on strike – why on earth should anyone believe you in future? You keep on apologising to Londoners, but that’s not really good enough is it? Maybe, shock horror you could communicate with the companies in question rather than simply resorting to strikes left, right and centre you militant communist fuckwit.
What has happened to the tube this week? The Central line is entirely buggered, it took 25 minutes yesterday to get from Notting Hill Gate to Marble Arch before my impatience got the better of me and I decided to walk the distance from Marble Arch to Soho rather than wait for the train that was crawling from station to station, stopping in tunnels and being held in stations for 5 minutes at a time, and today it seems to be totally up-the-chuff again with severe delays and people calling you to use the buses instead of the tube, add to that the Hammersmith & City and Circle line running with delays due to the bizarre excuse of ‘too few trains?’ and a host of other signal, track and train failures on the District, Victoria, Bakerloo, Piccadilly and Northern Lines.
Every Londoner is aware that the tube isn’t the most reliable service in the world, but generally it holds up remarkably well considering the ineptness of it’s engineering upkeep and the constant battle between public and private organisations into who, and how it should be run/run by, but this week is ridiculous; the whole system seems to have simply fallen over and given up, on Monday getting a train from any of my local stations was entirely out of the question, yesterday was slow and today seems almost as bad a Monday, and all this while we’re being told fares are rising, our Oyster cards are being spied on, our taxes are being pissed into Metronet’s profit margins and all whilst the system is falling apart in front of our eyes.
This is supposed to be a world class city, I mean we’re talking about spending £8 Billion on the Olympics and yet we can’t even seem to get our own workforce into work without delaying and inconveniencing them at every step. As someone that was totally against PPP around my depression at our public transport network is a silver lining that I was totally justified in whining about the change-over to PPP which, I don’t think anyone can argue, has proved to be a complete and total disaster.
Posted in London
Tagged London, Tube
Some random photos of an average day…
The tube is always featured in the days when I actually get away from the house and have to go into town or the office; and here’s something I spotted a few days ago; I mean let’s face it every average day you find at least one odd ball on the tube, but this one was special: this guy was on the northern line and in his rucksack he had lots of paper cuttings that he was meticulously stitching together with sellotape and pritstick, I have no idea what it was, ever so often a cutting would come out and be placed on top of the stuff out of the paper, and this was inevitably followed by 30 seconds of frantic scribbling with a yellow highlighter – you never know, we could have been sharing a tube car with the next Turner Winner…
Oooo, in all the excitement yesterday, I failed to mention that Queensway is open again, and very nice it’s looking too: a couple of things though, first, it’s a bit rough around the edges, take a look at the inter-platform passage ways, look up at the new cowling that houses all the gubbins and wiring and note that it still seems to be held together with tie-raps, it just looks like there’s something missing. Second I’m surprised (although not in the least bit bothered) that the gate-line machines in the main hall have not been updated (seen as the new side corridor exit have)…. other than that it looks good, clean, tidy, well put together although a little blank without the adverts.
The reason I’m not that bothered about the gate-line is that I personally think the older ‘slam door’ ticket machines are much better than the new ‘smooth-opening’ ticket machines, they open more promptly regardless of whether you’re using Oyster or Paper-tickets the older machines are just so much quicker to get through, they just ‘bang’ open, as oppose to the new ones which slowly slide open holding you up – or you end up crashing into them (and they don’t give much!) either… it’s one of those annoyances in life where technology has actually slowed us down rather than speeding us up: much like Oyster in fact, where I spent the best part of quarter of an hour swapping out my ‘fouled’ Oyster card for a fresh virgin one that works without taking it out of it’s wallet (or indeed mine) and doesn’t take 4 attempts to charge it every time you go to the ticket machines.
It’s been announced today that the opening of Queensway is to be delayed even further having already sailed past two deadline Metronet have still not satisfied London Underground’s safety regulations, and as frustrating as it is to see that it’s not going to be finished, as it’s a station I use (or more to the point need to use) all the time, it is however refreshing to see London Underground finally standing up to itself, for three reasons:
- First: PPP which caused this ridiculous split in the running and maintenance of the tube is shown not to work, so long as the shareholders are paid the Private companies are happy to run late deadlines at the expense of LU and it’s customers
- Second: LU staff put up with a huge amount of abuse when things don’t work, a lot of the time this is due to poor maintenance and investment, but LU can’t do anything about it, people needto know that it’s not LU’s fault, as frustrating as it may be LU are in the same boat as the rest of us
- Third: LU have taken the blame in the past, privately they may have fumed, but in public they’ve graciously accepted they need to do better knowing full well that there’s absolutely nothing they can do within their powers to change things or speed things up
It’s about time this Government took a long hard look at PPP, it’s not working for the London Underground, and it’s not working elsewhere, there can’t be a split between the people in the frontline and the people behind the scenes, either privatise completely or let a state run it, Privatisation done well actually does work, imagine for one second if LU was a completely private company, can you imagine what would happen if the shareholders were penalised every time something like this happened because they’re having to refund passengers (and yes we’re passengers not fucking customers), the rush to make things better so the passenger was happy and not asking for refunds every week would be huge. I know I’m likely to be strung up for suggesting that the tube should be privatised, but would you trust Blair to do it on his own… and let’s face it, anything’s got to be better than the shit we’ve had under PPP?
Some great LU blogs…
Posted in London
Tagged London, TFL, Tube
Yet another story from the Underground: a tragic death of a young lad on the underground, killed because he was stupid enough to go on the tracks, having seen a few suicides on the tube in my years and knowing the effect they’ve had on friends who work on the tube I’m constantly amazed that people, especially young lads, take their own personal safety so brazenly: not only do the trains weigh god knows how many tonnes, but they’re traveling at up to 50mph and on two tracks charged – 220volts and +440volts DC, not only will they give you a belt, they’ll give you a belt that you won’t get blown away from and that’ll burn you badly.
So why not think, think about the people who have to pick up the pieces, the people who get held up, even think about your own families, just do *think* before you act like a prat and fry on the lines.
This still is from the new TfL cinema advert, also being shown in a limited fashion on the new digital panels at Tottenham Court Road, note the tag line taken from this still shown on the TfL website, First stop Charing Cross, which would be great, if that weren’t Baker Street, you’d think the four distinct references to ‘Baker Street’ would have been a bit of a giveaway and the fact that the now disused Jubilee line platforms at Charing Cross are lime green, not burnt orange.
Deep, deep joy… no really, I’m just so totally, like – ecstatic about this: Tube to run later at weekends. Not only will an early morning tube on Sunday’s for anyone that fancies getting out early (especially to Heathrow) now stuffed, but it also means that for an extra hour every Friday and Saturday night the whole of Essex and Kent will have an extra hour to vomit, piss and shag all over London’s west end. How about just fixing the tube, rather than screwing it up even more: I dread to think the extra clean up, the extra staff and frankly the extra stress this’ll cause anyone that works station-side on the tube and for anyone unfortunate enough to live around one of the busy Zone 1 stations.
Posted in London, News
Tagged London, TFL, Tube
If dear old Ken thinks this is a good idea, then it might be an idea to bring forward the annual service; just to make sure all the screws are correctly tightened. It’s not going to encourage the Mum’s off the road, and it’s not going to make things any easier because if any kids are encouraged to use public transport it’s going to be slap bang in the middle of the morning rush hour when it’s busy enough already: Just picture your packed morning tube, or bus depending on which you use… it’s bad enough normally isn’t it, normally you’re sharing your 5mm of space with at least 2 copies of metro and an already distinctly unkempt armpit – can you honestly imagine wanting to add a class load of screaming pushing fighting kids? Because let me tell you now dear Ken they’re not going to be sitting quietly…A perfect example of this is the DLR from either Poplar or Canary Wharf toward Shadwell at around 3.30 – packed with kids, all pushing shoving, screaming and worse.
What’s next on the freebie list? We already give free transport to anyone involved in London transport, plus I believe the Police and some other emergency services, now we’ve got anyone in education under 18… I mean what’s left, how about free travel passes for anyone in full time work between the ages of 18 and say 65; I mean we use it, we pay for it in fares and taxes and council tax too, surely there must be some wiggle room there? It’s absolutely stupid to think that just by giving it away for free it’s going to make the kids that are currently being ferried about in Mummy’s 4×4 think twice, because it won’t, and the Mum’s wouldn’t allow it anyway not with all of the Daily Mail’s paedophiles, lunatics, asylum seekers and rapists roaming the streets… I mean, it’s not safe is it?
Unfortunately the only thing that’s going to get kids to make their own way to school is a complete sea-change in the attitude of today’s parents, from age 5 I’ve walked or taken a bus or tube to school, then college and now work – it’s something that’s in-grained in me, I know how the systems work, I know how to behave and I know what to do when for one reason or another one method of locomotion fails… today’s kids because they’re wrapped up in cotton wool believing they’re an adult from age 7 when in-fact they know fuck all about the outside world wouldn’t have a clue.
So it’s been announced (after much discussion) that Shoreditch Station on the East London Line is to close after the planners finally settled their differences with the conservationists regarding the fate of a little known Grade 2 listed viaduct/goods yard, it’ll be the first permanent station closure on the underground since Aldwych was closed and the Epping to Ongar end of the Central line was sliced off in 1994.
Get down their now to get photos of the building as unlike some of London Underground’s other relics I fear the building itself may not survive long after it’s closure as it’s on prime land to be redeveloped as part of the cities’ inexorable push East. The official closing date is 9th June 2006. It must be said, as glad as I am that they’re finally getting on with the East London Line Extension, it’d be nice to finish a few other projects before starting… maybe for example; finishing Notting Hill Gate tube station?