25 2 mins 15 yrs

You couldnt make it up. "Congestion in central London is almost as bad as it was before the daily charge was introduced four years ago, according to official figures. Traffic delays have risen sharply in the past two years and will rise further next week when the zone doubles in size with a westwards extension into Kensington and Chelsea, Transport for London said. The loss of most of the benefits of congestion charging is causing concern in other cities that have been considering whether to follow London’s lead"

Ken Livingstone, is so concerned by the rise in delays …that he is ramming up charges. He said that he hoped that drivers would “take the opportunity to switch to public transport”.

This, KEN, would be the public transport that adds to the congestion – the buses that are backed up from New Oxford Street to Finsbury. The ones that hoover up passengers at bus stops til you cant breathe, were designed for handicapped people and mothers with buggies that you never see on them and which you failed to organise any air conditioning for. Oh and gone are the days when getting on a bus simply required purchasing a ticket from the driver or a grumpy (how i miss them!) conductor. Now it involves something akin to getting your passport to travel abroad more commonly knows as your Lobster ( i mean ‘Oyster’) card.  Since red is his colour: Happy Valentines Day – you bastard.

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25 thoughts on “nothing to see here, move along please

  1. I am convinced, as a driver in London, that there is a systematic attempt to increase congestion. There is no other explanation that fits the facts.

    Livingstone’s admitted as much by stating his aim to "slow traffic down" through putting traffic lights, everywhere, blocking off roads, banning cars from lanes for buses. He wants to slow down traffic to save fatalities, but the increase in congestion and pollution caused by their policies will cause fatalities elsewhere.

    Any other Londoners made this connection? There may be a few more cars in London, but there’s less roads. They channel all vehicles onto one road by blocking off the side roads, and the rat runs, and then dig it up, put in temporary traffic lights, and sit back and watch the gridlock, then say "ooh congestion, we’ll have to introduce a scheme".

    One word explains Ken’s loopy policy: sabotage

  2. Richard – thats a really good point. At the end of my road they are building one of these islands that channels traffic through one side, blocking off access to the main road. The reduction in traffic on one road has resulted in massive traffic jams on the other road which they also added a set of traffic lights to. Very interesting you say that. With the addition of road humps to presumably titilate and amuse the driver it is a wonder drivers havent started killing people.

    Oh yes. And another thing! (lol) whats with cyclists in London? The rules of the road sure as hell dont apply to the Green brigade. Theyve carved up roads to give them special priorities – you get a group of slow starters at the top and the traffic has to wait for them to go through. At the same time if as a pedestrian you step onto a crossing – you need the Gods to be smiling down on you to make it across in one piece. Cyclists ARE all mentalists.

    I think the guy running that e campaign is right about better road management.

  3. Richard,

    "I am convinced, as a driver in London, that there is a systematic attempt to increase congestion. There is no other explanation that fits the facts."

    Well, except that it says that congestion is still only *almost* as bad as prior to the CC, despite increased amounts of road works from the likes of Thames water.

    I don’t know why anyone would drive in London anyway, unless they had to, or just out of pigheadedness. It is a pain in the ass even at weekends. I never found the buses that bad either but haven’t been on them lately, and I really don’t like the tube much.


    "Cyclists ARE all mentalists."

    Hmmph! Well if you had to constantly make decisions between risking death by swerving right into the stream of traffic, or continuing as you are and taking out the pedestrian/motorist who just stepped into your path (with or without flung open car door, but certainly without warning or right of way), you’d understand why!

    As far as the crossings etc go, I generally stop at these. However many pedestrians seem to expect you to be able to read their minds as they abruptly make a 90 degree right onto a zebra crossing that a cyclist is only three feet away from and approaching at speed! And don’t even get me started on the cars turning across cycle lanes…the day they start selling bikes with weapons I’m there.

  4. Frank,

    the report talks about the Central London congestion zone, which is only a small area of London. I am referring to London in general.

    What infuriates me as a motorist in addition to what i say above (systematic sabotage) is that there are many instances where road safety could be improved at minimal cost by putting in a mirror on a blind corner for instance, which we see on the continent all over the place, but this doesn’t cross their minds.

    As a rule, I use public transport for going into central London, as it is the most convenient, and in the past cycled a lot, so treat their cavalier attitudes with a degree of indulgence. But if you want to see the folly of Livingstone, Alison refers to it, go to Oxford Street and follow the bus jam all the way to the British Museum and beyond.

    Some car journeys are no doubt unnecessary, but many are not, and car owners are not all selfish. Non-car owners often rely on family and friends with cars.

    Driving in London now seems like driving in a war zone, what with road blocks springing up at the drop of the hat all over the place. Greenwich is classic. They blocked the High Street and set up a diversion. Then they blocked the diversion and set up another diversion. Now I hear they’re digging that up too. It has to be experienced to be believed. That’s why I say the only logical explanation is systematic sabotage.

  5. And I especially like seeing (all the time) a brand new road hump right next to a pot-hole.

  6. Well ban them then Colm dont milk people for it. Is that what he is saying/doing? I didnt think so, maybe im wrong -I think its a licence to make money. I dont drive but I have sympathy with those that have to and that includes me on a bus. London’s roads are mainly full of three things during the week : buses, taxes and cyclists!

    Frank – i am VERY careful when i open a taxi door, always! Besides cyclists always scream at you huffily as a reminder. OK I admit I do sometimes wind cyclists up on crossings. It is my right of way after all 😉

    But you have to admit some of your fellow cyclists are mental. No stopping at reds for them…I appreciate the need to get momentum to go up inclines etc but still!

    LOL! bikes with weapons, good one. It is warzome out there. And people who walk (as i do mostly to avoid the long red things) will have to start carrying RPGs.

  7. Alison

    Nobody is being milked. They don’t have to drive their cars into the congestion zone, they choose too because they have balanced out the cost analysis of not doing so and chosen to pay – those that do pay of course.

  8. I dont think thats true. Besides you shouldnt be steath taxed specially if it aint working. If you want to ban the car then ban it. Dont pretend to be doing everyone a massive favour whilst creaming off the profits.

  9. What about choice Alison, surely those who are willing to pay the congestion charge however extortionate should be allowed to do so .

  10. If you want to ban the car then ban it. Dont pretend to be doing everyone a massive favour whilst creaming off the profits.

    Exactly Alison, exactly, likewise the tax on air travel. A big, big con! There is a massive parking & car problem where I live in France. Their answer reduce the cost of public transport. No I don’t really think it has made too much difference to the car problem but it does encourage you to use the public transport system when you can. UK fares, etc., have always been the same ‘soak em Dano soak em’!

  11. Colm,

    I fear that the policies of Ken will have long-term destructive effects on business in London, especially in the central zone.

    Take a furniture shop, for instance, or any shop that sells things bigger than a carrier bag. With the imposition of the congestion zone, many shoppers will go to the shop outside the zone.

    Of course the shop could promise to deliver. But this will not reduce congestion or pollution.

  12. And all the while, their speed cameras have done nothing to improve the stats for deaths on the road, and they do nothing about the illegal cars, which no doubt cause a disproportionate number of accidents.

  13. Richard

    We heard in the last day or two that deaths where speed cameras are sited have increased.

    As for illegal cars causing a disproportionate number of accidents, I have no doubt that is the case. And why is there no ‘zero tolerance’ policy for such crimes? Only the law abiding don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

    The underclass and foreigners are the main culprits when it comes to owning uninsured and unroadworthy cars. They are much less likely than the decent people of Britain to turn up for day in court or pay any fine imposed.

    Too much hassle, so let’s not bother.

  14. I don’t understand why Londerers are so passive about Ken Livingstone. He is a total incompetent, and fairly devious to boot, plain as the nose on your face, and yet people continue to put up with him. Toss the bum out.

  15. Notme,

    I’m no Londonder but I understand that Livingstone owes his position to an apathetic voting base amongst indigenous Londoners and an activist vote amongst the many immigrants that crowd into the City. In essence, it is a foreign capital underneath the pretty historical exterior.

  16. David,

    How do immigrants gain the right to vote in the UK? Here in the US it is at least a 5-year process to attain citizenship before voting rights are granted.

  17. As a Londoner I don’t agree entirely with David’s analysis of how Ken was voted in. I believe in the first election he was a genuinely popular anti-govt. choice voted in by an electorate who didn’t like the attempts by Labour to fix the candidature and they admired the fact that Ken quit Labour in order to stand. He won the second election simply because of the poor competition and I do agree general apathy helped too. .

  18. Re the oyster card, perhaps men and women (due to differences in carrying items, wallets versus purses etc) have different experiences, cause I must say I have found it simplicity itself (perhaps because I keep all my cards in the oyster-holder-thingy, so all I’ve had to do is grab that out of my pocket and slap it down willy nilly).

  19. Tom – its not that really – i mean more than the ease of swiping – its a mare if you have anyone staying, what a pain it becomes to make single journey and wantg the cheapest fare. And if you want to know how much is on your card and you take the bus how do you tell- its impossible. Using once in a while is ok but using it every day – its pain running to get on abus and then discovering you need to top up and have to walk half a mile to do that. Only tube sations have flashpoints….

  20. Oh, I see what you mean now. But in case you were unaware, you can top-up automatically, it’s all on the TFL website, Alison. Every time my credit goes below a fiver, it automatically takes £20 out of my bank and tops it up. No need to faff about at the tube stations.

  21. i dont want it to debit automatically if you see what i mean. I just want to add a bit at a time because i had my bag stolen and lost a chunk of money on my card as a result..i hate having money stuck on cards and not knowing when it goes out. And with visitors the savers run out so fast…do you see what i mean?

  22. basically i dont take the bus tube often as i walk so to hop on the bus when convenient is a thing of the past..its crap for that.

  23. I’d quoted a London friend as saying (a year back) that the charge had succeeded in tempering the traffic flow…and someone had asked me to check with him to see what he says now.

    He said…that traffic WAS pretty much as it was four years ago.

    Which is not to say that it could not be worse yet if there was no charge. Some people are driving less due to it, that is clear.

    Again, I think you’re nuts to drive into central London ( or Manhattan ) at peak hours. You wouldn’t want me as your mayor. I’d slap a $100 a day toll in either place, and invest like mad in light rail and subway mass transit.

    Vote for me and I’ll set you free!

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