Saturday, June 15, 2002
Big Bother. Guess what, the Times is running its very own virtual reality elimination game show with a World Cup theme. 12 prominent TV football pundits started off in the virtual house with evictions being decided by an e-mail vote. So far, Big Ron, Gazza and Garth Crooks have all been shown the door. Gabby Logan is clinging on by her fingernails and has to be the next to go. (next elimination is on Monday.)
But the question is who will run out the eventual winner? My money's on Lynam the eternal but there's time yet for the whippersnapper Lineker to drop the puns and give the old Smoothie a run for his money.
In the news
Potters Bar police hunt rail workers
Rural lane limit should be 40mph, say MPs
'No Heathrow in Essex'
Driver forgets half his train
Friday, June 14, 2002
In the news
Railtrack set for takeover deal
Air control safety complaints soar
Congestion charges in the South East - letters in the Times
Another air traffic alarm
Thursday, June 13, 2002
The car share to nowhere
Car sharing. It sounds such a sensible idea. Rather than have lots of cars with only one occupant clogging up the roads wouldn't it be so much better if people shared their cars? It is an idea that periodically comes up. Only today I saw an article on the BBC website extolling the virtues of such a scheme.
Only one problem. It won't work. Take the situation of one driver and one passenger. It may all sound jolly good but what happens if one of them is late in the morning? Or one of them works late? Or they disagree over money, or what radio station to listen to or find out that they can't stand one another? Very soon the whole thing is going to end in tears.
But there is a solution. It is known as a jitney. A jitney is a sort of cross between a bus and a taxi. It's informal. They start off from designated stops, follow a route but often diverge from this depending on what the passengers want. The schedule is flexible. They charge a small fare. According to this article they are often operated by retired or less-well off people. They provide an excellent service to some of the poorest people.
And almost everywhere in the Western world they're illegal.
Jitneys took off in the 1910s and by the 1920s were eating deep into the profits of tram, bus and railway companies. So the big boys lobbied to close down the little boys and just about everywhere got their way. Except in places like Thailand as this photo shows.
In the news
Jambusters eye cellphones
Darling to meet Paddington survivors
Air traffic workload 'threatening safety'
Rail regulation plan scrapped
Power to the car poolers
Whips attempt to 'silence' key critic Dunwoody
Summer strikes spell chaos for airline passengers
Rail safety trainer is suspended
Stansted 'to get new runway'
Mayor seeks Tube funding review
Parking law makes criminals of us all - Simon Jenkins in the Evening Standard
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Good article by Adriana Cronin over on Libertarian Samizdata about the hell on London's roads and how congestion charging won't solve the problem.
In the news
Transport has not gone away over the last few days:
Jarvis defends work record as profit soars
Why a return to state ownership would not deliver a golden age of rail - Telegraph editorial
Labour's jammed-up thinking - another Telegraph editorial
Nuclear fuel train hits lorry on level crossing
Chain of contracting out on railways
Tolls to tackle M25 jams - report
Potters Bar victim demands full inquiry
Big profits rise for Jarvis
Ryanair 'will be biggest in Europe'
Drivers without passengers may face M-way delays
DVT campaigner urges airline action
Record profits for Ryanair
Capital's motorists suspect a red plot
Exclusive: railway workers scandal
How to get a job on our railways
Are you listening, Mr Darling?
Paddington survivor: I want my files
Revealed: tricks of the traffic wardens
EU will enforce late-train refunds
Brussels to rule on £9bn Railtrack bid - EU to rule out Network Rail? I think not.
Gray paves way for airport and Borders rail links - new services in Scotland
Ryanair profits to hit record after passenger numbers soar by 45%
Still no apology from Blair over dirty tricks email
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Regular readers may have noticed a dearth or recent articles. This is due to the World Cup. Quite simply, I am a World Cup addict. I love watching it, I love reading about it, I love wallowing in the stats and I love thinking about it. It does not help that games are played in the morning and consequently tend to knock out the rest of my day. I am half inclined to turn this blog into a World Cup for the duration (or at least until the end of England's campaign). Indeed I was just about coping until we beat Argentina but since then I've been really bad.
For the time being transport seems to have lost its lustre. That is not to say that there aren't lots of people out there saying stupid things - they are. It's just that I have my mind on other things. Frankly, Soviet tanks could roll down the Mall and I would barely notice.
So, it's syonara for now. Ingurando saso!