Saturday, May 09, 2009

London Transport Roundup

Rant warning! This post is one big semi-constructive moan about the state of London Transport. You have been warned!

It's starting to really wind me up that I pay for 7 days of transport a week and receive 5. If the entire tube network is going to be out every weekend for the next year, can they reduce weekly and longer fares by 2/7ths please?

Central Line is starting to cook already. And it's only early May, marvellous.

New advertising all over the hottest lines - Bakerloo, Central etc, where they have enormous video projectors positioned along the platform. TCR has hundreds of flatscreens alongside the escalators. Genius, really good idea to allow all of this to happen before trains with A/C.

New tube trains on order with air-conditioning, despite us being told for years that this wasn't feasible. First line for the new trains (by 2010)? The one line that's okay in the summer - the Met Line! A couple of others not before 2012 and most lines not even planning to introduce cooling in the foreseeable future.

It seems to me that the majority of trains would be much more bearable in the summer with just some relatively simple modifications to ensure air flowing through the carriages - why not fix all windows open, or funnel air through carriages somehow?

Fares up for all main-line trains out of London every year, restrictions on tickets up, opportunity for railcard usage down, but have they got Oyster working yet, even in the suburban areas? Mostly no.

Railcard prices are going up 25%!!

Some new buses seem to have air-conditioning on them, but all windows are fixed closed. Let's hope the A/C doesn't break.

Crossrail disruption is starting - a large section of the ground-space around Tottenham Court Road has been boarded off, making life ever less convenient for pedestrians and cyclists.

Road quality is at an all-time low in London in terms of potholes etc. Cyclists are dying on a regular basis from accidents.

Bank station still seems to be in a mess, how much longer will this be the case for?

Riverboats offer a discount for travelcards, but why aren't they free within zone and with a valid travelcard? Surely this mode of transport should be encouraged, particularly at the weekends when there's no other way of getting around!

Storing a bike in London without it being stolen continues to be a mission. Can the police not set up honeytraps to catch these thieves? I presume a small number of professionals are responsible for most thefts.

Bikes are not allowed on DLR trains at any time. I understand the logic of not allowing bikes on to deep line trains, but the DLR?

The canal is a wonderful artery across London, but the towpath needs some work.

There are two escalators at Edgware Road, which must be some of the most unreliable in history. Good job I usually don't mind walking up, as it's often not a choice anyway. How hard can it be to fix these things? The staff upstairs use the slightest excuse to close the ticket office ("software problems" today). Just because their computer doesn't work, does it mean they can just slack off?

The staffed hours at stations like Royal Oak are Monday to Friday (only) 7:30am - 10am. Does anyone find this acceptable?

Overground stations are also reducing their staff as much as possible, even though often the machines will not dispense the relevant ticket. If you want an advance ticket, or Gold Card discount from a Boundary zone, you need to speak to a person. I don't understand why 1. they can't offer more fare options from the machines 2. why there are far too few ticket machines at all large stations - Victoria and Waterloo in particular.

If you pre-book tickets on the internet to be collected from the station, why do some machines just give you the tickets after reading your credit card (eg Paddington) whereas others (eg Liverpool Street) require a 10 digit alphanumeric reference code?

Why does the Network Card (and Gold Card) discount vary in terms of coverage through distance along each line out of London? For example on the Norwich line you can only get a discount as far as Ipswitch, but on the Cambridge line one gets 1/3 off certain off-peak fares (much reduced) all the way to King's Lynn!

A while ago there was a decision to run tubes later, particularly at weekends, the deal being that they would start earlier. Does this happen? I haven't noticed a huge improvement! When will they run 24x7?!

Why can we not have a system with PAYG where if you fail to have sufficient credit on your card you just top it up on arrival before being allowed out of the gates? This is how it works in Japan.

What happened to using Oyster to pay for other things like newspapers? They ran a trial (in SE London I think), seems to have gone away?

Why is the Heathrow Express allowed to continue to ramp up its shocking and unjustified fares?

That's all for now, folks. I leave you with a couple of pictures of the marvellous sight of the 22,000 tonne aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious which is visiting Greenwich presently, part of celebrations of a hundred years of Fleet Air Arm. At least we have something to be proud of in our god-forsaken capital!:

No comments: