Friday, 17 July 2009

Travel For London...

London is sinking in a mess of poorly thought out and poorly implemented travel systems.

When the London Underground first started 1863, the population of London was only about 2,800,000 people. Now it's about 7,500,000 (possibly more as these are estimates from last year). The transport network has not really improved since the old days.

Minimal new tube lines have been built. Minimal efficiency gains have been garnered. Many more people have cars for two reasons - 1) you have to as the public transport is so bad and 2) they are cheaper and more affordable.

The only major change recently has been the congestion charge, which has not really changed things in my, the common person's, view. The cost of operating this awful scheme is massive, you cannot check if you actively need to pay the charge because they DON'T KEEP records! No way of checking them. Awesome labour bureaucracy, over-spending and non-transparency.

Now what they need, especially with the Olympics in mind, is a MASSIVE MASSIVE improvement.

The tube system - it's ok, but over-priced, over-staffed (by striking greedy people by the looks of the strikes. £40,000 a year for pushing a lever, sod off!), and hugely inefficient. Additionally it only serves North London effectively!

My idea is for new lines/re-opening of the old ones. The West-East Cross-Rail is good but not enough. There were plans for an Express Northern Line in the 1940s utilising the Deep Shelters from the war. But these were shelved due to cost. This should be re-established to take the pain off the worst line on the system.

Extensions/new lines west from Clapham to Putney to link up the district, northern, victoria and bakerloo line would be a boon.

Finally I think a big exterior circle line is needed, a la Moscow. Seeing as London's Underground only moves 1.2 billion a year compared to Paris' 1.4 billion (at a fraction of the cost and twice as quick). You have to ask the question why?

Is it:
a) cost
b) poor routing
c) too unbearably hot
d) all of the above

I think a reduced cost, a better system and you might find that no one bothers with cars. Plus they need to re-open the ventilation systems. Remove all the high power, high heat electrical systems that you can and get some fresh air circulating!

Buses... more needed, more often and more routes. Better once they figure out how to fix the tube.

iPhone

My new iPhone is actively awesome.

I'm almost quite upset that I've been resisting getting one before now. They are almost stupidly easy to use. It's annoying and addictive and also a fantastic phone. The apps system works very well indeed, allowing endless customisation within the sandbox of the optimum iphone environment.

I think the massive amount of freeware and cheap software means endless fun. Additionally they are always improving - now my research papers are on my iphone with Papers and I can fiddle with things in DocumentsToGo the mail program and calendar are a godsend.

Until I broke my WinMo 6.1 phone I didn't realise how much I used it. Now I have an iPhone I can't believe I battled away with that absolute crud that is the WinMo 6.1 interface, I am such a muppet.

I use it for life and Tube Deluxe and London Buses make the maze of London's awful travel network a breeze!

The iPod is bloody good too.

Seriously. Ignore that haters and get yourself one. You will not regret it I promise!