Posts tagged ‘travel’

The government has decided to ‘help’ the car industry by giving a £2000 discount on new cars if you scrap a car that’s more than 10 years old.

The discount will be funded 50/50 by the government and the industry.

Before you party too much, lets take a look at the figures…

You know that £2000 50/50? Well, car manufacturers are amongst the only industry to have put their list prices up this year. A Ford Focus convertible (for example) is a £1000 more expensive than last year. That £1000 that will now be discounted in this scheme.

You know the carbon that this will save? Well, lets assume you drive a ten year old Jeep Cherokee 3.7l Automatic – you know, a good low emissions car. That chugs through 333g of carbon/km. Replacing it with a new car will generate 10-20000lb of carbon. I’ll do the maths for you… you could do 17,000miles on the carbon generated just by the production of your new car.

Assume you replaced your Jeep with a Prius. That Prius is still generating 103g/km… So with the fuel your Prius has burnt on those 17,000 miles, you could do another 6,000 miles in the Jeep.

You’re looking at over 25,000 miles before the Prius’ even coming close…

So, we’re supporting a crap industry who are ‘discounting’ money they’ve already added while the world is in recession. We’re pumping out carbon for no gain. We’re destroying our future classic cars by crushing good quality cars that have yet to start appreciating back up past the £2000 mark.

I’m really rather disappointed.

I put in a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the 13 miles of speed averaging cameras that monitor the road between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Like all such cameras they are front facing, so they can’t catch motorbikes and they have to deal with the glare of headlights. This doesn’t seem much like a ‘safety’ measure to me. If you want to encourage safe driving, surely you would want to have an effect at night, when the roads are more dangerous? You’d also want to keep an eye on those soft and squidgy fast moving types on motorbikes, wouldn’t you? If all you were interested in was making some money, wouldn’t you aim the cameras at the front of the cars where you can take photos of the drivers of cars?

So, I asked for information on how many cars, bike and lorries were given fines every months, broken down by time of day. My expectation was that there would be no bikes at all and that cars and lorries wouldn’t be caught at night.

The response came back today.

Cambridgeshire Police have refused the request on the grounds of law and health and safety…

“For camera enforcement to be truly effective there must be the perception that the chances of being recorded are high at all times”.

“The disclosure of specific data on camera sites would make camera deployment less effective, which would impact on the safety of road users at large”

So, in short, they have refused to tell me about the effectiveness of speed cameras on reducing speeding because they don’t work well enough for the data not to make people think they are crap.

Well done boys…

Feb 2009
Snow joke

Overnight there was an inch of snow. One whole fucking inch. How has the world reacted? By panicing. The roads in town are jammed and the police are advising people don’t drive.

You useless fuckers. Learn how to drive.

For christs sakes, there was a woman on the radio yesterday (the font of all knowledge Sara Cox, no less) talking about how dangerous the roads were and how she started braking and the car just slid, and kept sliding and she couldn’t do anything, and how she had to just sit there as the car slid and slid and danced across the road and…

You know what? Here’s a fucking idea – if you are out of controll with your foot on any pedal, any pedal at all, take a risk, go out on a limb and TAKE YOUR FUCKING FOOT OFF THE PEDAL. You’re already out of control, it can’t get any worse.

This rant was brought to you by the weather condition ‘snow’ and the mood ‘pissed off’.

Dec 2008
Food is for wimps

I’m not enjoying this week.

Today i woke up with toothache, earache, sore throat (why doesn’t the throat deserve an ‘ache’?) and a hacking cough. I decided to spend the morning carving the feet needed to level off our sideboard and the new fishtank. At twelve I turned off my PC and gave up on that plan. Decided to have breakfast.

By half one I was down in Letchworth. I witnessed the funniest carpark argument I’ve ever seen, but which I can’t even begin to do justice to without about a dozen toy cars, some masking tape, half a dozen bemused pedestrians and a a woman terrified by her own car. Wandered around, discovered that the shops I wanted had closed. Realised I still needed to have breakfast.

By half two I was at the hospital visiting Granny. I spent an hour just sitting next to her, my arm across the back of her chair while she pointed at the Christmas tree, held my hand, tried to hide biscuits in pockets she doesn’t have and occasionally answered rhetorical questions asked by the guy on the TV program everyone else was watching. No idea when she’s escaping. The social workers can’t get their act in gear until the 30th, and even then it depends on when they can find a nursing placement or enough gadgetry to turn her house into a warehouse. They want us to choose the ‘home’ option. Realised that breakfast was probably a lost cause and wondered about lunch.

By half four I was at a different hospital visiting Pop. He was still in the assessment ward when I got there, but he was sleeping so I settled down to play games on my phone. They wanted to discharge him today, but the consultant discovered that he lives alone and has refused to discharge him until they can get a social consult to put together a care package. No-one knows what this actually means, other than that it won’t happen until at least Monday. Yes, after xmas. By the time I got around to leaving I realised the flaw in my plan was putting a time-descriptive label on the food I wasn’t buying. Solved the problem by buying biscuits and red bull.

I timed the drive home tonight. The traffic was about what it had been on Sunday afternoon and it took 45 minutes. On Sunday it took me just under 30 minutes. It would appear I still know how to drive quickly. Some day I’ll discover just how badly the experience scarred/scared Jean. I only undertook 2 vehicles. I only broke one speed limit by more than 40mph and that was by accident during an overtake. Strangely, When I checked my heartrate against a track on the radio, I discovered that my heartrate was actually lower than normal. Interestingly (and possibly because the Police often use Skoda Octavias round here) twice I had people see me coming up behind them at high speed and pulled over to the side of the road to let me go past.

EDIT : I realised afterwards that this post makes me look like an idiot driver. There are people who would say I was, but on Sunday I got a phone call from Pop to say he’d made it to the phone after 5 hours on the floor. Somehow obeying the rules of the road weren’t top of my list of things to do…

I’ve wrapped all my xmas pressies. And all of ours. And all of Steven’s. And all of Pop’s. I then realised that I’d not labelled any of them. Thankfully I dicided that wrapping each cd/dvd/book/whatever seperately was a stupid idea, so each ‘cluster’ of gifts was a different shape. I then managed to trap the sellotape inside Granny’s present.

Since I refuse to wrap xmas presents on xmas eve, the 23rd was officially 2 hours longer today. This means that the 24th should be 2 hours shorter. This is, obviously, not on. So I’m rolling this on until we get to the 27th. I think we can all cope with 2 hours less of the 27th. It just means that I’ll be spending the next few days in the “Mid-Atlantic” timezone. No idea what that means… Ascention Islands probably…

I have 4 minutes of laptop battery left. Time to stop talking crap and go to bed…

Dec 2008
Congestion Charging

There is a very simple reason that congestion charging could never work in any UK city other than London.

The idea that the councils have to sell is that Joe Public will spend money to get into town, and that that money will be be used to improve public transport.

Now, think about London. The charge is collected by Boris and spent on public transport, which is run by TfL, which Boris is responsible for. So, Boris gets to collect the money, reroute the money, use the money and improve his public transport by buying new busses, new trains and new tubes, and to dig new tunnels, put in new bus stops and generally turn the city into one giant transport hub.

Now think about Cambridge (for example). The council would collect the money to “improve public transport”. Now tell me what they are going to do with it? The train tracks are owned by National Rail. The trains are run my a national company. The roads are owned by highways. The bus stops are owned by god knows who, but they’re still always smashed and manky. The buses themselves are all owned, run and controlled by Stagecoach.

So, what exactly would they use that money for? Buying more digital bus stops…?

Nov 2008
Cool toys

You know, it’s a good job I’m a nice guy. You think of all the terrorist attacks in this country. You know, the ones that have involved exploding backpacks and cars full of petrol.

They’ve been pretty pathetic really, haven’t they?

I mean, the British just don’t do terrorism – we spent too long being threatened by the Irish. When someone is able to blow every window out of Canary Warf or decimate a city centre they get treated a little differently to someone who manages to kill a couple of people in a confined space. Terrorists? Bah! Crappy terrorists? Double Bah!

Just, for a moment, imagine you are a bad guy. Now imagine the ‘fun’ you could have with one of these