I saw this information point in the middle of Exeter.
Buses at the top, Exeter Central station in the middle and Exeter St. Davids station underneath.
Why aren’t there more in other cities?
This article in theMail OnLine has one of those titles which are all you need to read.
UK could need 20 more nuclear power stations if electric cars take over our roads and cause ‘massive strain’ on power network
There is also a similar article in The Times.
The articles are based on research by Transport for London.
The article has a point and TfL have done the sums.
Consider the future.
At present London doesn’t apply the full Congestion Charge for electric vehicles and they get other discounts. So as electric vehicles get more affordable and with a longer range, it will be sensible to purchase an electric vehicle and take advantage of using it at a discount in London.
So will London be grid-locked by electric vehicles?
We may get cleaner air, but how will all those, who depend on buses and taxis get through all this congestion?
Many of these new electric cars will be driverless, which will increase their attraction and just add to the congestion.
All of these vehicles will also need to be charged, so will we see every parking space fitted with a charging point.
Who is going to pay for these points?
And then as Transport for London say, just providing enough electricity for London’s transport, will require two nuclear power stations.
So how about using hydrogen fuel cells to power these vehicles?
But to create the hydrogen you need electricity to electrolyse water. So more nuclear power stations?
So what will we do?
London is lucky, in that compared to other cities in the UK, it has an extensive public transport network that works, that people like to use.
So Crossrail 2 and possibly 3 and 4, if properly designed can take the pressure off London, to allow space for driverless electric buses and taxis, and a severely restricted number of other vehicles.
Just as people are now complaining that they were told by the Government to buy a diesel car and now they are being abused as polluters, in a decade or so, those buying electric cars will be abused as congesters.
Owning a car in the future will become an increasingly expensive and annoying business.
Bendy buses weren’t liked in London and although some places in Europe have them, they are nothing like the mega-bendies from Brazil discussed in this article on Global Rail News, which is entitled New mega-buses to replace trams?.
This is the opening paragraph.
Could advances in bus design threaten the role of trams on busy routes? New, longer designs which carry more passengers and combine flexibility with vast capacity.
On the other hand, I don’t see why a bendy bus with driving cabs at each end, running in a dedicated traffic lane or perhaps in a concrete guided busway couldn’t be used on a fixed link between say a railway station and the centre of a city. A double-ended design would eliminate the need to turn the bus, which is a big space-hungry problem
I think that once, one city, airport or attraction develops this idea successfully, then the idea could spread!
The chassis developed by Volvo in Brazil mentioned in the article, would certainly be a good starting point.
It opened this morning and I took these pictures as I used it to get to an Eastbound District Line train.
It’s obviously not fully finished and it had only just been opened.
But passengers were able to flow straight through the gates and down the escalators to the Victoria Line platforms. So there won’t many of them, but it was lunchtime.
The Victoria Line platforms now have three sets of escalators.
- The original set of three at the Southern end linking to the original ticket hall and Victoria station.
- The new set of three at the Northern end linking to the new ticket hall and the new Cardinal Place entrance.
- In the middle another bank of three link to cross passages under the District and Circle Line platforms.
Passengers only wanting to change lines at Victoria would appear to be separated from those needing to enter or exit the Underground station.
It’ll be interesting to see, how passengers distribute themselves between the two station entrances.
- If you are coming from or going to Victoria station, you’ll probably still use the existing route.
- If you are coming from or going to Victoria Street, Westminster City Hall, Westminster Cathedral or Cardinal Place, you’ll probably use the new Cardinal Place entrance.
- Travellers to and from the Victoria Palace and Apollo Victoria rheatres, who want to use the Underground, will probably have better access.
A guy who worked in the station, felt that passengers wanting to get to or from the District and Circle Lines could be the major beneficiaries and he should know his passenger flows better than most.
As this is only an interim solution until the rest of the Underground station opens in 2018, it is certainly a quality improvement.
Wikipedia also says this about improvements at the main line station end of the Underground station.
The work will also enlarge the existing Victoria line ticket hall serving the railway station and add a new relief bank of escalators there. This aspect of the scheme has been criticised as access to platforms from the new escalators will be very long and indirect compared to the direct access using the existing escalators.
On the other hand, with all the new routes and escalators in Victoria tube station coupled with substantial capacity improvements on the Underground Lines through the station, I suspect that it’ll all even out, as passengers find their own best routes.
Incidentally, I arrived at Victoria station on a 38 bus from Piccadilly Circus and although it was the middle of the day, the access couldn’t be faulted.
Once all the building work is complete, I suspect the buses will have a bugger part to play.
This bus is confused!
Is it a bus or a coach?
If you want a good explanation of how Lewis Hamilton ended up with a 55-place penalty in a 22-car race, then this article on the BBC, which is entitled Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalties explained.
It does what it says in the title.
This extract, which describes the new technology in Formula One, is significant.
Governing body the FIA realised that the turbo-hybrid engines were highly complex pieces of kit, as well as introducing revolutionary new technology.
How revolutionary? A road-car petrol engine has a thermal efficiency – its ability to convert fuel-energy into usable power – of about 29%, a figure they have been stuck at for decades. A road-going turbo-diesel can be as efficient as about 35-40%.
Modern F1 engines, the best of which produce more than 950bhp, are approaching 50% thermal efficiency – and exceed it when the hybrid system is on full energy deployment.
It is a truly amazing step forward in technology in such a short amount of time, and these advances will soon filter down to road cars, which was the whole point of introducing them into F1.
So that means that if your vehicle does say 29 mpg, then in perhaps a decade, its equivalent will be doing over 50 mpg, as increased thermal efficiency translates into less fuel usage.
There is a lot of innovative technology generally getting itself involved with the humble internal combustion engine and where they are used.
- Engines, whether petrol or diesel will get more efficient, in terms of energy efficiency.
- Engines will get lighter and smaller.
- Transmission and braking will increasingly be electric, with onboard energy storage.
- Energy storage for larger applications like buses, trucks and trains, will use alternatives to batteries.
- Engines will become more complex and will be controlled by sophisticated control systems.
It is definitely a case of |Formula One leading the way.
But I suppose Formula One is one of the few places where there is an incentive to be more efficient.
With passenger cars, more efficient vehicles have generally sold better. But an incentive is probably needed to get people to scrap worthless and inefficient vehicles.
Perhaps a properly thought out carbon tax, would accelerate more efficient buses, trucks and trains.
It is interesting to note, that hybrid buses are commonplace, but when did you see a hybrid truck?
Could it be, that local politicians have more control over the bus fleets in their area and many of the worst trucks are run by cowboys, who don’t care so long as they earn their money?
It is also easier to complain about your buses, than say trucks moving builders rubbish around, if they are noisy, smelly or emitting black smoke.
But I do think the key to more efficient buses, trucks and large off-road construction equipment, is probably a mixture of better engines and some better method of energy storage, that means say an eight-wheel thirty-tonne truck, could sit silently at traffic lights and then move quietly away, when the lights go green. A lot of buses can do that! Why not trucks?
I also think that the next generation of trains will use onboard energy storage.
- It enables regenerative braking everywhere, saving as much as a quarter of the electricity.
- Depots, sensitive heritage areas and downright difficult lines can be without electrification.
- It enables a get to the next station ability , if the power should fail.
As modern trains from many manufacturers, are increasingly becoming two end units with driving cabs, where you plug appropriate units in between to create a train with the correct mix for the route, energy storage and hybrid power cars will start to appear.
Intriguingly, Bombardier have said that all their new Aventra trains will be wired for onboard energy storage.
So a four-car electric multiple unit, might be changed into a five-car one with on-board energy storage to run a service on a short branch line or over a viaduct in an historic city centre.
I travel on buses in London a lot and I believe that a few things can be done to make them easier to use and hopefully faster.
1. Allow Central Entry On Buses
New Routemasters allow this and it is a success.
I don’t konw if Routemasters have more fare evasion, than other buses, where you have to pass the driver, but I suspect evasion is not much higher.
Allowing central entry, by placing a reader in the lobby, would undoubtedly speed up buses, as loading would be quicker.
So it would be like providing extra buses on a route.
It would also be easy to test and see what the effects are. A route would just be fitted with extra readers and the before and after revenue would be compared.
2. All New Buses Should Have Flat Floors
New Routemasters have flat floors, which should be standard for all new buses.
3. Put The Bus Stop Number In The Shelter
This would help use the Countdown system to find out when the next bus is coming, especially in wet weather.
4. Put The Bus Stop Number In The Stop Display On The Bus
In common with many bus users, I often take two buses to my ultimate destination, changing at a stop en route, that is common to both routes.
As an example from Kings Cross to my house, I regularly take a 73 or 476 to the Angel, where I pick up a 38 or 56.
If I knew a 38 wasn’t on the way before I got to the stop at the Angel, I might decide to do some shopping or have a coffee before continuing.
5. Better Bus Information On Train And Tube Platforms
When you arrive at an unfamiliar station and know that you’ve got to take a bus to your ultimate destination, it would help if there was bus information on the train or tube platform.
For a start the standard bus and walking map, should be placed on all placed on all platforms, but I suspect there is better information that could be provided.
6. Bus Information At Non-TfL Stations
Stations run by companies other than TfL, work on the principle that if you don’t know the buses around the station, you’re an idiot.
All stations, on the London Bus and Tube map must provide London-standard information for bus users.
7. Legible London Liths And Signs Should Be Outside All Stations
At present this is not universal It should be!
8. The Bus Stop Text System Should Recognise Post Codes
Suppose you’re in an unfamiliar part of London and want to get home.
You would just text the bus stop number and your post code to 87287. and a route would be returned.
Note enough use, is made of this system.
Perhaps the stop number plus “tube” would direct you to the easiest tub station.
9. All Bus Stops Should Have A Decent Mobile Phone Signal
I was always told as a child, that if I was lost in Central London to find a tube station, where there would be help.
Now as most people carry mobile phones, why not make sure that all bus stops have a decent signal, so that they can make contact with someone, who could help.
Perhaps useful numbers should be displayed. Samaritans? Local Social Services?
10. No Smoking At Bus Stops
The latest in this story from Wetherby is in this article on the BBC, which is entitled Supreme Court to hear ‘wheelchair vs buggy’ bus case.
I think it is interesting that this case comes from Wetherby, which I suspect doesn’t have such an intensive bus service as I have here in London or as there is in Manchester, Newcastle or Liverpool.
In London, I have never seen an argument over the wheelchair space on a bus, although I have seen some severe, but helpful reorganising, when a wheel-chair needs to be accommodated.
In London because bus frequencies are higher and there are generally shelters these days, I would suspect that most people, be they able-bodied, in a wheel-chair or with a buggy, accept that they may have to wait for the next bus.
But if there is only one bus an hour, it’s chucking it down and there’s no shelter, it’s more likely that passengers will refuse to co-operate.
So one way to mitigate problems like this, is to provide a better bus service, with more buses, better shelters and improved information.
But that all costs money!
I am not disabled, although I don’t drive because of an eyesight problem. I also because of my stroke, could have ended up in a wheelchair, so I sympathise, with those who have to use a wheelchair or electric buggy to get about.
I regularly, see passengers in wheelchairs use London buses, with their central entrance/exit, which leads straight into the wheelchair space. The design, also means the driver can deploy the ramp and do everything they need without leaving the cab. In loading a wheelchair, I’ve also seen buggy-pushers take advantage of the deployed ramp to get out of the bus to fold the buggy before getting back on.
But outside of London, where often the wheelchair user has to get in the front entrance by the driver, this creates all sorts of delays and I’ve seen on a crowded bus, virtually everybody on the lower-deck get off, to allow the wheelchair to pass through.
I wonder if outside of London, there is more resentment of wheel-chair users on buses, than there is in the capital.
In my view, all new buses should be designed for central wheelchair entrance/exit as this is so much more efficient.
I once had a discussion with a Manchester Buses union rep on a Manchester bus. He was all for the London system of no-money-on-buses, with a front entrance and central-exit passenger flow, as it cut attacks on staff.
Since then, London has gone even further and now with the ability to use any contactless bank card as a ticket, London now has one of the most advanced bus-ticketing system in the world.
We need a standardised bus-system all over the UK. It might actually encourage more people to use this often-neglected form of public transport, which would generate more revenue for a better system.