The Anonymous Widower

Do Sat-Navs Exploit Rat Runs

This afternoon my son brought me home in his car through North-East London.

  • He was using a sat-nav and it was a mazy drive down a succession of narrow residential roads usually with cars parked on both sides.
  • I’m sure we did two totally unnecessary loops.
  • He also approached my house the wrong way, so he did two unnecessary right turns.

I’ve never used a sat-nav and doubt I ever will, as I don’t drive any more and when I’m walking, I prefer to use a proper map, like there are on most London bus stops or train stations.

I wonder how many acxcidents and traffic jams are caused by sat-navs.

 

 

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

Electric Cars Can Beat Petrol For Value After Less Than Two Years

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

The article is based on work by the consultant; PWC.

This is an example of what was found.

The electric Zoe cost from £21,920 compared with £19,795 for the petrol Clio. The £2,125 difference was made up in less than two years, three months for a motorist with an average annual mileage of 8,351 miles. A higher-mileage driver clocking up 13,355 miles a year could make it up in 18 months.

The day when electric cars will be good value is approaching.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Bristol Poised For Seven-Day Ban On Diesel Cars

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Bristol is set to become the first city in Britain to ban diesel cars under the toughest measures yet seen to combat air pollution.

A few points.

  • It will apply to all diesels.
  • It will apply in part the City Centre.
  • Petrol cars will be exempt.

Although, I agree with the need to improve air quality, I doubt the measure will be passed. Selfish interests will prevail!

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Pollution Charge For Diesels Has Cut City’s Toxic Fumes By A Third

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Page 4 of today’s copy of The Times.

The only applies to London at the moment.

Surely other cities should follow the capital’s lead.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Heathrow Congestion Charge Is Expected To Raise £1.2bn A Year

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Heathrow airport could make £1.2 billion a year from a congestion charge levied on drivers arriving at the airport by car, according to analysis.

The article also says.

  • The charge will start when the third runway opens.
  • The charge will be levied on all cars, even the cleanest.

It is designed to encourage drivers to use public transport, like buses, coaches and trains.

I don’t believe that you can force a lot of passengers to give up their cars, when going to the Airport,. But then for the sake of the planet, they must give up their diesel 4x4s and large cars.

As a non-driver and almost a non-flyer, I’m not affected!

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

KLM Replaces Plane With High Speed Train

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to replace one of its five daily flights between Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol with reserved seat capacity on a Thalys high speed train service from March 29 2020.

KLM say this the start of a process and will be extended provided the timings are as good.

But how do train and plane compare between Schipol and Brussels?

To give the trip a bit of perspective, note these approximate road distances.

  • Heathrow and Liverpool – 210 km.
  • Heathrow and Manchester – 197 km.
  • Schipol and Brussels – 206 km.

Incidentally, you can’t fly direct between Heathrow and Liverpool and there are only four flights per day between Heathrow and Manchester.

I looked up flights between Schipol and Brussels and the flight time is 45-50 minutes, as opposed to the ytain time of one hour thirty-four minutes.

Prices vary, but I suspect that the train is a little bit cheaper, although it probably depends on how early you book.

I think it’s true to say,you take the mode of travel that suits you best!

I have gone to Amsterdam by train three or four times.

  • I go from St. Pancras to Amsterdam Centraal.
  • St. Pancras is just a direct bus ride from my house.
  • I get a gluten-free meal on Euirostar.
  • I get a big table on which to lay out my pper.
  • I could do it cheaper on easyJet, but it wuld take a bit longer.

But I’ve never come back from Amsterdam t London by train.

  • You have to change trains to clear immigration and customs in Brussels.
  • A couple of times, I’ve flown back from Hamburg.

I can honestly say, that the as more direct trains go to and from Europe, I’ll use them more often.

The Future

Over the next few years, we could see a lot of short haul air routes losing market share to high speed trains.

  • Train companies will see a busy air route and run a competing train service.
  • Many tourists prefer to travel around Europe by train and I’ve met many from North America, Australia and the Far East on train journeys.
  • Global warming will sell seats on trains and especially electric ones.
  • Routes like High Speed Two will add lots of extra capacity.
  • Trains are an easy sell.
  • Governments will invest in railways and perhaps cut prices, as it is an easy way to to be seen to be combating climate change.

We also mustn’t forget that driving cars is getting an increasingly expensive and time-wasting process. I don’t miss driving at all!

 

 

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fire Up The Quattro: My Other Car Is An Energy Supplier

An article with this title is on Page 3 of the Business Section in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Car companies could be encouraged to become electricity suppliers under an overhaul of the energy market being explored by the government and the regulator.

This is an excellent idea.

These are a few of my ideas.

All-In-One Deals

It would open up the scope for all-in-one deals for the purchase of electric cars.

The cost of the car, servicing and electricity would all be included.

A cost per mile could be guaranteed, which might rise with distance.

Most importantly, he car company would handle all the hassle and give the customers appropriate training.

It Could Be A Range Anxiety Solution

Some articles in the media, are saying that range anxiety is holding back sales of electric cars, as no-one wants to get stuck in remote locations with flat batteries.

Up market brands already have their own rescue service and I can envisage a network of electric trucks, which can rescue stranded vehicles, by giving them sufficient charge to get to the nearest charger.

These trucks could even be in a common fleet with video screens informing everybody they were a particular car company’s Electric Vehicle Rescue Truck. So when rescuing an Audi, they would say Audi’s El;ectric Vehicle Rescue Truck.

If a prospective punter, saw a rescue truck, with their favourite make on the side, it might persuade them to pop in to a showroom.

Free Or Reduced Cost Parking In Electric-Only Car Parks

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I outlined how a massive car park like this could hold electric cars with a total battery capacity of 1.35 GWh.

This storage capacity could be used to store surplus energy, whilst cars were parked.

I can see a consortium being put together to provide electric-only car parks.

  • National Grid to provide and distribute the electricity.
  • The car companies to provide the customers.
  • Airports and rail stations, local authorities to provide the land.

But not all car parks would be large!

I can imagine new housing developments bringing in an electric vehicle-only rule.

I wouldn’t mind living in one of that type of development.

There would be various charges in these  electricvehicle-only car parks.

  • An hourly or contract charge for the actual parking.
  • A charge for the electricity used to charge the vehicle.

There would also be a payment from Nation Grid based on the amount of energy stored in the vehicle’s battery.

Billing would be automatic, based on when you were connected to the charger and the various energy flows.

\suppose you were flying away from Heathrow for a week, Nation Grid would have use of your vehicle’s battery to store electricity for seven days.

The car companies would be in a unique position to enable this deal.

  • They have the customers.
  • They can make their cars compatible with the car parks.
  • They can handle the complex billing, as part of an All-In-One deal.
  • \drivers would probably prefer to deal with BMW, Jaguar etc., than an energy company.

I would expect this model of car-parking to multiply.

  • Many drivers would only use public transport on pain of death, so buying an electric car is the lesser of two evils.
  • It would cut emissions in the centre of towns and cities.
  • It would appeal to High Streets and Town Centres, as it could attract shoppers and visitors.
  • For those with home chargers, it must surely reduce range anxiety

The only disadvantage, is that it might increase the use of cars for short journeys and increase traffic congestion.

But at least the extra vehicles would be non-polluting electric ones.

Conclusion

Used creatively, the proposal of allowing car companies to be energy suppliers, would appear to have possibilities.

 

 

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September 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

bluecity

I came across these two cars by Brentford station.

They are electric hire cars from a company called bluecity.

The concept should appeal to many living in London, and I might have been interested, if I still drove.

But I just have no interest these days, as life without a car is much more stress-free.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Hands-Free Phone Ban For drivers ‘Should Be Considered’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Drivers could be banned from using hands-free mobile phones in England and Wales, a group of MPs has suggested.

I don’t drive and I rarely use a mobile phone to make or receive a phone all, so it won’t bother me much.

But sitting in my preferred slightly-raised position in the downstairs facing-seats on a New Routemaster bus, it’s amazing the number of drivers you see having a phone conversation or typing.

Recently, I nearly had a collision whilst walking along Moorgate.

A young lady going the other way was having a video call with her phone in front of her face. I went left to pass on the road side, as gentlemen are supposed to do and she went the same way.

Luckily, she saw me at the last minute!

So if drivers are to be banned from mobile use, whilst driving, what about banning pedestrians from mobile use, whilst walking on busy streets?

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

They Don’t Make Very Good Boats

This was a tweet from Greater Manchester Police Traffic, during the recent floods.

The driver of this Lamorghini lost control on standing water  and took out a section of before making off on foot prior to police arrival.

A very expensve mistake.  They don’t make very good boats!!

Nearly 400 people are talking about it.

July 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment