The Anonymous Widower

Is The Pollution Solution A Part-Solution To Terrorism?

Hong Kongers nickname their tramway the Pollution Solution. ut to be fair to one of my favourite cities, the city also has an extensive public transport network of metro lines and buses. Although, I’ve ever used any of the latter.

London and other cities in the UK have a serous air pollution problem and we should solve it for the health of us all, as pollution probably causes more premature deaths than terrorism. Or for that matter street crime like muggings and robberies!

Suppose in London we did the following to cut pollution.

  • Ban polluting vehicles from a wide area of the centre.
  • Impose a high Congestion Charge over a wide area.
  • All shop deliveries must be at night!
  • Cut the number of private hire vehicles.
  • All buses, including tourist buses and coaches, private hire vehicles and black cabs must be electric.
  • Rigorously impose a twenty mile per hour city-wide speed limit.
  • When Crossrail is finished, build the Bakerloo Line Extension and Crossrail 2.
  • Pedestrianise large parts of the City Centre.
  • Improve the cycle network and make sure cyclists use it and not the pavement.

Other cities could also do similar things to suit their circumstances.

A few of our cities like Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool have pedestrianised substantial parts of their city centres. They haven’t done enough, but it’s a start.

I don’t think trams will be a pollution solution in Central London except perhaps on a specific route to overcome congestion on the Underground.

We are going to have to act very strongly to deal with pollution, but will it have collateral effects?

Some years ago, I did some work with the Police on analysing crime and I remember an analyst, who was also a Police Officer, explaining how he saw links between traffic and crime.

I remember him saying that no self-respecting criminal would go burgling on a bus.

One thing that came out of this work, was that if Police checked a car and found that one of car tax, insurance or MOT was not in order, there was a high chance of a non-motoring offence being committed. As he said, if a criminal is dealing in thousands of pounds-worth of drugs, will he bother to renew his tax and insurance?

I’ve wondered for some time, if this car checking  in Central London, which must be done by the Congestion Charge cameras  has led to the increase in crime in London committed by criminals on motor-bikes, scooters and bikes. London’s congestion could also drive crime this way.

So if we solved the pollution, would this cut the congestion? And how would this effect crime?

I don’t know, but I suspect, we’ll find out in a few years, as the draconian measures we will introduce to cut pollution, will have fundamental effects on the way we live in London.

In the next two or three years, some cross-city and city centre rail lines will will improve drammatically.

However, some cities with bad pollution problems will not being seeing any public transport improvements.

It will be interesting to see the effects on pollution, congestion and crime. And terrorism!





March 23, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Adverse Effects Of Electric Vehicles

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.


February 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail 2 is a ‘threat to Soho’s soul’ says Stephen Fry

This is the title of an article on the BBC.

This is the sort of attitude displayed by Victorians who thought that railways would upset their grouse or disturb their dinner psarties.

Stephen Fry should stick to comedy!

Or is he being ironic?

February 11, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Westminster Council To Trial Diesel Parking Charge

The title of this post is the title of an article on the BBC web site.

There will be a lot of complaints, but just as the Congestion Charge was accepted, this charge will be too!

And if it works for Westminster, how long before other Boroughs in London introduce it?

I do think though, that cities that cut pollution will benefit from the good publicity, that could generate extra visitors and increased business activity.


January 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Walk Along The River

It was very sunny so I walked along the Thames from Blackfriars station to the Tower.


  • The works for the Tideway Tunnel.
  • The impressive new Blackfriars Pier for the Thames Clippers.
  • Queenhithe.
  • You walk underneath the City’s waste transfer station at one point.

I couldn’t believe that the weather was that good for December.

At Queenhithe, you have to walk inland as the Thames Path is blocked by development, that was done a couple of decades ago.

I do hope that the new development at Queenhithe will include a bridge across the ancient dock to continue the path.

December 22, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Why Isn’t The Mall Traffic Free?

This article on the BBC is entitledPlans to block vehicles from the Mall brought forward after Berlin lorry attack.

I can’t understand, why the Mall isn’t traffic free from say nine in the morning until perhaps four or five in the afternoon.

This would create a large walking area from Trafalgar Square to Victoria, with the shops of Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets and Crossrail  to the North-West and the Thames not far away in the East.

This Google Map shows the area around Buckingham Palace.


It would improve London for everyone, except prossibly taxi and Uber drivers.

But just as with the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, there would be protests.

December 21, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Improving London’s Buses

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

Why not?

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

London’s Bouncebackability

Some worry about the ability of the City of London to survive after Brexit.

I don’t and this picture gives a clue!

St. Pauls in the Blitz

St. Pauls in the Blitz

London and the City periodically suffer disasters and annoyances.

After every one of these, London showed an impressive ability to bounce back from something that was unexpected. You coud argue that after all these events, London recovered to a higher level.

The first two, threw up two of London’s great creators; Christopher Wren and Joseph Bazalgette. Bazalgette was the grandson of a French Protestant immigrant.

Will London throw up another great creator and thinker because of Brexit?

I wouldn’t be surprised!

They might even be like Bazalgette and a descendent of a recent immigrant. London has always benefited from troubles in the rest of the world!

No-one can know what will happen to the City and its financial industry and expertise. A vindictive Europe could put in regulations to try to cut London’s market share.

But I doubt it will have much affect, as London has every expertise you could need, speaks English, is in the right time zone and quite frankly is London, where real and assimilated Londoners duck-and-dive for the best opportunity.

London will undoubtedly change, but is there any reason to suspect, that it won’t do things that make itself more successful and more powerful still?

London was the capital of the world in the Victorian Age and I can see this happening again!

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 2 Comments

‘Wheelchair vs. Buggy’ Case Goes To The Supreme Court

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.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 7 Comments

Is Sadiq Khan Frightened Of Saint Joanna?

This report on the BBC is entitled London Mayor Sadiq Khan backs ‘more accessible’ Garden Bridge plans.

I think the Garden Bridge should be quietly forgotten and the money used to connect Barking Riverside to Thamesmead.

I would have also thought, that the bridge would be the sort of project that  few would mourn its passing.

So is Sadiq Khan frightened of Saint Joanna?

Especially, as last year, he didn’t think it was value for money!


May 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment