The Anonymous Widower

The Electric Taxis Are Coming

London’s new electric black taxis will soon be seen on the streets.

From the pictures, I’ve seen, they could be an interesting ride.

  • There is a panoramic glass roof.
  • They are roomier, than the current black cabs and can seat six instead of five.
  • Wi-fi and charging points are standard.
  • Air-conditioning.
  • A small petrol engine is used to boost range up to nearly 400 miles.

I shall search one out for a ride.

The Times though points out an interesting point about the design. This is said.

The bigger story is LEVC will now use the technology behind the TX to build far greater volumes of hybrid electric vans, the sort that deliver all our online shopping.

That certainly is a bigger story.

A few points of my own.

Geo-Fencing

Will geo-fencing be used to ensure that in central and sensitive areas and those with high air pollution, the taxi will run on batteries only.

This would also be particularly useful with the delivery van, where delivery depots tend to be outside the centre of a city.

Wireless Charging

London’s black cabs use rabjs and only yesterday, I picked up one from the rank at the Angel.

Milton Keynes has buses that can be charged using an inductive system.

So why not install inductive charging on taxi ranks?

Online Shopping Delivery

Parcel delivery companies don’t have the best of images. Electric last-mile delivery would certainly help.

For too long, vans have just been a crude metal box, with a couple of seats and an engine at the front.

So why not design a complete system around the taxi chassis?

  • If the depot was outside the city centre, charging could be done at both the depot and on the journeys to and from the centre
  • The van could also be designed so that containers packed at the depots could be loaded for each delivery.
  • The containers could also be brought into the centre of the city at night into the main station by a purpose-designed train.
  • A sophisticated onboard computer could control the driver and the deliveries.

There is a wonderful opportunity here to develop parcel delivery systems that are truly efficient and as pollution-free as possible.

Service Vans

If I walk down my road of about 150 houses and a couple of tower blocks on any weekday during working hours, I will probably count around half-a-dozen service vans of various types for small builders, plumbers. Most have not come further than a dozen miles.

If the economics of the electric van are pitched right, I think a large proportion of these vehicles will go electric, as they often sit around for large periods during the working day.

Conclusion

I can’t wait to get a ride in one of these taxis.

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could London Introduce Lifts With Inbuilt Ticketing?

Use the Underground or the trains in London and you have to have to touch in and out with your contactless ticket, Oyster card, smart phone or Freedom Pass.

Suppose you want to put lifts into a station, where putting the lift inside the ticket barriers would be difficult, but perhaps putting it outside on the street would be easy.

This technique has been used at Bank station to provide step-free access to the Docklands Light Railway.

When I called the lift to enter the station, the lift was sent by an operator in the Control Room.

So why not combine an outside lift with the ticketing?

Perhaps to call the lift, you need to touch in or out?

 

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Congestion Charge On Minicabs To Boost Buses

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

As a non-driver, I don’t pay the Congestion Charge, but I do get fed up with both the mass of traffic and the pollution it causes in Central London. The former mainly for slowing the buses I use.

The article is saying the following.

  • The Charge will be levied on mini-cabs.
  • The Charge may be levied to 11 pm instead of 6 pm.
  • The Charge msy be levied on Saturdays.

Why not Sundays as well?

And surely the Western Extension should be reinstated!

October 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Whitechapel’s Monster Fatberg

This article on the BBC is entitled ‘Monster’ fatberg found blocking east London sewer.

It has now been cleared up and Thames Water have turned the mess into enough fuel to power three hundred and fifty buses for a day.

We’ve had these fatbergs in London before as the Guardian reported in 2015.

It seems the big problem is fast food outlets with dubious hygiene practices, who just tip the fat down the drains.

I know of someone, who had a problem with a pub near where they lived, which wasn’t handling its rubbish properly. A call to the local Council got it sorted.

So perhaps, the solution is in part, getting the Council to check the hygiene practices of all food outlets better.

Also, just as a plastic bag tax has cut their use, perhaps we need a wet wipe and a nappy tax to cut use of these products, as they are another big problem.

 

September 19, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

MTR Plans More Intensive Crossrail Service

The title of this post is the same as an article in the International Railway Journal.

The Planned Central Service

According to Wikipedia, it is planned that the services through the central section is as follows.

Peak

4 tph (trains per hour) Abbey Wood–Heathrow Terminal 4
6 tph Abbey Wood–Paddington
2 tph Abbey Wood–West Drayton
8 tph Shenfield–Paddington
2 tph Shenfield–Reading
2 tph Shenfield–Maidenhead

Off Peak

4 tph Abbey Wood–Heathrow Terminal 4
4 tph Abbey Wood–Paddington
4 tph Shenfield–Paddington
2 tph Shenfield–Reading
2 tph Shenfield–Maidenhead

Which gives totals of 24 tph in the Peak and 16 tph in the Off Peak.

The article suggests that more Off Peak services will be provided.

This is probably only following the rules of the Victoria Line, which runs at a frequency of around 30 tph most of the day and 6 tph at night.

A Train Every Two And A Half Minutes

One of Crossrail’s nine-car Class 345 trains will come through the central section, every two and a half minutes, linking the following stations between Paddington and Stratford stations.

  • Bond Street
  • Tottengham Court Road
  • Farringdon
  • Moorgate
  • Liverpool Street
  • Whitechapel

I think that the frequency of the trains and the design of the stations, will encourage walkers and short distance travellers to use the line.

So could we see a very different pattern of use on Crossrail, when compared to the existing Central Line.

Other factors will make predicting traffic difficult.

  • The line runs along one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets.
  • The line and connects to Heathrow,
  • Many journeys across London will now be made without changing trains.

Being able to increase train frequency would;d be a useful contingency to avoid train overcrowding.

So it looks like MTR are being prudent.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Good Riddance To The Garden Bridge!

This article on the BBC, is entitled Garden Bridge: London mayor Sadiq Khan withdraws support.

It looks like that’s it for the complete waste of money!

Unless of course, some private individual decides to pay for it. Hopefully, Sadiq Khan, will tell the donor, “Thsnks! But no thanks!”

April 28, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

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