The Anonymous Widower

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

Will Sadiq Khan Be A One-Term Mayor?

This article on the BBC is entitled Donald Trump Hits Out Again At Sadiq Khan Over London Violence.

I don’t like Trump or many of his policies one bit and if in the unlikely chance, I was invited to meet him, I would decline.

But I’ve met many people, who think we need someone like Trump to stand-up for the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

I have two personal criticisms of Sadiq.

The Unaffordable Fare Freeze

The fare freeze he proposed, that must have impressed a large number of voters, has not been something that London can afford.

Now important projects like the rebuilding of Camden Town and Holborn station have been delayed.

He’s A South London Mayor

To my mind, Sadiq seems to favour his home territory over the North.

  • In the North, we seem to have suffered more from cuts in bus frequencies.
  • He was very slow to act on the problems with the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • Knife crime and violence seems to be worse in the North, so is it Mayoral neglect?

It is probably understandable, as his mates in the South have more chances to bend his ears and you don’t annoy your friends.

I wonder if Ken favoured the North!

I do think though that various effects are working against his reelection.

The ULEZ Effect

The London ULEZ currently only applies to the Congestion one, but from 2021, it will apply to all areas inside the North and South Circular Roads.

How many voters, who will be affected by the ULEZ extension, will vote for Sadiq?

The Brexit Effect

Sadiq has nailed his colours to Remain and is regularly interviewed about Brexit.

Most right-of-centre Brexiteers wouldn’t probably vote for him, but some traditional Labour boroughs voted to Leave, so could his support for Remain cost votes.

On the other hand, if Brexit has happened and going badly, will Sadiq gain votes?

The Next Prime Minister Effect

If Boris becomes Prime Minister, this would be an imponderable. It might help or hinder Sadiq’s reelection.

The Crossrail Effect

The late delivery of Crossrail, is not Sadiq’s fault, but it will have four effects.

  • The late delivery will ffect London’s transport budget and give the Mayor less money for projects.
  • Some people will view his oversight of the project as incompetent.
  • He won’t be able to bathe in the glow of a successful Crossrail.
  • It is a ready-made millstone to hang around his neck.

There will also be many Londoners, for whom, the late delivery of Crossrail caused a financial loss and they will vote accordingly.

The Trump Effect

I would expect, Trump to keep up his criticism of Sadiq.

Who’s to say, whether it will affect Sadiq’s vote, but there are quite a few people, who would support Trump.

Conclusion

There are a lot of questions to answer, but I feel given the state of British politics, that we could be in for a surprise.

Could we see a Brexit, Green or Lib Dem Mayor?

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Minicab Drivers Claim Discrimination Over New London Charge

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

This is the first paragraph.

Minicab drivers are launching a legal action against the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, accusing him of discrimination against a largely ethnic minority workforce by making them pay the congestion charge while black cab drivers, who are overwhelmingly white, will be exempt.

Black cab drivers may or may not be overwhelmingly white, but I have certainly never seen a South Asian black cab driver.

But Central London is getting increasingly polluted and congested and this slows the buses, that I regularly use through the centre.

I am no legal expert, but I have a feeling, that the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will extend to the North and South Circular Roads will be a very big factor in the next Mayoral Election.

The lawyers, who will be big winners in this debate, have surely been sharpening their pencils.

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

The New London Pollution Charge — May Be Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘Poll Tax Moment’

The title of this post is the same as that of a news story in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The ‘ultra-low emission zone’ will force 1m motorists to pay the £12.50 daily charge — or get off the road,

The Sunday Times has done a detailed analysis and makes the following points about the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

  • About a million vehicles will be liable to the new levy.
  • The ULEZ charge of £12.50 will be a nice little earner for Transport for London (TfL).
  • The ULEZ charge will raise three times as much as the Congestion Charge.
  • It could collect up to £1.5billion per year.
  • Some people will be paying £4,000 a year to drive their own car.
  • Initially, the charge will only be levied in Central London, but after 2021, it will apply inside the North and South Circular Roads.
  • The Sunday Times has read some TfL impact assessments.

Reading the full article convinces me, that I made the right decision to give up driving.

I am in favour of the ULEZ, as I suffer from pollution and I don’t have a driving licence because my eyesight was damaged by a stroke.

But Sadiq Khan seems to have forgotten a lesson of recent history, where the City of Westminster voted down his laudable aim of pedestrianising part of Oxford Street.

On that issue, he should have pedestrianised all of it. Just as the City of London seems to be doing!

But the motoring lobby gave Westminster a good kicking and do you think, they will be less active at the ballot box in the next Mayoral Election?

Few would vote for someone, who would tax them an extra £4,000 a year.

Sadiq Khan is a well-meaning politically-correct lightweight, who doesn’t think through the effects of his promises.

 

 

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Riding On A Battery-Electric Double-Deck Bus

This morning I rode on a battery-electric double-deck bus.

Some of these buses are russing on route 98 between Holborn and Willesden Garage, which includes a run down Oxford Street.

There’s more on the buses in this page on the Metroline web site.

I went upstairs and the experience was little different to that of a normal hybrid bus.

My Thoughts

My thoughts in various areas.

Design

It is a well-designed bus, that is easy to use for this seventy-year-old.

Passenger Experience

Travelling along Oxford Street, the passenger experience was equal to that of a New Routemaster, without the occasional low noise of the engine.

 

Performance Of The Bus

As we proceeded along Oxford Street, the performance of the bus, was very much in line with current hybrid buses.

The bus wasn’t full on the upper deck, but I suspect that the total weight of the passengers is very much lower than the weight of the battery, so this might mean that a full bus performs well compared with an empty bus.

Limited Space On The Lower Deck

There is one obvious problem and that is that the size of the battery reduces the number of seats downstairs.

As I said earlier, I doubt the weight of the passengers is a problem, but the available space, where they sit and stand could be.

Economics Of The Bus

The bus will obviously be expensive to purchase and to run, as batteries are expensive and need to be replaced every few years.

Coupled with the fact that capacity is smaller than current hybrid buses, which probably means more buses are needed to perform the required service, the economics of the buses may not be suitable for many routes.

I also wonder, if a battery-electric double-deck bus has better economics than a single-deck bus, as the extra weight of the top deck and the extra passengers is small compared to the weight of the battery.

But the economics will get better with improved battery technology.

The Marketing Advantages

BYD and Metroline could be  big winners here, as corporate videos and marketing material showing buses in Central London, can’t be a bad thing!

The Competition From Diesel Hybrid Buses

I believe that one competitor to the battery-electric bus will be the next generation of diesel hybrid buses.

Take the current modern hybrid buses like a New Routemaster or any other hybrid bus built in the last couple of years. These have a battery that can power the bus for perhaps a couple of miles.

As the battery is smaller, it can be squeezed into an unlikely space. On a New Routemaster, the diesel engine is under the back stairs and the battery is under the front stairs.

A technique called geo-fencing can be retro-fitted, which forbids the use of the buses diesel engine in sensitive areas, based on GPS technology.

So a route like London’s route 98 could work through the ULEZ on battery power and charge the battery between Edware Road station and Willesden Garage.

The Competition From Hydrogen Hybrid Buses

This will surely be similar to that from diesel hybrid buses.

  • Battery size will probably be as for a diesel hybrid bus.
  • As hydrogen doesn’t give out noxious emissions, this will be an advantage and you won’t need the geo-fencing.
  • But you will need to store the hydrogen.

As hydrogen technology improves, I feel that thehydrogen hybrid bus could become a formidable competitor.

The Competition From Converting Old Diesel Buses To Diesel Hybrid Buses

I talked about this in Arriva London Engineering Assists In Trial To Turn Older Diesel Engine Powered Buses Green.

Never underestimate good engineers with a good idea, that has a good financial payback.

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of competition between the various technologies and the passengers, bus operators, London and London’s air will be big winners.

As all of this technology can be applied anywhere, other parts of the UK will benefit.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Delays Silvertown Tunnel By Six Months

This article on City AM is entitled Government Delays Silvertown Tunnel Decision By Another Six Months Over Air Quality Concerns.

The decision on the Silverton Tunnel will now be made in May 2018.

But surely this is too early.

  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations in December 2018.
  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Shenfield and Paddington stations in May 2019.
  • Thameslink will open between Kent and Central London via London Bridge in May 2018.
  • The ULEZ becomes operational in April 2019.

I would have thought that the decision should be made after the effects of these changes have settled down.

This map shows the route of the tunnel.

Will any other public transport developments reduce the urgency for the tunnel?

London City Airport Crossrail Station

Under New Stations, the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail says this about a station at Silvertown close to the London City Airport.

London City Airport has proposed the re-opening of Silvertown railway station, in order to create an interchange between the rail line and the airport. The self-funded £50m station plan is supported ‘in principle’ by the London Borough of Newham. Provisions for re-opening of the station were made in 2012 by Crossrail. However, it is alleged by the airport that Transport for London is hostile to the idea of a station on the site, a claim disputed by TfL

This must surely cut down the traffic needing to cross the Thames in this area.

Gallions Reach Crossing And Thamesmead Extension Of The Docklands Light Railway

Wikipedia has a section, which says this about the extension.

The proposed Gallions Reach Crossing has been suggested by TfL as allowing a branch to leave the existing DLR network at Gallions Reach, and cross the river on the proposed tunnel/bridge and into Thamesmead. The new branch could then pass through Thamesmead and towards Abbey Wood, Woolwich, or northwards towards Barking. On 4 October 2016 the London Assembly approved the extension to Thamesmead.

Will this extension be a game-changer?

Extending The Gospel Oak To Barking Line From Barking Riverside To Thamesmead

This is definitely another rail extension that will be looked at.

The New Southeastern Franchise

The successor for the current Southeastern franchise will be announced in August 2018 and they will take over the franchise in December 2018.

If this award follows the pattern of others in recent time, there will be a lot of new services and trains promised.

Updating The Woolwich Ferry

Wikipedia has a Future section for the Woolwich Ferry, which says that two new diesel-electric hybrid vessels are on order.

Conclusion

We should wait until all related issues and projects are decided before making the decision on the Silvertown Tunnel.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Arriva London Engineering Assists In Trial To Turn Older Diesel Engine Powered Buses Green

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article on the Arriva London web site.

This sums up the project.

A new idea to turn older diesel engine buses into much more environmentally friendly vehicles has been developed by Vantage Power Ltd based in Greenford, West London in association with Ensign Ltd, the largest reseller of buses in the UK.

The new unit will start trials in July, when two of Arriva London’s 2005, Volvo B7TL, Euro 3 buses, with Alexander Dennis bodies, VLA99 and VLA100 will resume service following their conversion. The trials are fully supported by TfL.

Effectively two twelve year old buses will become hybrids with new electric drive systems.

The objectives of the project are ambitious.

The new system will be tested to see how well it performs against its targets of 40% reduction in the use of fuel, 80%+ reduction in emissions, and a cost saving for the unit which is estimated to be 80% less than a new Hybrid bus.

They are also developing a technique called geo-fence technology. This is said.

This technology, uses GPS information combined with route information, and can enable the vehicle to ensure its batteries are at full charge before entering certain areas (such as the ULEZ), or past schools, or libraries, and upon entering these areas, the engine can shut itself down and the vehicle then operate as an almost silent ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle).

So the buses get new hybrid drives, which work as battery buses in sensitive areas and London gets cleaner air. And Arriva London gets a cashback!

I wonder how many old buses can be converted into cleaner hybrids. This conversion was on a Volvo B7TL chassis, of which there were 790 in London alone.

I also wonder if London’s current hybrid buses can have the geo-fence technology applied.

Close to my house there are six London bus routes, that go into or through the ULEX; namely routes 21, 30, 38, 56, 76 and 141 of which the 21, 38 and 76 are New Routemasters, which are modern hybrid buses. In addition, the 141  is run by seven-year-old hybrid buses. These routes would all be candidates for geo-fence technology.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments