Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for January 3rd, 2007

Little Chef ‘secures rescue deal’ | | Guardian Unlimited Business

leave a comment »

Little Chef ‘secures rescue deal’ | | Guardian Unlimited Business

Unusual for me to cover a story that affects only the UK and from the business section at that but if ever a business needs to be allowed to go bust it is “Little Chef”.

In fact the poll associated with the story is “would you miss it?” Amazingly there was a small majority who would.

I was surprised to learn that there were only 234 of these restaurants. They seem to be ubiquitous because they are strategically located all across the major road network, and often they will be the only choice as they open all hours and serve pretty much the same menu all day.

My son ate there once many years ago – and it still sticks in his memory. Whenever I comment on the service anywhere he will respond “But it’s still better than Little Chef“. The slowness of the service was proverbial and provided material for comedy shows and stand ups. The food was awful. Everything prepared off site in a factory and flash frozen. Or hermetically sealed in a bag to be boiled in. Not that much was actually boiled, except the coffee of course – which was left to evaporate for hours and looked like waste sump oil. Whenever you hear about how bad British food is, you can be sure that at the bottom of this perception is Little Chef (Lyons’ Corner Houses having closed years ago).

Please, would the new owners scrap the whole venture or at least be only interested in the sites and come up with a new formula. Like freshly made local food at reasonable prices and without an extra of snide in the side.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 3, 2007 at 11:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Huge toll in car fatalities in U.S. goes unnoticed

with 3 comments

reprinted from the Washington Post for the Toronto market – I doubt we will see it here in any of our papers – Wheels –

the number of people who die in car crashes in North America is staggering, even if it is absent from the agenda of most public officials and largely ignored by the public.

When all is said and done and the ball begins to drop on New Year’s Eve, 44,000 people, give or take several hundred, will have died in auto accidents in the United States this year.

In Canada, about 2,500 die in road fatalities.

For perspective, consider that:

* At the 2006 casualty rate of 800 soldiers a year, the United States would have to be in Iraq for more than 50 years to equal just one year of automobile deaths back home.
* In any five-year period, the total number of traffic deaths in the United States equals or exceeds the number of people who died in the horrific South Asian tsunami in December 2004. U.S. traffic deaths
amount to the equivalent of two tsunamis every 10 years.
* The National Safety Council says your chance of dying in an auto crash is one in 84 over your lifetime.

And every day I see someone driving as though they are not only indestructible but also exempt from every form of regulation.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 3, 2007 at 11:01 am

Posted in Road safety