Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for January 26th, 2008

Raped Environment Led Polluters On, Defense Attorneys Argue

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The Onion

“While, obviously, it is extremely unfortunate that this forest was raped, it should have known better than to show off its lush greenery and tall, strong trees in the presence of my client if it didn’t want anything to happen,” said lead defense attorney Dennis Schickle, speaking before a courtroom packed with members of the media. “It’s only natural for any red-blooded American developer to get ideas in its head when it’s presented with that kind of untouched beauty.”

Written by Stephen Rees

January 26, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Environment

Bus Jams in Sheffield, July 1991.

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Claire Pendrous has been posting an amazing series of pictures of old British Buses on flickr. I left UK in 1988, so I did not see much of this myself first hand, except on brief trips home.

Mrs Thatcher regarded all forms of subsidy as some kind of sin. This included cross subsidy from busy routes to keep lightly loaded ones going. And the worst of all were the kind of subsidies from governments which “went straight into bus drivers’ pockets”. She was determined to both privatise the National Bus Company and force the sell off of municipal operations. Prof Christopher Foster from LSE scared her with his succinct account of what London was like in the days before London Transport, so while bus operations were contracted out, central control was maintained. But elsewhere in the country busy bus routes were fought over while low ridership rural routes were abandoned. County Councils could tender for subsidised socially essential services, but most preferred to keep the cost to property owners down (known in England as “the rates” – and later replaced by a simple poll tax or “community charge”) so the country bus almost vanished entirely.

This type of scene did not last long, as the competition drove weaker companies to the wall. After a few years, takeovers and consolidation greatly reduced the numbers of operators to a few large groups.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

Caution: Vehicle may be Transporting Political Promises

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Written by Stephen Rees

January 26, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Transportation

Missing your bus stop? Meet ‘the annunciator’

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It is nice to see a positive development in bus service in this region. And for once I can simply report it as good news with no carping. The Sun reports this morning that 23 buses are being fitted with the automatic annunciator that will tell passengers what the next stop is. And right down at the bottom of the story also notes that this system will also enable the text message schedule information that cell phone users can currently get from #33333 will be updated with real time next bus information. It is a trial that will be rolled out across the system if it works as well as I hope.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 26, 2008 at 10:16 am

Posted in transit

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