Thursday, March 30, 2006

The man in black

For some reason my 1950's semi-detached Valhalla has three street lamps stuck on the pavement in front of it.

It would be neat if any one of them was working.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Adventures in commuterland

If I had my time again I wouldn't stick with public transport for one moment longer than absolutely necessary and sod the future of the biosphere; let it go to Hell in a handcart, which it seems to be doing pretty well of its own accord anyway regardless of my travelling martyrdom. I dream of the day when I get into work and then come back home by public transport without any sort of incident or adventure. I travel about twenty-three miles to work. It's not like I'm doing the Silk Road or exploring the remoter reaches of the far Kalahari. I'm commuting across one of the major conurbations in one of the richest countries on the planet. Here's today:

  • Half an hour late into work because the train into town is cancelled.

  • Coming home,

    • the 1823 in to town turns up at 1849.

    • Once in town the trams are subject to delay so I walk into the city centre to try and make the connection to the station for the train home.

    • I know that if the tram doesn't turn up by twenty-five to eight I'm going to miss my train, unless I'm lucky and my train's late.

    • I give up at twenty to and go for a bus. At ten to eight a bus turns up. It's not my bus but it gets me close enough to home to give me a fighting chance; and if the worst comes to the worst I should only have to wait quarter of an hour for a bus home.

    • Unfortunately, the city centre's gridlocked: a bus has broken down just outside the bus "station" (actually it's just a big traffic island with bus stops on it).

    • By quarter past eight we have managed to travel literally the length of six buses. I give up, resort to a tram and get the train that runs an hour later than the one I would have got had the trams not been piddling around earlier.
  • I get home at a minute to nine.

If it were down to me, all Members of Parliament and all directors of public transport companies would be debarred the use of cars and taxis and forced to go about their business by public transport. The arguments against are well-rehearsed...
"It would be quite impossible to get to all our important meetings by public transport."
For shame.
"There are no public transport links to the sites I need to visit."
And your point is?
"Public transport isn't an option for security reasons."
Welcome to your world. If public transport's unsafe, unreliable, inconvenient or non-existant you'll be well-placed to damned well do something about it, won't you?

These people are the architects of our workaday hells. Their being featherbedded from the consequences of their activities gives them no incentive to make things any better.