Thursday 10 July 2008

Bad Traffic Day

The whole of public transport was working against me today. This morning I made my way to the temporary bus stop to get the 486 (having just missed the 422, and at twenty past seven I considered it a bit late for the 422). Mistake. I waited... more people came... I waited... more people came (a few ignorant types ignoring the orderly queue). Finally a bus came. Almost full. I managed to get on, as did the queue-jumpers, at the expense of some who had queued. No justice. The bus then made a bad tempered journey to North Greenwich, ignoring most stops due to the overcrowding.

At North Greenwich I was delighted to find a train on the middle platform, seats available, departing in 10 minutes. I decided for a seat I could wait 10 minutes. I didn't have to. The train left early, after an announcement that this would be the next train to depart saw a chaotic rush of passengers across the middle of the platforms!

Fast forward to the evening. Having weathered a brief crisis this afternoon at work (four options to be costed, each themselves with multiple options, all to be done by six after they didn't arrive 'till gone three!) I finally arrived at Green Park (with Boss-two) at ten to seven. We got to the Jubilee Line to find the platform overcrowded and no trains showing on the indicator board (again). Minor delays (apparently) due to a signal failure at Canary Wharf.

We waited. A train arrived, full to beyond bursting - about three people got off and about thirty got on. "Another train is directly behind this one" promised the announcer. We waited. Another train arrived (several long minutes later). The platform, in the interim, had filled up to previous levels. Again a few people got off and an impossible number squeezed on. Rinse and repeat. As the third train left (we'd now been in the station for about half an hour) we decided that we would definitely squeeze onto the next one, the platform looked a little less full... maybe there was hope. No. "The next train to arrive at the Southbound Jubilee Line platform terminates here. Do not board this train."! Seriously. The platform was as full as it had ever been. Fortunately a train really was a few minutes behind and we finally managed to squeeze onto the train. I spent an extremely uncomfortable journey under a fat man's armpit as far as Canary Wharf (cause of the chaos). I finally exited North Greenwich one hour after I had entered Green Park (I checked) and shall now be asking TfL for a refund!

Incidentally I noticed several people consuming beer on the tube tonight (probably not without good cause). This makes around fifteen incidents of contravention of the alcohol ban that I have personally witnessed since it came into force. What have I seen done about it? Nothing.

Talking of traffic, I saw an interesting news story tonight concerning proposals for Oxford Circus. There are plans afoot to re-imagine the pedestrian corssings. They won't just be across the four streets but also diagonally across the circus. "All traffic will stop for about 30 seconds". The problem is, Japanese (generally) are a polite and considerate nation, English (generally) are not. I can only imagine the free-for-all. And thirty seconds is certainly not enough time for me to cross a thoroughfare of that size!

The other news story that caught my eye is the latest Government plan regarding recycling. Instead of the 'stick' (fining people for non-compliance) they want to use the 'carrot' and reward people (£25 I think) for compliance. What nonsense! Who is paying for this lunacy? The tax payer? Because there is money to spare right now with 'bear markets' on the Stock Exchange and recession likely just round the corner. And why should it be so hard? We've been recycling since February without any 'stick' or 'carrot'. Isn't educating people as to why it is necessary and hoping that they have a modicum of compassion and conscience and concern for fellow man and the planet enough? No, probably not.