Archive for category Transport

It doesn’t snow in the summer

RAIL bosses made the farcical decision to take two de-icing trains out of service at the height of the big freeze, it emerged yesterday.

Hmm, you’re right, Express, that is a bit farc…

The locomotives were away for their annual service when the Arctic weather swept in.

Oh, you mean they were already being serviced before the big freeze started? Still, as the Express says, they should have serviced them in the summer, not the wint…

Network Rail said the two trains were 55 years old and were sent away at the end of the summer to be upgraded.

The process took longer than expected and “extra resources” were brought in from unaffected parts of the network. The company has 30 trains across the country responsible for keeping the railways free of ice.

Oh. In short, here’s a more accurate first paragraph:

RAIL bosses made the decision to take two de-icing trains out of service at the end of summer.




Car crash journalism

That damn war on motorists, eh? Not only did they put a bus lane on the M4 (which actually improved traffic flow significantly), now they’re putting 20 mph speed limits on roads! Naturally, the Daily Mail is unhappy, and now they have the ammunition to take these speed limits down! M… maybe.

Why death rates INCREASED in 20mph zones… and getting rid of cameras reduces accidents says today’s Mail. Now, you might think that with the headline beginning with the word “why”, that mean the Daily Mail was going to tell us why death rates increased. Of course, they don’t. That might be because death rates didn’t really increase at all in any meaningful sense.

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“Insane bus lane” not insane

It doesn’t take much to get the papers riled up, and the first mention of the ridiculous phrase “war on motorists” gets the predictable Pavlovian response from the papers all racing to defend the common man (or at least Jeremy Clarkson): The Telegraph runs with “Prescott’s M4 bus lane to be scrapped“, The Daily Mail with “End of the road for Prescott’s M4 bus lane as Tories scrap ‘symbol of Labour’s war on motorist’” and The Sun goes for “Tories to ditch insane bus lane“.

All of these articles try their hardest to give the impression that the M4 bus lane didn’t work, with photographs of empty bus lanes next to huge traffic jams. The bus lane is called “controversial”, “insane” and a “folly”. There could be no doubt that it didn’t work. Except…

What none of them mention is that the M4 bus lane reduces journey times – not just for buses and taxis, but for regular vehicles too. Thanks to the bus lane, drivers can now travel between junction 3 and junction 2 up to 6 minutes faster.

You see, the M4 bus lane doesn’t just let traffic get around the jams. It also stops a nasty bottleneck forming when the three lane motorway has to cross a two lane viaduct (which was in all likelihood the main reason for the bus lane being built). If the M4 bus lane gets reopened to cars, all that will happen is that that bottleneck will return and traffic jams will worsen.

If there’s anyone who’s declared “war on motorists”, surely its the politicians and journalists who want to increase congestion and deliberately complicate the road layout just to score a few political points?

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It’s the depths of Silly Season – perfect time for a formula!

Today the Mail and the Guardian/Observer both have an article the MAGIC FORMULA for cheap air travel. Are you ready for this?

Here it is…

A = gUG + min(kg, (1 – g)(1 – r))

What does it mean? Apparently ∏A means “profit” (as opposed to every time we use upper-case pi in mathematics, where it means a cumulative product). As to the other symbols, neither newspaper will deign to tell us.

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EU does something involving motorists, Daily Express explodes

Perhaps I should just rename this blog “Lies the Daily Express tells every damn day about the EU” and be done with it.

Now EU plans to make our roads pay as you go” they tell us today, which is a shame because you get unlimited internet access and 500 free minutes on contract.

MOTORISTS could be squeezed for millions in crippling toll charges if EU chiefs seize control of Britain’s roads and motorways.

European Commission bureaucrats are plotting to merge the UK’s main traffic routes with those on the Continent to form a transport network under their control.

The EC has already agreed to launch the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) on all current the stretch of M4 over the Severn Bridge.

Sounds like a bad prequel to some dystopian postcyberpunk epic.

In actual fact, of course, the EU does not plan to become the Darth Vaders of the road network. All they want to do is upgrade the computer systems on the Severn Bridge so they’re compatible with toll collection systems across the EU, making things slightly easier for haulage firms who carry things across the Channel.

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Express EU scare story is bullshit shocker

NOW the Express warns readers “Now Brussels wants MOTs every two years“.

ANNUAL MOTs for cars could be scrapped under Brussels-led proposals to harmonise safety checks across Europe.

Bureaucrats want Britain to adopt a system in which MOTs are done only every two years.

That doesn’t make sense – the EU is bringing in these regulations to make roads safer, so why would they stop anyone from having a more regular MOT?

Well, let’s have a look at what the EU actually said (PDF, p. 14).

Member States may: (a) bring forward the date for the first compulsory roadworthiness test and, where appropriate, require the vehicle to be submitted for testing prior to registration; (b) shorten the interval between two successive compulsory tests;

In other words, the four years – two years thing is the bare minimum. We’re still allowed to have our annual MOTs, and in fact, we’re probably making Brussels rather happy by doing so.

So the Express story was nothing but a complete lie. Oh wow, what a surprise.


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