Apparently some sort of new bicycle thing — a hire scheme of some sort — launched in London on Friday. After things got heated with an organised anti-bank stickering campaign, a man was arrested for kicking one of the poor things. And if we had known that usage on Friday would be free — and with hindsight, we probably should have expected it — we’d have taken one on the Mass.
The Olympic Road Network (the news have been misnaming it Route — all of the routes are in fact roads) has been confirmed: Park Lane, Embankment and Upper Thames Street are in. 25,000 “sponsors and their guests” will be able to use them, thus guaranteeing that the Olympics will not be ruined by the absence of “sponsors and their guests”. Some are already expressing their shock at hearing that even taxis will not be allowed to use them. We really have been expertly conditioned to believe that taxis have some sort of right push in and drive wherever they like. With the fine for “improper use” at £100 (or, in newspeak, £200 with a 50% discount if paid on time), a nicely flowing Olympic lane will no doubt prove very tempting to the sort of idiot who already thinks it’s a good idea to drive in the congestion charging zone.
Ho ho. Parking, eh? Harrods owners’ luxuary cars clamped on Knightsbridge. Kensington & Chelsea council have realised that a £70 fine means nothing to the sort of person who already thinks that it’s a good idea to drive into their borough, and so instead of a token fine that merely gives the fine payer the feeling of having paid for a service, K&C are taking away the children’s toys and making them stand in the corner.
Those new Victoria line trains that we’ve been expecting for three years turn out not to work perfectly first time. They shut down if you stand too close to the doors, and are therefore described as “23 times less reliable” than the old ones. Except, as London Reconnections points out, this won’t be a surprise to the engineers and project managers, who will know that this is how engineering projects work, and be ready with the fix right away.
Of a more long term concern to tube commuters should be the cuts to station staff, which this week are prompting strike ballots, and the Mayor’s great Air Con.
Meanwhile, talentless banjolele players accuse TfL of discrimination after being told they’re not good enough to play on the tube.
Bus firm repudiates last week’s racist abuse story.
Camera on world’s most blindingly obvious “Buses and taxis only” road rakes in £2 million from Motorists who get confused and think they’re a bus. I for one welcome this tax on the stupid.
The New West End Company have an artists impression of St Giles’ Circus after the Crossrail works are completed at the station below: a scene delightfully free from street furniture clutter, where pedestrians and cyclists meander about in the junction, while buses, whose motion blur implies quite some speed, plough through them. Most depressingly of all, they tell us that the Queen musical will still be playing a decade from now.
Finally, after Tom Hall suggested six uses for a hire bike, your moment of zen: the author demonstrates how a 20kg hire bike can be a complete replacement for a gym membership: