Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's up with TfL and shared spaces?

Saw Richmond Cycling Campaign's draft response to TfL’s consultation on changes at Manor Circus.
 
This consultation is a stark reminder of TfL's absolute incompetence when it comes to designing cycle lanes ; as well as its the fact those consultations are absolute farce since they fail to advertise them to users (no posters on the junction in question) or canvass local residents by way of letterbox flyers.
 
Thankfully they found out and their observations are mostly spot on.
This junction is a danger zone for cyclist, interrupting an important cycle path. As a result, many cyclists use the roundabout.
There's some merit to the proposals in the removal of the 3rd left filter lane on the Westbound A316 and the pavement widening, but the toucan crossings are ill conceived indeed and shared spaces are a recipe for disaster.




https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/streets/a316-manor-circus

 

Here's my response
1. This is a masquerade consultation: why hasn't TfL bothered to post signs on the junction itself to the attention of its users? Why have residents not been leafleted?
2. The intent is laudable: this roundabout bisects an important cycling route and offers no provision for cycling. As a result, many cyclists use the roundabout. In particular, the removal of the Westbound filter lane goes in the right direction.
3. However the execution is ill conceived on many aspects.
3.1. Shared cycle-pedestrians space is in general not safe and should be eliminated ; which should be possible with the filter lane removal and pavement widening.
3.1. Cycle lanes should have right of way to private land entrance -specifically to the BP petrol station and Sainsbury's
3.2. Toucan crossings will introduce much delays and therefore will be ignored -scrap them ; They are set too far back from the roundabout and impose a detour.
3.3. Scrapping those toucan crossings won't impose a widening of the central reservation and thus allow wider pavements -see 3.1.
3.4. Bicycles should not have to give way when merging into Sandycombe road and Manor road
3.5. The cycle lane should have right of way on North road, just like it was decided on Elsinore way.


Previous posts on similar subjects:

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Pizza firms leaves crashed driver alone (but not the pizze)

We witnessed a pretty shocking behaviour from pizza delivery firm Papa John today. After one of its delivery man was knocked off, it sent another employee to collect its pizza's, leaving his colleague behind as he was being attended by three ambulance crew.

The accident happened at junction reported repeatedly by residents as dangerous at 1545 today. A high-powered white BMW M3 travelling South on Bicester road collided with the scooter going East on another branch of Bicester road, leaving slid marks 6.50 metres long.

A paramedic arrived ten minutes after on a bicycle, followed shortly by two police officers in a car. It took a full 30 minutes for an ambulance crew to be on site.

This crossing has seen several accidents and many near misses and reported as dangerous to the council by residents demanding a raised junction.
Police car and ambulance on the scene of the crash in Bicester road, Richmond

The high-powered BMW M3 sports car bearing signs of the impact

The Papa John's pizza delivery scooter after the crash

Monday, January 20, 2014

Elsinore and the A316 breadcrumb cycle path

Some more on the 316...

Transport for London has sent us another consultation, to re-re-re-do a portion of the A316.
To cut a long story short, they re-did a while back a cycle lane on the Lower Richmond Road. They got several things wrong, and fixed some a few month later -for instance they moved the bus shelters where the cycle path was between a shelter and the road (duh) or sign posts right on the middle of the path. Or the turning space discussed below which meant cars had to do a 2 or 3 point turn in lieu of a U-turn (re-duh).

Monday, January 06, 2014

Alice in Holland, or the tale of crap cycle lanes in Richmond

The Richmond Cycling Campaign (aka RCC, on Twitter at @RichmondCycling) has a great post on the A316 here:
The A316 – a correspondent writes …

I've wanted to write about that a long time ago, as this cycle path was redone a few years back, but to very low standards -a complete waste of taxpayer money IMHO. Some additional observations to what the RCC posted:
  • Shared paths are a stupid idea, period.
  • At the start, they had put bus stops across the path, and moved them after when it became obvious that it was a potential risk as bus users would just cross the cycle lane to board. This shows that TfL has absolutely no idea about cycle lanes best practices. Changes of course cost money.
  • I discussed those priorities to cars turning with the TfL engineer at a Richmond May fair and he mentioned that drivers "were not expecting to yield on turning." Obviously, they're not there to change minds and improve attitudes.
  • Lastly, the cycle lane surface isn't smooth at all and doesn't drain well -no one likes a bumpy ride and puddles aren't great either when you're cycling. Oh, and it's not cleaned very well -there were two Xmas trees obstructing it yesterday for instance.
See some pictures below. Oh, and don't forget to check this page from the Cycling Embassy on Crap Cycle Lanes (credit to the Warrington Cycling Campaign).

This other RCC post is also a must read: What the Cycling Strategy Should Say…


Cycle land on Lower Richmond Road, interrupted by Manor Grove ; see also bus stop dangerously close.


Cycle land on Lower Richmond Road (A316) interrupted by Sainsbury's entrance
Cycle land on Lower Richmond Road (A316) interrupted by Sainsbury's entrance.


Cycle lane stops at Manor Circus, where you need it most. Shared path with pedestrian is very narrow. At that point, the A316 is 3 lane + 2 lanes wide (left filter lane into Manor Road)

Richmond Circus approach -the A316 cycle lane ends there and there are no provisions to merge into traffic to get into the city centre.


Related post:

Friday, December 20, 2013

On the aviation consultation -lobbies hijacked a great opportunity to get it right

Lobbies have hijacked the aviation consultation, and it's a shame that prevents Britain to enter the 21st century when it comes to air travel.

Here are my comments to the Economist article:

Short sighted indeed... You forgot some other important considerations.
1. External costs.
LHR is in the worst place possible -a marshland that requires to fly over 2m people and space constrained.

2. Fragmentation.
All other capitals have consolidated and moved their hub airports, but for London no one's talking about CLOSING any.

3. Substitutes
No one is either seriously planning to offload shorthaul flights with HS2, even though Eurostar has 70% of passenger share between London and Paris.

In a nutshell: a botched consultation that's been hijacked by lobbies -in particular those using and owning Heathrow.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mini-Holland or mini-Neverland?

So, here we go, the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames (LBURT) has gone forth with its proposal to apply for a cycling scheme funding.

Given the shoddy work they've done on cycle path in the past, no doubt they'll excel this time around. Call me a cynic, but shouldn't they have done this anyway?

Here's the application:
http://www.richmond.gov.uk/mini_holland_proposal_stage_two.pdf

And my comment on this article, reacting to grumpy residents:
http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/10882680.Twickenham__mini_Holland__scheme_on_its_final_lap_for_funding
Clearly, no one reading this thread (probably not even the LBRUT planning committee members) have been to the Netherlands.

Doing school runs and any other short journeys by car, as it is the norm in our borough, is not sustainable. It is about time to provide safe facilities for cyclists -and yes, that means reallocating space.

Looking at the A316 for instance, it is quite clear that space is mostly designed for cars. The Richmond roundabout is a great case in point of that flawed approach: when it was redesigned, another lane was added for cars but cycling is still on a shared space with pedestrians -a recipe for disaster. Not one single cycling approach provides a safe and continuous passage to bicycles.
In a nutshell, it's designed for through (non-local) car traffic, at the expense of (local) pedestrians and cyclists.

Why should we allocate highways to folks passing through?


PS: see also this RCC post

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homebase asked for my views....

... and so I'd think I'd share them.

Here's the survey I filled after I went there to buy some ericaceous compost -which, as usual, was out of stock.

Very limited product range, not for serious DIY, high-prices, items always out of stock.

If you want to be positioned lifestyle, then you'd be stocking exciting things, not middle of the road products.

I only go there because it's close to home, otherwise B&Q and Screwfix are my first choice for DIY, Squires is way better for gardening and Wickes is way cheaper.

Bottom line: you are on several distinct segments and you do all of quite badly.

Is there anyone out there to defend them or are they quickly becoming irrelevant?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cyclists unloved

This week's roundup

RT @RichmondCycling
 "Up to 75% of peak traffic now people on bicycles yet no consistent policy for making those roads safe for cycling" http://cyclelondoncity.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/local-roads-in-london-up-to-75-of-peak.html

Royal Parks finally comes out: they don't like cyclists. Too pleb?
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/royal-parks-put-stick-in-the-spokes-of-new-boris-cycle-link-8878624.html

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Richmond council planning schizophrenia

The council and Lord True is frankly disingenuous in those RTT article citations: Richmond loses out on planning rules appeal.

  
Just last year, they've approved 300 flats in North Sheen, with no provision for "vital infrastructure such as schools" or transportation.
 
In the process, retail and office space was also added to the already vacant stock on the same stretch of Lower Richmond road.   See also:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Richmond Council Planning Department: for developpers profits only

Here's what happens when the council and their deranged planning "policy" allows developpers to pack low standards, non-eco friendly in what was orchards and then cottages before they turned it into a light industrial estate:

Long-suffering residents at wits' end with Garden Road flats (RTT)


It would have been nicer if they had pushed for normal density terraced houses, but when fools run the asylum this is what is to be expected.

See my previous post on the subject:
The lost orchards of North Sheen and Richmond Council's cunning plan to impose a new tax?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

North Sheen station closed because of suspected WWII bomb

@ZeLondonNiouves Ambulance stuck at the Manor road level crossing: hope it's not too urgent... #fail pic.twitter.com/8geeTcvmbb
Following the decision of the lunatics running the council and Network rail of building a footbridge on the wrong side of Manor Road instead of where it happily was before, workmen have found a suspicious device.

Well done all.

JourneyCheck - South West Trains - All Stations to All Stations - Live Train Disruption/Cancellations/Delays and Real Time Departure/Arrival Boards
Line problem: at North Sheen.
Owing to a security alert at North Sheen all lines are blocked.
Impact:
Train services running through this station may be cancelled, delayed or revised at short notice. An estimate for the resumption of normal services will be provided as soon as the problem has been fully assessed.
Customer Advice:
A suspicious device has been found at North Sheen level crossing. Staff are on site and investigating, but until such time as the area can be declared safe, we are unable to run trains between Barnes and Feltham via Richmond.
Local bus services are conveying passengers via any reasonable route until further notice.
Underground services are conveying passengers between Richmond and London Waterloo in both directions until further notice.
Message Received :14/03/2013 13:15


See also:


Monday, February 18, 2013

DAY NICE: the web team comes AAround

Great surprise this morning: a tweet from @AmericanAir.

Just a flashback from previous episodes: I've booked some tickets for a family holiday around Xmas but they were not ticketed, despite me calling back to check. Since, it appears clearly to me that the reservations department failed to resubmit the transaction as confirmed by BarclayCard and to contact me about it. Obviously, by then the fares had doubled, which meant explaining the kids we were no longer going to see the Grand Canyon.

I've made a bit of a stink about it, on Twittter, Facebook and directly before that with the Customer Relations department.

Following all that, the web team who operates Twitter and Facebook contacted reservations and confirmed that they had never emailed me after all. They then tweeted me yesterday and proposed to reinstate the booking.

IT WORKED!

In about 30 mn after I cam back to them via DM, they had ticketed our booking! WOW.

So what now? We're relived after a few really stressful days. But then, we're looking forward to our holidays. Thank you to the American Airlines web team.

Based on this personal story, here are my thoughts on the customer experience aspects:
  • First, I have to praise @barclaycard who was incredibly responsive. They called me up to do the fraud check the next day, which is annoying but I suppose fine. Then I got them on the phone and that was not very conclusive but then they came back quickly by email. When I tweeted though, they were right away on the case.
  •  Secondly, after some denying and passing on the parcel, the @AmericanAir crew really helped. I'm not sure what went on between them and the reservations department, but I guess they put some pressure. So, thank you web team. I've checked the volumme of comments on Facebook and Twitter, and it's quite impressive. Clearly they're busy!
  • The AA reservation department though is a bit of a mess. There's probably quite a lot of manual processes. They're hard to reach and agents don't seem to have authority to do much, not even escalate a complaint.
  • For customers then, social media (SocMed) is a great new avenue to engage with brands, directly and using channel of choices -it's much easier to tweet or Facebook than waiting 20 mn for an agent.
  • For brands, it can be a way to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty with quicker issue resolution. And also an easier way to trip in public if responses fall short of the mark.


Previous post in this series:
  • American Airlines -DAY FOUR, now own up!
  • American Airlines, give me my booking back!
  • Thursday, February 14, 2013

    DAY FIVE with American Airlines: w're merging with US Air, talk to the hand!

    OK, it's now DAY 5 since I've started my complaint about AA losing my booking.  It's now clear that someone in their reservations department made a mistake by not calling me, I suspect not emailing me and probably not trying to take the payment from my credit card company as confirmed by BarclayCard.

    Yes, their so called "customer relations" doesn't want to be involved in investigating the matter further because they're not "equipped." A feeble excuse and a poor way to treat their customers.

    It's clear now that not only they don't have a single view of the customer, that their reservations and payment processing systems are not quite state of the art, and that more worryingly they don't have a "voice of the customer" office. No wonder they went bust.

    Here's their latest letter (below), you can judge for yourself.

    February 13, 2013

    Dear *****

    Thank you again for contacting us, and I do apologize for the inconvenience this is causing you by being passed on, from department to department.

    I also understand your frustration, however as I had advised you in my previous response, Customer Relations is only equipped to handle and work to resolve a variety of past travel issues and we are not equipped with the systems required to handle or resolve future reservations issues hence we recommend that you contact our Reservations Team for immediate assistance. Our Agents have complete access to the most current schedule and fare information, and are much better equipped to provide assistance for any issues relating to impending / future travel.

    They will be more equipped to assist you, and I do apologize that this has not been the case in the past. Again, as we only deal with past dated travel through Customer Relations, I am afraid I am unable to assist you further.

    M** **, I apologize again for this inconvenience and I do hope you will find a quick resolution to your booking.

    Sincerely,

    Olivia Kacisolomone
    Customer Relations
    American Airlines
    AA Ref#1-809646144

    For security purposes and to protect privacy, our process does not allow for replies to this message. If we can assist you further, please let us know by clicking http://www.aa.com/customerrelations.

    Previous post in the saga:

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    American Airlines -DAY FOUR, now own up!

    American Airlines (ex. AMR, now AAMRQ) is probably too busy merging with US Air but in any case, it's no surprise they went busy given the way they treat their customers. It's day four, and the responses we're getting are still "contact that other department" or "your fare is no longer available". That's not good enough, as per my email below.

    If you've missed the beggining of the saga, here's the start: American Airlines, give me my booking back!
    Check also this Facebook thread.


    Re your latest email AA Ref#1-808589557, it is still my intimate conviction that there's a mistake on AA's part.


    I would very much like you to recognise this and rebook my flights at the original price. Passing back the parcel to reservations doesn't help because they don't have the authority to do this.

    1. We have been in touch with you re. this booking, but at no point AA said there was a problem.

    2. I dispute the fact AA has tried to contact me. Actually, I know AA haven't called. And I am convinced AA did not send those emails about a credit card problem.

    3. I heard back from my credit card company who says you HAVE NOT tried to resubmit this transaction. See below.

    Do the right thing please. Own up. Rebook us.

    LL>



    Dear *****


    Thanks for your message.

    I have checked your account and can confirm that there are no Outstanding Authorisations for the amounts you specified on your account at present. This could be because the transaction has either completed, which you can view under 'Recent Transactions', or it may have dropped off your account.

    Outstanding Authorisations are usually held on an account for seven to 10 days before they are either removed or are fully debited upon receipt of the sales voucher receipt from the company or merchant who your account is being debited to.

    An account can only legally be debited once the credit card company is in receipt of the Sales Voucher Receipt. Sales Voucher Receipts are usually received within 7 to 10 days. However, merchants do have six years and one day in which they

    can legally produce the sales voucher receipt. Therefore, an outstanding authorisation could be pending on an account for anytime within that period and then debited to the account.

    I trust this information is of assistance.

    Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

    Kind Regards,

    ****
    Customer Service Advisor
    Barclaycard Customer Services

    13/2/13 UPDATE: to my great surprised, BarclayCard actually called me back after my tweet and confirmed that AA did not retry to submit the transaction. My conclusion? AA failed their duties of caring for their customers. And lied. They look bad. Someone screwed up there and they should really own up rather than burying their head in the sand. 
    Top marks for the @barclaycard web team anyway. At least someone's doing their job.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    American Airlines, give me my booking back!

    
    New logo. Old AA.
    Here's my letter to AA tonight, has anyone experienced the same?

    Hello,

    This is a formal complaint after I feel I have exhausted all avenues via different channels. I can't even start to explain how frustrated I am about your customer service procedures, or the lack thereof.

    Here's my story of how AA screwed up our family holidays of a lifetime.

    Until recently, I was really looking forward to taking our two young daughters and my wife into the Wild West, through the Grand Canyon to see the Big Landscapes. The tickets were dear but heck we've saved and we booked long in advance to ensure we'd get a good price.

    CHAPTER ONE: THE ORIGINAL BOOKING
    So, right after Christmas I went onto aa.com and booked some flights. Took us quite a while to figure out the options but it was done and we bought the travel guides.

    CHAPTER TWO: BOOKING NUMBER TWO
    Alas, the next day my credit card company left me a voice mail saying they had a case of suspected fraud. I called them back, confirmed all was OK and they said they'd authorise the transaction. In the evening, I called AA's reservation line -I guess using the **** number because we were staying there with family for the holidays. Ahah, they said, we need to rebook you because the payment was not processed. Which they did. It took a painfully long call to do this but then the agent was nice and I did not yet know it would be the first of a series of calls.

    At that point, they gave me a different booking number: ******. I did not make a note of the first one but I did not think much about it.

    CHAPTER THREE: EVERYTHING'S OKAY
    I logged in the day after and saw my flight as purchased but not ticketed. Hum, I thought. And so I called again to check all was OK with the payments. After all, I used my **** card and it's a small provincial building society which might not get on with a US large company?
    The agent told me that "everything was OK with my booking". I was reassured. And wrong.

    CHAPTER FOUR: COMPUTER SAYS YES
    On the week of the 7th January, I checked on the website out of instinct and saw the reservation status was still "purchased". I'm quite busy with my day job that week and so I send a few emails around to AAdvantage, who tell me to contact reservations by phone. Quite useless you'd admit. So I ask my wife to call. Why? Because I'm busy -you were not paying attention. She can't get through to an agent but the robot tells her the reservation is OK, lists all the flights and so on. Hum. So it must be surely?

    CHAPTER FIVE: WHAT, NOTHING ON THE CREDIT CARD STATEMENT?
    I got the credit card statements, and to my surprise nothing on it. Strange I think. I quickly log in, see the reservation is still "purchased" and have to go travel on business for a few days. Upon my return, I login yesterday night and see my reservation as "cancelled." Mouth opens, closes, opens again, heartbeats skip. Expletive follows. I pick-up the phone yesterday night (on Sunday 9th February of what still is 2013 but now feels 1984) and get told that reservation can rebook it (sigh) but, ah, the price now jumps up by something obscene like 2,000 quids. Yep. Two thousand British Pounds. TWO GRAND. I don't find that funny, at all, and explain the agent (remaining calm, after all she's just a cog in the machine speaking in an 8 hour shift to just another customer) that I just want my booking back. In the meantime, I email back AAdvantage. She tells me she's got no record of my emails asking for clarification because it's another department, nor from my previous calls. Great.

    CHAPTER SIX: THE MORNING AFTER
    We're Monday 10th February. 10/2/13 as we say here. I'm supposed to do the school run but tell the kids to be ready and to wait on the stairs landing while I call back the UK call centre. The agent can't do anything but they tell me they've sent me some emails saying that my credit card has been declined. It's interesting because I never got them despite checking my spam etc. I ask her to forward that email. The girls have now been waiting 40 minutes in the hall and we're getting late for school.

    I hang up and glance at my email. The email I never received has been pasted into a new email but without the headers, so there's no mention of when it was really sent.

    During the day I kick up a fuss on twitter, which comes to the same conclusion: although they own the planes and all, AA can't rebook me at the original price.

    WHERE NOW?
    Now, what's funny about you AA is that you seem to record the things you like. Or those that fit your version of the truth. Like the call in chapter 3 wasn't logged into your CRM system, maybe because the agent just peeked at the record but did not modify it. Or that emails suddenly pops in, no probs at all, except when they're supposed to (I never got your emails stating the CC transaction did not go through).
    Because I actually don't believe you've tried to contact me about this booking. What I know for sure is that I've enquired many times about this booking. American Airlines, you did bad and need to apologise and own up to it. I want my booking back.

    In addition to screwing up my booking, your "customer experience" is pretty poor too. As a customer, I don't want to be passed around between department who are are passing on the baby. I. Don't. Care. Which. Department. You're all American Airlines for what I know. And. Pon't. Put. Me. On. Hold. All. The. Time. It's especially annoying as you're speaking to folks who don't seem to have a last name, which means that when the line cuts -as it did several times during that whole story- you have to start all over again.

    See, it's our holidays of a lifetime. A special treat for the girls. And I'd like to have it back. Please.

    Cheers,

    ****

    12/2/13 Update: go an inate response from customer relations telling me to call reservations.  Clearly, they get neither customer nor relations. In the meantime, here's a link to this post on the AA Facebook page. Please "like" and "share".
    On twitter, AA told me they could not help except rebooking me at the grossly inflated price. The story continues.
    And tonight, I've called back my credit card company who assured me they did not decline any transactions. Someone's telling porkies, and given AA's track record at communicating and inventing emails, I know where my suspicions lie.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    Response from TfL re. Barclays Cycle Hire update PRICE DOUBLING

    Hi,

    It's all well and good except for regular users who I suspect make most of your revenues?

    For instance, this morning there wasn't 2x more bikes at the Waterloo
    docking stations.

    Cheers,

    LW>

    On 31/12/2012, BarclaysCycleHire barclayscyclehire@tfl.gov.uk wrote:
    > Dear Mr Windsor
    >
    >Thank you for your email regarding the tariff changes for Barclays Cycle
    >Hire in 2013.
    >
    >The scheme is regularly monitored and continually reviewed to identify any
    >opportunities for improving users' experience.
    >
    >We are undertaking important system software upgrades and website
    >improvements in 2013 to meet this goal. These include, for example:
    >
    >Enabling casual users to hire cycles with a single swipe of their payment
    >card. This will greatly simplify (and thereby speed up) the process of
    >hiring a bike on street
    >
    >Members will be able to hire bikes as casual users using their registered
    >payment card. This will benefit members who may have forgotten to bring
    >their key or who would like to casually hire cycles for friends and family
    >to accompany them
    >
    >Changes to the BCH website to improve the user experience, including
    >enhanced docking station status information, online account management and
    >an improved BCH journey planner.
    >
    >The on-street experience will also be improved through a number of changes
    >at docking stations, including:
    >
    >Enhancements to the terminal touch screen interface to provide better
    >information about nearby docking stations and improved foreign-language
    >information about using the scheme, as well as enabling the single-swipe
    >payment process noted above
    >
    >Improvements and updates to the terminal panels themselves, with new and
    >updated maps, nearest docking station information, and clearer information
    >about tariffs and charges
    >
    >We will continue to focus on improved bike redistribution and cycle repair
    >strategies to ensure that bikes and free docking points are as available to
    >users as possible, and that cycles with reported faults are repaired swiftly
    >and returned to the scheme. Ongoing maintenance of docking stations will
    >also continue to be a priority.
    >In addition to these system-wide improvements, the planning and roll-out of
    >the Cycle Hire Expansion and Intensification (CHEI) programme into south
    >west London is another key focus for us in the coming months. The Mayor has
    >always viewed cycle hire as an expanding programme and has asked TfL to look
    >at ways to expand and improve the scheme in a sustainable way into the
    >future.
    >
    >Additional revenue generated from the increase in the tariff will be put
    >towards the above developments as well as other improvement opportunities
    >that may arise, and we are confident that the scheme will continue to grow
    >and develop.
    >
    >Barclays Cycle Hire has been a fantastic success, introducing millions of
    >people to the joys of cycling in the capital. Indeed we saw record highs of
    >over 47,000 hires in one day, and 3 months of over a million hires during
    >the summer.
    >
    >Kind regards
    >
    >Tristan John
    >Barclays Cycle Hire

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    To TfL re. Barclays Cycle Hire update PRICE DOUBLING

    Hello,

    I would like to know what the rationale is behind DOUBLING those fares and what plans you have to improve your service levels?

    Cheers,

    LW>
    From: Transport for London <Transport_for_London@info.tfl.gov.uk>
    Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:42 AM
    Subject: Barclays Cycle Hire update


    TFL - Service Changes
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    Barclays Cycle Hire tfl.gov.uk
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    Dear Mr Leforestier,

    We recently announced that the tariff for Barclays Cycle Hire is changing from Wednesday 2 January 2013:
    • 24 hour access will increase from £1 to £2
    • Weekly access will increase from £5 to £10
    • Annual membership will increase from £45 to £90
    After hiring a bike, the first thirty minutes of use will still be free. All other usage charges and additional charges including late return, non return and bicycle damage will not change.

    As you have Auto Renew set up on your account, you will automatically be charged the new access fee when you next hire a bike on or after 2 January. Access periods purchased before 2 January are unaffected, even if they run beyond this date.

    If you have multiple keys on your account, the same access fee will be charged for each key.

    The access fee increases are the first since the scheme was introduced and will be used to make improvements to the future operation of the scheme. Visit our website to read about our expansion plans.

    To find out more about the tariff changes, please click here


    Yours sincerely,

    Nick Aldworth
    General Manager, Barclays Cycle Hire
    Transport for London
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    Friday, December 07, 2012

    Richmond pubs: the blog!

    Some reading for the winter month, with this blog that reviews all Richmond pubs:
    http://richmondpubguide.blogspot.co.uk/

    Good reading, all the miss is the pub address and the name of the beers.

    Monday, October 08, 2012

    IKEA, flat packed house fires?


    Melting transformer under the stairs, house fire narrowly avoided...

    Thank you not #IKEA.

    Wondering if that's a common occurence and a known fire hazard?

    Ikea item reference S0303(SANSA)
    Made in China by Tongxiang Yongda Telecomunications Co., Ltd under model YD-60A-2


    Update 15/10/12
    • Ikea called me yesterday (Sunday) to address the issue.
    • A very nice lady asked me details as they were concerned by the fire risk
    • The product appears discontinued so they can't withdraw it from sale
    • She will send a £20 voucher to use in store
    Bottom line: a late but very good reaction from IKEA, addressing both the safety aspect and the customer satisfaction aspects.

    Friday, October 05, 2012

    The catholic school issue

    It's not hard to get lost in the Great School Debate that's filling in the RTT front page and letters column, let alone several Facebook groups -and even this blog: On the LBRUT's catholic obsession.

    In the latest amazing twist, the council issued a press release with a very personal and combative langage against the opposition figurehead, Jeremy Rodell: Secretary of State for Education confirms Council decision on Catholic Schools is lawful - London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
    Not quite what you'd expect from a lord...

    What's the issue then?
    In a nutshell, the council is spending £8.5 millions to buy a site for a catholic school, to be run by the Diocese of Westminster (with a dotted line to the pope in Rome then). The admission policy means that with 10% of catholics in the borough, over 70% of pupils will be from outside. The council argued that there's no NEED for secondary schools, and that therefore I'd be nice to have a catholic school, as there are primary catholic schools but the secondary ones had long been closed.

    Maybe I'm being naive, but I view this as simple supply and demand question. If there were more good grammar schools, surely parents would put their children in state schools instead of going private?


    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    Richmond park given a rebuke on parties

    The park is a very special place indeed, but it seems not everyone is in agreement on what that means.

    The Friends of Richmond Park like it quiet. Very quiet. This time, they were not ranting about cyclists but had a gripe about a party held by Range Rover at the Royal Lower Ballet school. I actually quite agree this was way over the top we should leave deers and runners alone in the dark...  Good that they got their way. Mind you, they hold late night weddings at Pembroke Lodge -the extension disfigured it it to increase the capacity, not something the Friends care about apparently?

    Royal Ballet School Range Rover Launch - YouTube

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    On the LBRUT's catholic obsession

    There's been much coverage about the London Borough of Richmond plan to open a catholic secondary school.  It would be all well IF there was not a shortage of secondary school places in the borough, IF the council was not spending £8m to buy the site and hand it free to the diocese and IF catholics did not make just 10% of the borough's population.

    Why this plan then? See my comment on Twickerati: Lord disappointed by acolyte
    The council spending £8m to create a faith-school that will provide endoctrinationquality education for catholic pupils, 70% coming OUT of the borough.

    Where's the democracy in there?

    By the way, why did Lord True not disclose his interests (see above, his wife is catholic and heads up the SIR HAROLD HOOD'S CHARITABLE TRUST, whose aim is quite vaguely "To benefit such Roman Catholic Charitable purposes as the Trustees shall in their absolute discretion from time to time think fit".
    This trust has £30m in the bank...

    See also:




    Monday, September 17, 2012

    How often do plane stowaways fall from the sky?

    Wheel well attemptsThe Beeb wakes up after under-reporting past cases with this article: BBC News - How often do plane stowaways fall from the sky? Interestingly enough, they don't answer the question.  I've done the maths though: it's one every four years. Just on Richmond borough.
    List of reported stowaways reported on Heathrow-bound planes
    Year Provenance Airline Number Condition Impact/Retrival Source
    2010 Austria Dubai royal family private jet 1 Alive LHR link
    1996 India 2 Dead Sainsbury's building site? link
    2012 South Africa BA 1 Dead LHR link
    2001 Bahrein BA 1 Dead Homebase car park, Richmond link
    2012 1 Dead Portman avenue, East Sheen link
    2002 Ghana Ghana Airways 2 Dead LHR link
    2002 Ghana BA Dead link
    2000 1 Dead Broadstone farm, Rudwick, Sussex? link
    2002 Uganda DAS Air Cargo 1 Dead LHR link
    2007 LHR
    See my previous post on the subject: