Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good to see cyclists campaigning against road planning

I've long said that TfL has got absolutely no clue on incorporating cycling into the urban fabric, or in other words they're absolutely rubbish and useless when it comes to Cycle Lanes.

That's why I welcome this: Be the change; why your help is needed on Blackrfriars Bridge (i b i k e l o n d o n
More details on
London Cycling Campaign.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My questions to Barclays Cycle Hire managers

Thanks for your email,

It comes right in time. Together with other users, we were stuck at Waterloo yesterday around 1900 as all neighbouring stations were full. No staff was at hand to help of course.

I really do like the Boris Bikes, but unpredictability makes it hard rely on.

Just this week, for instance:
  • no more bikes at Waterloo on Tuesday shortly after 0800 (it's usually empty after 0830 anyway), missed my train and wasted 30 mn
  • picked up a bike from Red Lion Square on that same day and tried to return it in Covent Garden, circled for 15mn to find a docking point

Here are some suggestions to improve the service.
  • Add more capacity in Waterloo. I mean way more, as London is clearly under-served compared to Paris:
  • Busy stations need more staff to replenish and empty slots in the mornings and evenings
  • The maps on the service points are next to useless: the detailed one should list station names (as it's hard to figure out which station indicated by the computer is which on the map) and the map of the larger area should indicate Boris Bikes stations.
  • Also, they should always point to the North as normal maps.

Could you let me know what you're planning to do to address those points?


Ludovic Windsor

From: Transport for London <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:26 AM
Subject: Information for Barclays Cycle Hire members

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Transport for London

Dear Mr Windsor,

As a member of Barclays Cycle Hire, I thought you might be interested in taking part in an online "Meet the Managers" forum we will be running on Tuesday 18 October, from 19:00 to 20:30.

The forum will provide you with the opportunity to contact both myself and other senior managers with any questions or suggestions you may have about the scheme, for example, regarding its operation or future plans. The scheme has now passed its first anniversary and we would welcome your input. To join in the live forum, please visit

Alternatively, if you will not be available to join us, we would be happy to receive your questions in advance. Simply email your questions to us at

Yours sincerely,
James Mead
James Mead
Head of Operations, Barclays Cycle Hire
Transport for London
Cycle Hire

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Mayor of London

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Restaurant review: Skylon

After some research for a business dinner close to Waterloo, I booked Skylon in the Royal Festival Hall.
The room was vast, gymnasium sized in fact, with a level of noise approaching that of a teenage basketball match, but the floor-to-ceiling windows opening up on the Thames make it spectacular. Shame they did not give us a window table as requested. The waiters are all in star-trek-like uniform, in tune with the retro-futurist location and name, plentiful and nice enough but they probably were beamed to another planet during main course as service got slower and slower.
The wine list is predictable but good, the sommelier was new and knowledgeable.
I haven't mentioned the food, and that's because it was passable. On the positive side, my onglet was perfectly uncooked as I ordered and like it but the smoked mackerel salad was some potted fish, swimming in light mayonnaise dressing and cos lettuce.

Final verdict: Skylon joins OXO in the category "you pay for the view, not the food".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tube to cost £5 to fund Olympic, West London commuters bear the pain for no benefits

While salaries are on hold (except if you're a tube driver and can hold the government to ransom to get a grand's bonus), public transport costs continue to increase much faster than inflation.

Some of this is due to the Olympics bill.

As a West Londoner, I deeply resent this as we don't even enjoy the benfits of the games since all events are in the East.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Friday, September 09, 2011

An airport encounter

So there I was yesterday night having three hours to kill at FRA (Frankfurt airport), working in a half-empty noodle bar -MoshMosh; if you ask (sort of Wagamama; with better beer but not as good dumplings).
Weissbier tasting meant I had zip to the gents 5mn only to find a middle-aged woman sat opposite me. The waitress (tasked with watching my possessions) later told me she tried to say someone was sitting there, to no avail. Those long tables were quite narrow, so I felt a bit annoyed for a short while and then resumed crafting a powerpoint on my laptop.
She orders food, I eat a pho and then the next thing is that she spills her white wine on my laptop. She mubles sorry, I say nothing but am profoundly annoyed. She wipes it -ineffectively-, I mention she could drink champagne as it doesn't stain since it also made it onto my trousers. She answers it should not stain, to which I say I'll have to take a trip to the dry cleaner. She looks ashamed, glances sideways without a word for a good 10 mn, then picks up her things and flees without uttering anything else.
I was amazed by so much rudeness and wondered whether she would she have offered to picki up the drycleaner bill if she was a bloke? Anyway, I guess I'll go to a different restaurant next time, maybe Hooters?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

When will TfL realise they need more BorisBikes at Waterloo?

Now the Summer's gone -and everyone's back-, it's cruelly obvious Transport for London need to add more capacity to its Barclays Cycle Hire scheme.

The scheme is over-subscribed in several locations, including in Waterloo where at peak time (after 0815) one can't hire a bike nor drop it off after 1815.

The staff at hand -two guys and a trailer- can't cope with the quick-forming lines, often 20 deep.

At a time when the motorist is robbed more than ever, when train tickets have increased for years above inflation (as incomes stagnated), it is time to better resource alternative transportation schemes. They are both 'green' and low cost, as well as popular.

King regards,

Ludovic Windsor

Monday, March 14, 2011

Postman Pat's elastic bands lambasted for littering

According to BBC News in a piece titled "Royal Mail's red rubber band use revealedRoyal Mail postal worker" (what a catchy title guys...), Postman Pat uses 4,000,000 rubber bands every year at a tune of £5m, an increase of 40% over 5 years.

No wonder why every day I find dozens in my street alone.

Why can't they make giant rubber balls with them like any other office workers? Or just reuse them?

See also the Keep Britain Tidy (@KeepBritainTidy) campaign.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

At last, TfL goes mobile

Transport for London has finally realised that people need travel information the most, well, when they're travelling.

Armed with this great finding, they've released a mobile version of their website -a great initiative.

Just a suggestion though: why don't they use geolocation to figure out where one to speed up the journey planner or find the closest and next bus about?

Transport for London
  Dear email subscriber,

I am writing to let you know that you can now access TfL travel information on your mobile by browsing the TfL website direct from an internet enabled phone. The website will automatically recognise the model of your phone and tailor the screen view accordingly.

Journey Planner and live travel news can now be used directly via your mobile. In addition, you can check for planned weekend improvement works and find traffic updates on London's roads.

For more information, visit via your mobile.

Yours sincerely,
Vernon Everitt
Vernon Everitt
Managing Director, Marketing and Communications

Mayor of London

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Curing the symptoms: plod in a van at the level crossing

After realising red  light jumping at levels crossing is rife and having established that people running in front of trains isn't exactly the best for health and safety statistics, Network Rail has shelled out £60k on a high-tech camera van. 
The sixty grand mobile enforcement control room comes complete with PC Chris Sheppard watching herds of commuters and vehicules running across the railway as light flashes.

Check this video, mostly filmed at Mortlake station (the van is parked on a double yellow line..): BBC: New spy camera to check level crossings.

It's worth pointing out that the Sheen lane crossing does have a pedestrian bridge, allowing school children to cross instead of running across unlike at North Sheen station.

My take on this? Once more, they're trying to cure the symptoms rather than tackling the issue. Which is quite simply that a level crossing on a busy line (translate: closed for 15+ mn at a time) is archaic in a densely populated connurbation. The line should be buried or a tunnel dig, or else. 
Final thought: the story doesn't say if the plod-van comes with a toilet?