Friday, 30 May 2008

About public transport in the UK (3) [Despre transportul în comun în UK]

No, the image above is not that of a ghost town!... but one of a London street, shot from a double decker bus (London Route 11), somewhere near Victoria Station, on on the last Friday of January 2008, sometime around 20:00.

Therefore, this image speaks more than a thousand words about the effect of the infamous (for some) or brilliant (in my view) London congestion charge. Although it was well beyond 18:00 (when the restriction ends), I didn't see (then or in any other occasion!) many cars in the charging zone – which is really great, isn’t it?

Maybe this measure doesn’t do much for the congestion in the Greater London area, and maybe neither does it help significantly in the fight against global warming (which is already a typically British obsession that I certainly have many things to write about).

Nevertheless, it does a tremendous amout of good to the public transport, thus making London a very pleasant place to be from this point of view. When it comes to travelling above the ground, whether you can afford a taxi or have to rely on a bus, I can’t imagine anyone being late in London, due to external circumstances, and not due to their own fault.

On the other hand, the charge brings in money for London’s public transport system, as both the revenue from the £ 8 daily charge, and the fine (£ 60 to £ 180) imposed for non payment are meant to be used for this sole purpose – making travelling through London quicker, and more confortable for as many people as possible.

Not that I were a fan of the now ousted ‘Red Ken’ but I really liked most things about London’s public transport system for which he is credited for, especially the comfortable double deckers, which are limousines compared to Videanu’s awful Citaro buses, far worse that the DAFs, which this new generation of buses replaced.

And don’t worry that collecting the payments ‘strangles’ the traffic in some places or that the police have to chase motorists who enter ‘the zone’ without having paid. Again, Big Brother does it all almost by himself. CCTVs scan every licence plate, and easily find in a database those who paid or not before entering ‘the zone’ in a particualr moment of the day!

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]

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