Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I go driving in my car ...

I should have almost finished assembling the superstructure of my latest model battleship this morning ... but I have only just got back from driving my wife to Croydon. She is appearing as a witness at an industrial tribunal and had to be there by 10.00am. It is just over 12.5 miles from our house to the location of the offices of the Employment Tribunal Service, and to make sure that we arrived in plenty of time we set off at 8.30am.

We got there at 9.50am!

The drive back actually took longer, as one of the roads that I had used to get to Croydon was closed when I tried to drive back along it, and the diversion that had been put in place seemed to take me miles out of my way ... and into several minor traffic jams.

I have to go back in a couple of hours to pick my wife up when the hearing ends. Hopefully she will not need to go back again tomorrow ...

(For all those of you who are wondering why I chose to drive rather than expecting my wife to travel by public transport, the answer is very simple. Despite the delays and hold-ups it was still quicker than the journey would have taken by public transport, which would have involved two buses and three separate railway lines to get there ... and the same to get back. Transport for London predicted that it would take a minimum of two hours ... assuming that none of the buses or trains were late.)

14 comments:

  1. That's 9.38MPH! You need to get the chap with the red flag to walk a little faster...

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  2. Driving in England, the great time consumer or where's the traffic jam....

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  3. Meh.. still not that bad.. come to Istanbul.. where 2 miles can take you 3 hrs if the conditions are right ;)

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  4. My favourite journey involves a trip round the southern half of the M25. It doesn't matter what time of day or night I go, I always end up stationery at some point. It's not called "the worlds biggest car park" for nothing!

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  5. It never ceases to amuse me that here in 21st century Britain, travel times for a lot of journeys actually works out slower than those for our 19th century forebears.

    I think I remember seeing that the average effective vehicle speed travelling through Central London pre-congestion charging was something like 5mph. Post-congestion charging that went up to something like 7mph.

    And don't get me started on the railways. If I had a time machine, that Dr Beeching geezer would be in for a proper shoeing, let me tell you!

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  6. Tim Gow,

    I was going that fast! It did not seem like it at the time.

    Today's journey took me along part of one of the designated Olympic routes ... so one can obviously expect no delays come the Summer!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. The Angry Lurker,

    The freedom of the open road!

    I must be somewhere outside the South East of England to experience that feeling.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Mr Lee,

    Thanks for the invitation. I hope to go to Istanbul sometime in the next couple of years, so I will bear your comment in mind.

    (Note to self: Don't hire a car in Instanbul)

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Lee Hadley,

    I regularly travel around parts of the M25 ... and compared to my old journey to work in Brockley (6.5 miles away = up to 2 hours travel time), it is a racetrack!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Dr Vesuvius,

    I can remember when – not so long ago – predictions were that more and more people would no longer need to travel to go to work, and that the motorcar would be come superfluous.

    Well part of that is true; the unemployed no longer travel to go to work because they have none … and the must vaunted concept of ‘working from home’ seems to have died because bosses want visual proof that their workers are actually working and not sitting around watching daytime TV (which is – in my opinion – a good enough reason to do some work!).

    Perhaps we are going backwards when it comes to travel … but unfortunately in London we are stuck with a travel infrastructure that does not work uniformly well across the capital. In South East London we have three main roads going from Kent into London, the A206, the A2, and the A20. These are joined together by the South Circular (A205). Almost all of them have stretches where they are single lane traffic and yet they carry the majority of road traffic into London from Kent. To make matters worse, during the Olympics parts of the A206, A2 and A205 will be designated Olympic Routes and will have traffic restrictions.

    The railways are not much better. The Royal Borough of Greenwich (as we must now call it) has one station on the underground system and two branches of the Docklands Light Railway. The mainline railways run a commuter service (e.g. from Woolwich this means an average of three trains per hour), but often the connections require you to travel into London (to London Bridge Station) to travel out again to a station that may only be five miles away as the crow flies.

    I despair of the future of travel in London … but I am thankful that now I have my Freedom Pass at least don’t have to pay to use whatever public transport is available!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Three train rides? Out here that would be a great excuse for a railfan trip.

    That said I am now not looking forward to UK driving in the fall.

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  12. Pat G,

    The three train journeys involved a train journey into Central London from South East London, a change of train for a journey southwards out of London, and then another change of train to go one stop to a train station that was only a bus journey away from where the tribunal was being held.

    When you come to the UK later in the year you will find that outside of the south east of England and the large cities driving can be both fast and enjoyable. For example, it normally takes me less than three hours (2 hours 50 minutes) to travel to Hunstanton, Norfolk (a journey of 124 miles), but it can also take me three hours to drive across London to Heathrow Airport … a distance of 27 miles!

    It takes a bit of getting used to … as will the cost of petrol (gas), which was £1.39 per litre (£6.32/$9.72 per gallon) this morning and very likely to rise to close to £1.50 per litre (£6.70/$10.50 per gallon) by the Autumn/Fall.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Bob

    You said "but unfortunately in London we are stuck with a travel infrastructure"

    Can I point out that... at least you have a travel infrastructure. Outside of the capital there's nothing that compares to London public transport.

    But yes, Pat G, once you're outside of London driving does get a lot better, even driving through other large cities seems to be a lot faster, outside of rush hours. The motorways are great until something, anything goes wrong. Roadworks, bad weather, a minor fender bender... anything seems to trigger miles of tailbacks.

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  14. Dr Vesuvius,

    How very true! When I go outside the London area I rarely use public transport so I cannot make any valid comments about the transport infrastructure in other other parts of he UK.

    All the best,

    Bob

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