Driverless car myths

July 30th, 2014 Christian Says 4 comments
Driverless cars are, at last, attracting the attention that they deserve. For a long time they have been perceived as a fanciful idea that is so far in the future so as not to merit close attention. However, there is now a recognition that they are a potential game changer – but there is far more uncertainty about how they will change the game than there is about the fact ...

Crazy merry go round goes on

July 8th, 2014 Christian Says 1 comment
The news that Network Rail is paying a £53.1m fine for underperformance on punctuality highlights, yet again, the daft nature of the industry structure and the way the regulatory regime was set up for a privatised Railtrack, not a publicly-owned Network Rail. The attempts by the ORR and the government to soften the blow do nothing to hide the fact that the whole process is plain daft. The BBC was told ...

Network Rail points the way

May 6th, 2014 Christian Says 5 comments
Network Rail's chairman, Richard Parry-Jones, has just said something which is of such significance that I wonder if it will mark the change of mood in the business sector. Network Rail has taken the sensible step of scrapping its bonus structure and replacing it with a system that allows for a maximum top up of just 20 per cent, compared with a staggering 160 per cent. Moreover, Mr Parry-Jones has suggested ...

Cost of new bus threatens London services

April 6th, 2014 Christian Says 10 comments
The huge extra cost to Londoners of the ‘new bus for London’ is posing a threat to bus services. The WolmarforLondon campaign has discovered that the cost has reached nearly £7m annually and is set to rise as more buses come on stream. These extra operating costs do not take account of the higher capital cost of the buses, reckoned to be around £50,000 for each bus, compared with ‘off ...

Tube strike is a lesson in transport economics

February 6th, 2014 Christian Says 5 comments
The chaos on the roads in London was worse than I have seen in many years. The hold-ups were much longer than anything I had seen in previous Tube strikes and there was pretty much gridlock not only in central London but even in outer areas such as Finsbury Park. TfL said that over a third (37-8 per cent) of the normal total of Tube journeys took place, rather surprisingly high ...

Where’s the enthusiasm for reprivatisation

January 17th, 2014 Christian Says 24 comments
The surprise announcement that there are only three bidders shortlisted for the controversial East Coast franchise suggests that the Department has been scratching around for bidders. The very fact that the government allowed Eurostar, which it partly  owns, to bid, in a joint effort with Keolis (partly owned by SNCF) when earlier it had intimated (through 'informed' newspaper articles) that it might block the idea smacks of desperation. So we have ...
  • Review of my Transsiberian book To the Edge of the World in yesterday's Wall Street Journal - on my site scroll down

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