March 8th, 2007

marcus 2013

A bit annoyed...

Went to collect the D50 and lens at lunch time. Camera shop says "Ah... we moved all of our auction stuff out of London on Monday." Went back to work, checked eBay again. Item description definitely says the local shop. Phone their auction people, shout a bit. They're going to send it to me postage free, should reach me early next week, and I've made it quite clear that if it's in any way defective or damaged it's going straight back to them.

We shall see what happens...
marcus 2013

On Yer Bike...

Somehow I've managed to avoid hearing anything about the City of Westminster's bold new motorbike initiative until now.

Motorbikes don't have to pay the inner London congestion charge, and historically most areas of London have had free parking spaces for them. Because of this there has been a big increase in the number of bike users inside the congestion charging zone, and lots of people have complained that there aren't enough bike parking spaces. Until recently the zone was almost entirely in the City of Westminster, but it just expanded into Kensington and Chelsea. So Westminster have decided that they're going to fix the problem - by charging £1.50 a day or £150 a year to park, starting some time in July. This will allegedly pay for more bays, and for some bays with enhanced /security, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting.

Meanwhile most of the rest of the UK doesn't charge for motorbike parking at all; in the few places where charges do apply, they're only applied to secure parking bays, to pay for the extra facilities. Westminster are just going to charge everyone who uses their parking spaces, regardless of location or security.

This may sound like I'm whining, and will still get a pretty good deal compared to other motorists, but a LOT of people have tried to reduce congestion by going over to bikes; Westminster have so far responded by handing out tickets on VERY dubious grounds, closing spaces without warning and immediately ticketing all bikes (and I've seen this happen - fortunately I wasn't involved), using motorcycle bays that can accommodate ten bikes to hold builder's skips, where it would make much more sense to close a car parking space that takes a single car, and otherwise penalising bikers because they don't make enough money from them. This is the next step, and will undoubtedly be followed by price rises and other attempts to reap the maximum benefit from bikers.

Later: On reading Westminster's site, it appears that Westminster claim that they will expand and add more bays, security etc. first before introducing charging, and that while the starting date is still July, that's just when they plan to start on the expansion of bays. Given how crap they are at implementing this sort of scheme, that may mean it takes months or years to get things up and running. Especially if the London Assembly decides to take legal action or something... Fingers crossed anyway, it may not be as bad as I fear.