Category Archives: transport

Now and Next for buses is online!

Bus stop in Blackheath, illuminated by the sun
This is really cool. You can now find out where the bus you’re waiting for has got to. The “Now & Next” displays for buses are now available online. So even if your bus stop doesn’t have a display, you can use your phone to find out where your errant 202 has got to.

TfL’s Countdown page: http://countdown.tfl.gov.uk/

It’s only in testing at the moment, but I used it today, and it makes such a difference. Lying on the heath in the sun, check your phone to see when the bus is due, then saunter over to the bus stop two minutes beforehand, and sure enough the bus appears by magic!

You can bookmark your favourite stops – each one has a unique URL, so for example the bus stop next to Shepherds Foods is:
http://countdown.tfl.gov.uk/#|searchTerm=57823
Or the accesible text only version would be:
http://accessible.countdown.tfl.gov.uk/arrivals/57823
There’s also a version formatted for mobiles (thanks for the tip Methers)
http://m.countdown.tfl.gov.uk/arrivals/57823
So you can save separate bookmarks on your phone for your frequently used bus stops.

This is such a great system, and it’s been a long time coming. It opens up so many more possibilites for fun things to do with data & travel. Which are the best/worst performing routes? Which timetables need tweaking for accuracy? iPhone apps that beep when it’s time to run for your bus, and enhanced apps (like the brilliant London Travel Deluxe that no commuter should be without) that can now show real time updates.

Hooray for TfL, and I don’t say that very often…

(Spotted on the excellent Diamond Geezer blog).

Stunning photo of Blackheath Bus Stop in the sun by twitter user Neil Clasper

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Meet South Eastern face to face tomorrow morning

Sliding Blue Door that SouthEastern have decided to lock
As pointed out on the newly formed myblackheath blog (hopefully not run by estate agents), SouthEastern Trains are holding a Meet The Managers morning at Charing Cross station on Thursday (tomorrow) from 8am-10am. This is a monthly event whereby the SouthEastern managers stand around explaining that very few things are their fault, most things are either due to the government’s reduction of state subsidy, or Network Transport’s problems.

Please try and speak to them tomorrow if you can… A few things to consider:

* SouthEastern are owned by Govia. Govia is owned by Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. These two companies made a profit of £23.5m and £93m (€106m) respectively last year. These figures are both up from 2009. For bittersweet irony check this out: Keolis is majority owned by France’s nationalised state transport provider, SNCF. So France is allowed to have a nationalised rail system, but takes profit from our privatised system.

* Network Rail own Blackheath station, but it is managed and run by SouthEastern (see how nothing is one organisation’s fault?)

* If they wanted to open the bloody door, they could! Please sign up to the request to open the sliding door!

* They don’t like speaking to bloggers or press at these events. They also don’t like tape recorders. Go as an individual. Here’s an idea: wear your iphone headphones around your neck, and hit record before you wander up…

* Ask them how fixmytransport.com should contact southEastern. So far they don’t seem to be responding to any messages!

Here’s how it went when I met them last year.

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Get the sliding door reopened


I’m using the excellent new FixMyTransport to persuade Southeastern to get SouthEastern to re-open the sliding blue door!

Who wouldn’t love a website with the tag line “Euston we have a problem”?!

Can anyone explain to me why it would be a good idea to permanently close the side exit from Blackheath station by barricading it with a bannister? Tired commuters on their way home used to love gasping out into the open air. It makes no sense to keep it locked, and makes us miserable!

Please come and support me at

http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/lets-get-southeastern-to-re-open-the-sliding-blue-

Thanks!

PS – The shortened version is bit.ly/openthisdoor which would probably fit on a sticker :)

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SouthEastern trains enthuse about the wonderful steps

Following on from yesterday’s nonsense, there’s another PR inflected piece of tosh here:

Network Rail Blackheath Station becomes accessible for everyone

But with an added helpful soundbite from those experts in timeliness, SouthEastern trains. Vince Lucas, service delivery director, enthuses:

“For our passengers at Blackheath the completion of this project is a real improvement that they can see for themselves. The station is vital to the local community and encouraging more and more people to use trains has to be a good thing. As with other stations which have benefited from similar schemes, we are sure that more passengers will now start to use the train to get around.”

Yes it’s great Vince. I’m sure I will continue to choose SouthEastern over and above the wide range of other train operating companies available to me from Blackheath station, skipping down the beautifully rendered steps as I do so.

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The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery
Could snow failure could end Southeastern’s franchise early? We can only hope so.

Awesome poster is by @set_railfail. I imagine the author would be delighted if you printed it out, and stuck it somewhere…

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It must be snowing…

It’s that time of year – time for the up-the-nostril shots from your favourite London News programme… Here’s a clip (the proper version will appear here eventually).

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Access for All, eventually…


So it begins. If you want go into London from Blackheath station, you’ll have to get onto the wrong platform, then cross over the rickety bridge… This work is to improve the station (junk food machines count as an improvement apparently), and to allow disabled access. The work was originally planned to be completed back in 2008. I think it was funded by the previous government’s Access for All policy, but I’m having trouble locating the planning documents… Anyway, according to Network Rail, the work should be finished by spring. That’s right. If spring means April, it will have taken 4-5 months to improve the station.

£1300 for a zone 1-3 ticket, and still no seats on the trains…

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