||Transport & Motoring|
this isn't the way to better Railways
HS2 is a disastrous waste of BILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers' money. This scheme has been sold to our Political establishment, by a slick group of parliamentary lobbyists, employed by the companies who will be able to line their own pockets, if HS2 goes ahead. HS2 is very, very good - for THEM. For the British people, and for the rail-travelling public, HS2 is a very very BAD idea.
The real answer is to make the EXISTING rail network, function properly. This could be done for less than a tenth - probably just 1% - of the amount which Cameron and Clegg, want to spend (of OUR money, not theirs) - on HS2.
Mainstream would take part of the privatised Railways, back into public ownership. We would
end the present shambles of multiple rail franchises, with a return to ONE company, operating all the trains, and owning and maintaining all the track. Instead of hearing "The next train at platform 2 is the Virgin Train to London Euston" or "the next train at platform 4 will be the London Midland train to Euston" - we'll hear "the next train at platform 2 will be the 07.11 train to London Euston". Competition ON THE TRACK makes no sense
All station platforms would be lengthened to allow all trains to be longer - we want an end to trains of less than 12 coaches, and possibly even longer ones of up to 15 coaches. We would simplify the fare structure and reduce prices, so that rail travel was again affordable for ORDINARY working people.
The whole point of a railway network, is that any train, at any time, should be able to drive along any part of the network if needed. This is the Golden Rule of railway "universality". HS2 is a "Niche" railway line - it breaks this golden rule, because its trains work in a different way, and use different track, from the rest of the network
URBAN BUSES TIMETABLE-FREE
A MAINSTREAM government would give tax-break incentives to urban bus companies, to make their services timetable-free and also free bus drivers from doing anything else except driving. "Timetable free" mean that during the hours a bus service is operating, buses leave the depot every ten minutes and just go round the route as quickly as they can. They do NOT have to adhere to a timetable - so no going slow, or waiting at bus stops, because they have got 'ahead' of the timetable. For this to work properly, you would also need a rule that if a bus is stopped boarding passengers, when another bus of the same route pulls in behind, the front bus has to leave straight away and the next bus takes over. As there would never be a wait of more than ten minutes for passengers - there is no need for a published timetable. You just walk to the bus stop and get the next bus. Simples.
We would also want bus drivers to ONLY drive and nothing else - this means a return to having a second crew member on board, who deals with all the money and tickets. Passengers just get on as quickly as possible - then pay while the bus is moving.
REMOVE TRAFFIC LIGHTS AT ROUNDABOUTS
Council bureaucrats and pen-pushers love traffic-lights because this gives them more control over our lives: taking our decisions for us, instead of leaving the decisions of what to do at junctions, up to motorists. But there are some traffic-lights that are not only surplus and unnecessary - they are actually bad for the environment, bad for traffic flow and cause far more problems than they supposedly solve. The beauty of roundabouts (a British invention by the way) - is that they encourage traffic to keep moving rather than to stop, and they allow drivers to keep the space between the cars. When you put traffic lights actually ON roundabouts, this prevents the normal round-about circular flow from working properly. Cars, buses and lorries have to keep stopping and starting - (emitting far more pollution and noise). Traffic lights also make the traffic bunch up, so there is less space between the cars. MAINSTREAM would make local councils remove most of the traffic lights they've placed on roundabouts.
PROTECT ALL LOW BRIDGES
Then there's the "bus runs into low bridge" scenario. Always the same -
the bus driver takes a different route; fails to see the height notice. (Or
maybe it's a foreign driver and they get feet mixed up with metres). The top
of the bus is sliced off, killing and maiming passengers. If the bridge
happens to have a railway line on top, this means the line gets closed while
engineers check the bridge. Every time it happens, we can be certain of
one thing: It's going to keep on happening!
TOUGHER DRIVING TEST
Cameron and Clegg supposedly want to dumb-down the Driving Test. Why? It's obvious that the standard of driving has gone down, most drivers don't even bother to indicate. We don't need the test making easier, we need it to be harder. MAINSTREAM would make the test harder and last one hour, with important manouvres like parallel-parking and three-point-turns being compulsory - TWICE - in every test. Part of the test would be on the roads - but half the test would be on a dedicated test track. All towns and cities would have these - mock-ups of urban streets with dummy cars for parking next to. (This is how drivers learn in Japan). These mock-up estates would all be identical so this would make the test fairer and more equal in all areas. (At present, drivers can look for 'easy' places to take their test, even if that's not where they live).
OUTLAW DAMAGING SPEED-BUMPS
Speed-bumps vary from gentle ramps, to knife-edge ridges which can damage a small car, even passing over at crawling speed. They add an extra expense for millions of us, to our already overstretched household budgets - getting our car suspensions repaired. MAINSTREAM would make it a legal requirement, that a speed bump must not cause damage to any vehicle, which is driving at the legal speed limit. If there is a need for cars to slow right down, so say 5 mph - then have the speed-bump by all means, but there would have to be a correctly-signed 5 mph limit. (With time to adjust from the previous speed limit).
TELEVISION TO IMPROVE DRIVING TECHNIQUES
Television is the perfect medium for explaining good driving techniques, yet it's never been tried in Britain. A MAINSTREAM government would sponsor short driving-improvement commercials at peak viewing times, each targeting a specific driving situation (eg lane discipline, slip roads entry and exit, parallel parking, and so on). The TV screen would be split into two: Left-hand showing the vehicles and the road from above, the right side, showing the driver's view (similar to many computer games which involve racing cars).
We would use TV in another novel way: By showing some of Britain's worst drivers in action. This would be a weekly or monthly program "Dickhead Drivers". This would be made by hiding cameras in places where accidents happen a lot (such as bends on fast roads, blind bends and blind summits, etc) . When a motorist is seen to be driving badly, this section would be shown on TV but unlike existing similar programs, Dickhead Drivers would NOT hide any identifying features on cars. Watching this show, would be the same for the viewer as if they were actually present - even if this means they are able to identify not only the cars, but also the people at the wheel. The police would be shown these extracts beforehand so we could get a guarantee of them taking no action. (This is necessary because otherwise, showing these excerpts could prejudice the trial). Then the scenes would be broadcast - drivers in-shot - whether the ones driving badly, or just other passing motorists - would NOT be informed beforehand and would not have any right to prevent their vehicles and driving, being shown on telly. Why not? Because in a public place, no-one has the right not to be watched or filmed. And these bad drivers would no longer be able to claim that their 'Human Rights' were being infringed, by identifying them on TV - that's because MAINSTREAM would have removed us from our subservience to the Brussels Human Rights laws. (This is precisely the kind of situation whcih shows how appalling the EU's Human Rights declaration is - it forces us to keep bad behaviour, and dangerous actions, in public places, hidden and secret, instead of out in the open).
LIST OF BANNED DRIVERS ONLINE
MAINSTREAM is dedicated to open justice, visisble to all; not hidden from view as now. This applies to car crime as well. So we would LIST all banned drivers on a new government website www.banneddrivers.gov.uk. This would show for every banned driver: Their photo, full name (but NOT address); date of birth, nationality if not British; reason for the ban and where it was imposed, and the date the ban ends. As soon as someone's ban ends, they would be deleted from this website.