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suze
1320671.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:36 pm Reply with quote

Neither I nor my tame transport consultant particularly wants to wade into this debate, but a couple of comments in passing.

1. London is a special case for a dozen reasons. It and Northern Ireland are the only parts of the UK where the bus system is regulated and franchised rather than run by commercial operators as they see fit.

It was done that way in Northern Ireland because of The Troubles, which were still very much a thing when deregulation happened. The state-owned Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company - which trades as Belfast Metro, Goldline, Northern Ireland Railways, and Ulsterbus - has a market share in excess of 99%. (Higher now than ever, because the only significant independent bus operator of those days has since gone bust.)

Buses in London were supposed to be deregulated, but it didn't happen for political reasons. A then-little-known Labour MP named Jeremy Corbyn campaigned against the idea, and the Thatcher government ran scared and decided not to proceed.

But do not suppose that the London bus system is magically super-profitable, because it isn't. Until last year it received a huge subsidy from central government, and now that subsidy is gone, Mayor Khan is faced with numbers that don't really add up. Quite what he's going to do about that in the medium term is not yet clear, but do not expect London bus provision to increase in the near future.

2. @barbados, and because Andy wants to know! What is TfL's involvement in Casablanca?

3. There has been a fair amount of discussion of Bristol and Bath, which is Guy's home turf. Is that area possibly atypical because it is so hilly? Does that inhibit walking and cycling because they're hard work, and so increase the demand for public transportation in a way that it doesn't in (say) Cambridgeshire?

 
dr.bob
1320672.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:40 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Vast areas of suburban London are served very poorly by the Underground, and most of south-east London has no Underground service at all.


I know. That's the point you just made. I thanked you for making it and I agreed with it. I genuinely have no idea what point you're trying to make here.

GuyBarry wrote:
But on another point, isn't that a rather different attitude from the one you were taking in the previous debate? E.g. post 1320400:

Quote:
It's a meaningful test of whether the phrase "protestors have brought the whole transport system to a standstill" is correct or merely melodramatic, since anything less than 100% shows that "the whole transport system" was not affected. [...]

1) How much of the map that you've linked to would you see as a reasonable interpretation of the phrase "the whole transport system"? Judging from your arguments, you and I seem to have radically different interpretations of that phrase. I'll let other readers of this thread (if any remain) make their own interpretation.

2) Are you seriously suggesting that the area that is known as "London" doesn't include London Zoo, Lord's Cricket Ground, Stamford Bridge Football Ground, Canary Wharf, and Battersea Power Station? If your argument is based on such a warped and arbitrary moving of the goalposts, there's little point in having this discussion.


And that's just one of many, many posts where you reiterated the same thing, over and over again.

And now you're suddenly saying you meant the opposite?


Again I don't understand your point. When discussing high density living areas, I'm talking about part of the London transport network. In a completely different discussion when I was trying to ascertain the size of the effect of the Extinction Revolution protests, I was talking about the whole network. Those are two entirely separate discussions. I'm not"suddenly"saying anything. I'm having a completely different discussion.

 
barbados
1320674.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:49 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
2. @barbados, and because Andy wants to know! What is TfL's involvement in Casablanca?

TfL regulates every passenger service that arrives in the Greater London Area, there is a thrice-weekly (I think) Eurolines service that runs into London Victoria Coach Station. These journeys would be regulated by TfL.

As you and Andy are aware, my experience with this environment is historic, back to the first term of Mayor Johnson so things may have changed, in which case I would concede the point.

Perhaps Andy could answer a question for me - in Edinburgh, there is an integrated transport system, How in view of the previous comment is it possible there and not in Bristol?

 
GuyBarry
1320676.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:17 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:

Perhaps Andy could answer a question for me - in Edinburgh, there is an integrated transport system, How in view of the previous comment is it possible there and not in Bristol?


It's a jolly good question. I lived in Edinburgh for many years, and buses were deregulated there as they were in the rest of Great Britain outside London. Yet the municipally-owned Lothian Regional Transport (or Lothian Buses as it is now) continues to enjoy a near-monopoly of bus services in the area.

I suspect the reason is mainly that Edinburgh chose to keep its bus services in public ownership and Bristol didn't. The former Bristol Omnibus Company was privatised in the mid-80s, partly as "Badgerline", which merged with Grampian Regional Transport to form FirstBus - now renamed FirstGroup and one of the largest transport operators in the country.

 
dr.bob
1320677.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:19 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
This would be impossible outside London, because buses outside London are deregulated, and local authorities mostly have no power over them.


They do in Edinburgh.

GuyBarry wrote:
So those cities that have developed local tram or metro systems - such as Manchester - have no power to integrate their operation with the local bus services.


I would like to ask a question that I don't know the answer to: what would happen to London if the bus service was completely deregulated? My suspicion is the deregulated competition for routes would cause chaos and bring the bus system grinding to a halt. However I have no evidence to back up that claim so, if anyone has some relevant information to contribute, I'd be really interested.

GuyBarry wrote:
If you don't think through the practical details, then it's not a thought experiment - just a fantasy.


Ok, call it a fantasy of you like. As I've said from the very beginning, it was a flippant remark designed to introduce an interesting concept.

GuyBarry wrote:
Crossrail would have been unnecessary if the existing infrastructure weren't there. No one would go to the expense of building an underground railway on a greenfield site.


By "infrastructure" I meant existing tube lines, sewers, and other underground structures. I wasn't referring to all the buildings and people.

GuyBarry wrote:
Any planned city wouldn't need underground railways. You would presumably have a system of surface railways and plan the development around them. Much cheaper.


Really? Could you really replace the 3D structure of the tube in central London with surface railways? Would there be any space left between them for any buildings?

GuyBarry wrote:
If you increased the size of London by building outwards (assuming the green belt was scrapped), the population densities wouldn't be anything like what they are in central London - they'd be comparable to the suburban population densities.


Then clearly that's not what I'm talking about, bearing in mind that I've consistently been talking about high population densities that you find in central London.

GuyBarry wrote:
So what are you suggesting? Making London smaller so that the population is more dense? Or leaving London the same size but cramming more people into it?


Either/or. It's all about increasing population density.

GuyBarry wrote:
The latter is happening anyway - it doesn't need any encouragement from anyone. And I really don't think that anyone can claim that population growth is improving the environment in London.


I've never said it would improve the environment in London. I've consistently said that I'm talking about the environment as a whole. Am I not explaining myself properly?

GuyBarry wrote:
Do you regard cramming more and more people together into a small space as an "environmental benefit"?


Yes, for reasons I've already explained.

GuyBarry wrote:
I certainly don't.


Why not? Please explain to me why it wouldn't help reduce the greenhouse effect.

GuyBarry wrote:
I would say that high population density can have a highly damaging effect on the environment, in terms of the amount of waste produced


Why would a single person suddenly produce more waste just because they're living in high density living?

GuyBarry wrote:
the increased wear and tear on resources


I'm not sure what "wear and tear on resources" even means.

GuyBarry wrote:
increased likelihood of infectious diseases any many other things.


What effect do infectious diseases have on, say, the greenhouse effect?

GuyBarry wrote:
What exactly do you mean by "the environment" then?


This whole discussion started due to a comment I made about the actions of the Extinction Rebellion protestors. By"the environment" I mean the same thing as them.

GuyBarry wrote:
Google says "the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates", which is the sense in which I'm mainly using it.


Why on earth would you use it in that sense after everything I've said?

GuyBarry wrote:
Well yes, and it was worth pointing out. But it does not therefore follow that increasing the population density of Surrey to the population density of central London would be good for the environment.


Yes, it does follow. You've yet to tell me why not. All you've said is that people's living conditions would be worse, which is something I completely agree with.

GuyBarry wrote:
But if you were planning to squeeze them all in with the same population density as central London, you'd need far less space.


Bingo! Then we could leave more space for nature.

GuyBarry wrote:
I've no idea how you'd do it, though.


No, me either. It's almost certainly not remotely practical.

GuyBarry wrote:
"The environment" means nothing except in relation to those who inhabit it. There's precious little point in doing things to improve the natural environment if they make the human environment unbearable.


Contrariwise, there's no point in making sure the human environment is comfortable if it ends up destroying the natural environment.

Not that either of those two extremes is likely to be necessary in the real world.

 
GuyBarry
1320681.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:03 pm Reply with quote

This is my last post tonight.

dr.bob wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:
This would be impossible outside London, because buses outside London are deregulated, and local authorities mostly have no power over them.


They do in Edinburgh.


I know (see my previous post). I don't fully understand how Edinburgh Council has somehow avoided bus deregulation in a way that other councils haven't.

Incidentally, doesn't the Scottish Parliament have the power to reverse bus deregulation if it wants to?

Quote:
I would like to ask a question that I don't know the answer to: what would happen to London if the bus service was completely deregulated?


I don't think anyone else knows the answer, because it hasn't been tried, but it's pretty obvious that there would be a free-for-all in central London with buses racing each other to pick up passengers in places like Oxford Street.

Quote:
GuyBarry wrote:
Any planned city wouldn't need underground railways. You would presumably have a system of surface railways and plan the development around them. Much cheaper.


Really? Could you really replace the 3D structure of the tube in central London with surface railways?


No. I said any planned city wouldn't need underground railways. If you plan a city from scratch, you can build it how you like. Milton Keynes was built around a network of roads, so clearly you could build a city around a network of railways if you wanted to. You could even have the railways on the surface and the roads underground!

Quote:
GuyBarry wrote:
So what are you suggesting? Making London smaller so that the population is more dense? Or leaving London the same size but cramming more people into it?


Either/or. It's all about increasing population density.


Well in that case you don't need to encourage anyone to move anywhere. People are moving to the big cities anyway, and population density is going up.

Quote:
Please explain to me why it wouldn't help reduce the greenhouse effect.


I have never, at any stage, suggested that it wouldn't help to reduce the greenhouse effect. This is the first time you've mentioned the greenhouse effect in the entire discussion.

Quote:
What effect do infectious diseases have on, say, the greenhouse effect?


Nothing. But they have a lot of effect on people.

Quote:

This whole discussion started due to a comment I made about the actions of the Extinction Rebellion protestors.


But you just said we weren't having that discussion any more:

"In a completely different discussion when I was trying to ascertain the size of the effect of the Extinction Revolution protests, I was talking about the whole network. Those are two entirely separate discussions. I'm not"suddenly"saying anything. I'm having a completely different discussion."

That was your last post in this thread.

Quote:
All you've said is that people's living conditions would be worse, which is something I completely agree with.


You agree with making people's living conditions worse?

Sorry, end of discussion. This is absolutely ridiculous.

 
Jenny
1320684.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:20 pm Reply with quote

GB I think you are almost deliberately misunderstanding here. Bob has at no point said he agreed with making people's living conditions worse. He pointed out that increased density of housing has a beneficial effect on the environment as a whole, and that while recognizing the practical impossibility of requiring people to live in higher densities against their will we should as a thought experiment see how cities could be constructed that would enable people to do so.

Your assumption seems to be that higher densities = worse living conditions for people, but so far you have adduced no evidence to defend that assumption. I think we see (for example) in Japan how higher densities can in practice be achieved.

 
AndyE
1320687.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:25 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Quote:
2. @barbados, and because Andy wants to know! What is TfL's involvement in Casablanca?

TfL regulates every passenger service that arrives in the Greater London Area, there is a thrice-weekly (I think) Eurolines service that runs into London Victoria Coach Station. These journeys would be regulated by TfL.


Very good Sir! It's actually only twice a week now, but there is indeed a Eurolines service from London to Casablanca. National Express is no longer involved in the Eurolines consortium, and the London to Casablanca service is now operated by French-plated vehicles owned by Transdev.

TfL operates Victoria Coach Station and issues permits for services to use it, so it does indeed have a degree of control over buses running from Casablanca. The actual owner of VCS is the Duke of Westminster, and His Grace did announce an intention a few years back to kick the coaches out and build flats on the site. But Christian Wolmar led a campaign which resulted in the building being listed, so he can't!


Quote:
Perhaps Andy could answer a question for me - in Edinburgh, there is an integrated transport system, How in view of the previous comment is it possible there and not in Bristol?


There is a body called Transport For Edinburgh, which is an Integrated Transport Authority under the terms of the Local Transport Act 2008.

TFE is the legal owner of the Edinburgh tram system, and of 91% of Lothian Buses. Three local authorities outside Edinburgh own the 9%, although West Lothian's 1% share is probably for sale should the right expression of interest be made.

TFE does not operate buses itself any more than TfL does in London, and it does not decide upon the route network and then invite operators to bid to run that network in the way that TfL does. Most of the route network is commercially operated as in all of the UK bar London and Northern Ireland, and it's only at the margins that TFE contracts bus companies, including but not limited to the one that it owns, to run services on its behalf. On the other hand, it does have the power to create area-wide integrated ticketing i.e. Oyster-card-alike, and it has the right to a designated share of council tax and business rate revenues, to be used solely for transport.

TFE's role is in fact legally identical to that of the Passenger Transport Executives which exist in the former metropolitan counties, but it could not have been created but for being in Scotland. In England, only a Combined Authority can choose to create a new Integrated Transport Authority.

There are half a dozen Combined Authorities in England at present. One of these is called West of England and covers Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. North Somerset was invited to join the consortium but declined.

The West of England Combined Authority has the right to form a Integrated Transport Authority, and it commissioned a report published in 2017 on whether it should do so. For now it has not chosen to. There are several reasons for that, but the key one is that its political master is not the Labour Party.

 
Leith
1320690.  Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:03 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
3. There has been a fair amount of discussion of Bristol and Bath, which is Guy's home turf. Is that area possibly atypical because it is so hilly? Does that inhibit walking and cycling because they're hard work, and so increase the demand for public transportation in a way that it doesn't in (say) Cambridgeshire?

I wouldn't say that's particularly the case, neither from personal experience, nor from these statistics: https://www.cyclinguk.org/statistics

While Bristol doesn't have the relative proportion of cyclists that places like Oxford, Cambridge and Norfolk do, it remains pretty high up the national rankings, and is more popular with cyclists than flatter places like Hull or Richmond.

The lack of an integrated transport system is not for lack of demand, I don't think. Bristol remains one of the more congested cities in the country and there have been efforts to establish some form of rapid / mass transit system for most of the 25 years+ that I've lived there. These plans have almost always come to nothing, part of the difficulty historically having been that the major destinations within the urban area fall under the jurisdiction of four different local authorities who tend to be under the control of different parties.

The new MetroBus scheme is the first major development that I've seen. It's been hugely controversial, much delayed, and everyone seems to complain about it, but it could potentially be quite useful to me on occasion (and the new link road they've built for it has really eased the congestion around Parkway station).

AndyE wrote:
In England, only a Combined Authority can choose to create a new Integrated Transport Authority.

There are half a dozen Combined Authorities in England at present. One of these is called West of England and covers Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. North Somerset was invited to join the consortium but declined.


I'm hopeful that the new Combined Authority can make some headway where previous efforts haven't. Unfortunately for the Authority of WoE's ambitions of integration, Bristol Airport is in North Somerset...

 
barbados
1320697.  Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:09 am Reply with quote

AndyE wrote:
Very good Sir!

Thank you, the point really was that when dr.bob asked about the extent of the whole network I don’t think he knew how far the control of buses by TfL (and as such the London bus network) actually reached when he was claiiming that PDRs suggestion that the whole of the network was at a standstill was a falsehood (despite earlier acknowledging it was an exaggeration for effect similar to the one he has since made defending them as “obvious”.
The next part of hius argument. Was that the tubelines were entirely unaffected - again a comment I believe was down to a lack of understasnding on how the system in London works. The tube network is virtually at capacity for most of the day, the service is not measured by how many passengers are left on the platform, it is measured on the delays to the service. The train comes into the station, opens its doors, closes it doors then leaves. Delays aren’t often caused by overcrowded platforms, it is normally down to an incident, this can be a police operation or an illness on a train, very rarely will it be someone not getting on or off because there is no room. The service will run normally through overcrowding, and temporary station closures will occur to allow crowds to disperse throught any normal day and pass by without comment.

 
barbados
1320699.  Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:18 am Reply with quote

Now, on to the point about the need for higher density cities.
Dr.bobs interpretation of “the environment” has been said to be the same as “them” assuming he is referring to extinction rebellion, could he outline what “their” and be association his interpretation actually is? The reason for asking is that, listening to their spokespeople on the radio “they” don’t appear to have much of an idea what that is, probably because it is so disjointed. Or is it another of those exaggerations for effect comments?

 
GuyBarry
1320702.  Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:17 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
GB I think you are almost deliberately misunderstanding here. Bob has at no point said he agreed with making people's living conditions worse.


Well that's certainly what it looked like to me at 11pm last night. I'll repeat the quote, which came originally from post 1320677:

dr. bob wrote:
All you've said is that people's living conditions would be worse, which is something I completely agree with.


Now, having re-read the quote this morning I realize that it can be interpreted another way: that he agreed with my statement that people's living conditions would be worse. I suspect that's what he actually meant, and if that's the case then I apologize for the misunderstanding.

But if that's the case, it means that dr. bob is proposing a scenario which he knows would make people's living conditions worse, purely because it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you cram people together into as small a space as possible then of course they're going to use less fuel to get around. By dr. bob's argument we might as well round up the entire population and put them in a concentration camp, because that would be fantastic for the environment. No one would have to travel anywhere at all!

I have always assumed that the enviromentalist movement wishes to bring about its aims by means that preserve people's quality of life. There's no point in cleaning up the environment if by doing so you create a population that doesn't want to live in it.

But then he said in the same post:

Quote:
It's almost certainly not remotely practical.


So, to be honest, I don't know why we're even discussing it. I'd rather discuss proposals that have at least some chance of being achieved, rather than strange dystopian models of the future where everyone's happiness is sacrificed to the great god of Environmentalism.

 
Spike
1320703.  Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:41 am Reply with quote

Because sometimes thought experiments of things that seem impractical and unachievable can produce ideas that are practical and achievable.

On the question of living conditions, you need to take into account the long term. Would people accept living in Mega-cities if it meant that we didn't have increasingly frequent and violent storm systems, and increasingly severe droughts and high temperatures?
I don't know the answer, but it needs to be discussed.
The environment I understand dr bob to be talking about is the whole world (what used to be called Gaea, I think?) not just our local areas. Yes our local areas are important, but we are affected by the global changes. How would we deal with it if all the people who emigrated to Australia wanted to move back to the UK because of regular 40+C temperatures there? Those temperatures are happening increasingly.

 
dr.bob
1320704.  Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:19 am Reply with quote

Two final posts from me before I vanish on holiday. One to clear up a couple of points, and one to (hopefully) spark a discussion.

GuyBarry wrote:
I have never, at any stage, suggested that it wouldn't help to reduce the greenhouse effect. This is the first time you've mentioned the greenhouse effect in the entire discussion.


I may not have used the phrase "greenhouse efffect", but I definitely referred to "global warming" in post 1320628. Are they not the same thing? Or at least aspects of the same thing?

GuyBarry wrote:
Now, having re-read the quote this morning I realize that it can be interpreted another way: that he agreed with my statement that people's living conditions would be worse. I suspect that's what he actually meant, and if that's the case then I apologize for the misunderstanding.


That is indeed what I meant, and there's no need to apologise. One of the problems of discussing things in this format is that the written word is not the perfect way of expressing ideas. Subtleties, like tone of voice, are lost and misunderstandings happen. At least we've been able to largely understand each other without any resort to petty namecalling :)

GuyBarry wrote:
I have always assumed that the enviromentalist movement wishes to bring about its aims by means that preserve people's quality of life.


I think that would be the ideal. However, if it proves to be physically impossible, we may at some point have to choose between quality of life or quality of the environment (see Spike's post above)

Spike wrote:
Because sometimes thought experiments of things that seem impractical and unachievable can produce ideas that are practical and achievable.
[snip]
The environment I understand dr bob to be talking about is the whole world (what used to be called Gaea, I think?) not just our local areas.


Spot on with both of these points. Thanks for that, Spike. I was beginning to think I was explaining myself really badly.

 
dr.bob
1320706.  Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:27 am Reply with quote

Now to hopefully provoke some discussion.

GuyBarry wrote:
I said any planned city wouldn't need underground railways. If you plan a city from scratch, you can build it how you like. Milton Keynes was built around a network of roads, so clearly you could build a city around a network of railways if you wanted to. You could even have the railways on the surface and the roads underground!


This is a really interesting point, so thanks for raising it. I was wrong to try and dismiss it so quickly last night.

Having thought about it some more, it raises some really interesting questions. You mention Milton Keynes and that's a good example of the kind of planned towns that have been created in this country in the past. However, it clearly doesn't represent the kind of high-density housing you find in central London. By design, our New Towns and Garden Cities were designed to be deliberately low-density housing.

So the question is: If we were to design a brand new, 21st century, eco-friendly, high-density city today, what would it look like? Would it need underground railways? Or, indeed, underground roads? What factors should we consider? Cost of maintenance? Ability to fix things when they inevitably go wrong? Has this been tried anywhere in the world?

Take the population density and numbers of commuters you see in central London as a starting point. We could certainly spread out all the railways, but wouldn't that inevitably spread out the population thereby producing more of a suburban population density?

It seems to me these are not trivial questions to answer, and I'll certainly be thinking about them over the next few days. I hope you all do too.

 

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