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The games began with piles of whitened bones, and horses' heads, and the skulls of men nailed to trees.
July 24, 2012 3:49 AM   Subscribe

Boris Johnson's Olympic welcome. [YouTube]
posted by hot soup girl (67 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I got on a bus yesterday. I was due in work at 9, the Central line was broken, and I'd had a hot and uncomfortable journey round the houses in order to get to work.

I sat on the bus and BORIS JOHNSON started speaking to me. I thought I was hallucinating at first, but no, I'd taken my meds and I'd like to think my aural hallucinations would be somewhat more fascinating (I'd quite like Garrison Keillor to have become the Spirit of the Bus, it would have soothed me.)
posted by mippy at 3:54 AM on July 24, 2012


A beautiful documentary about the Moscow olympics that gets some airtime rotation when olympic times approach here.
posted by syntaxfree at 4:00 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"With bells on" makes me think of a certain Monty Python "fill in the blank" game in one of their books…
posted by LMGM at 4:06 AM on July 24, 2012


- 'I thought I didn't care about the Games. But it's hard not to get swept up in the tidal wave of cynicism'

- 'Shambles? You've had seven years to prepare a sarcastic remark. Is that the best you can do?'

- 'Your husband sneaked out of synchronised swimming so we shot him as a deserter'
posted by MuffinMan at 4:06 AM on July 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Boris Johnson", for those who don't know, is the codename of a speculative AI experiment funded primarily by the British panel show workers' collective. That blond haired man in the video was chosen to be the anthropomorhic "face" of the project, but it's a sadly transparent facade.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:06 AM on July 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


Boris Johnson, party of one.
posted by srboisvert at 4:21 AM on July 24, 2012


"Boris Johnson", for those who don't know, is the codename of a speculative AI experiment funded primarily by the British panel show workers' collective.

Presumably using more modern hardware than DIMBLEBOT, though I suspect the power source is still bacon.

It seems the bio-Dimbleby is aware of his online persona.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 4:33 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a clear breach of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 due to the use of restricted phrases, although that's a sign of the insanely broad restrictions of that Act (no parody exemptions, btw).
posted by jaduncan at 4:34 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


in conservative britain, boris johnsons you
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:38 AM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel a deep sense of foreboding that this man is going to become prime minister, and maybe sooner than we think.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 4:39 AM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.
posted by Skeptic at 4:41 AM on July 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I feel a deep sense of foreboding that this man is going to become prime minister, and maybe sooner than we think.

Tory leader then destruction at the next election? Well, I suppose he's got the experience at the Spectator to suggest he's good at managing racists.
posted by jaduncan at 4:42 AM on July 24, 2012


So that really is the mayor of London? Brits are just so odd.
posted by octothorpe at 4:42 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is brilliant. I feel so sorry, though, for whoever had to sit through hours and hours of his witless prattling, great thatched noggin, and desperately affected bumbling and camera-mugging in order to create it.
posted by hydatius at 4:51 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This
Was
Absolutely
Terrific
posted by Jehan at 4:52 AM on July 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


No mention of whiff whaff?
posted by Partario at 4:58 AM on July 24, 2012


So that really is the mayor of London? Brits are just so odd.


NOT IN MY NAME
posted by mippy at 5:04 AM on July 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, I suppose he's got the experience at the Spectator to suggest he's good at managing racists.

Good point. Although I'd go further to suggest he's not just good at managing racists... "Piccaninnies" and "watermelon smiles" anyone?

An added bonus - gay men as "tank-topped bumboys".

Hilarious!
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 5:15 AM on July 24, 2012


Boris Johnson + Cassetteboy is always going to be a great combination.

I'm glad to have seen this before it gets pulled from YouTube and Cassetteboy is arrested.
posted by milkb0at at 5:25 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is that Chris Morris I hear at the end?
posted by memebake at 5:47 AM on July 24, 2012


I sat on the bus and BORIS JOHNSON started speaking to me.

Those announcements seem to be getting increasingly, alarmingly folksy... or the best attempt that BoJo can do at folksy.

The next round will be "Listen, 'sup dawgs, this is the mayor of London... a shizzout to all my homies on the tube tonight."
posted by generichuman at 5:49 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


He kind of writes himself, doesn't he.
posted by carter at 6:03 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like Boris but I can't really think of anything he's done. London hasn't got noticeably worse during his tenure, apart from the several days of rioting, so maybe that's something.

Other good egg factors:
-And he's not as posh as he comes over, he got through Eton and Oxford on scholarships for being very smart.
-He worked as a management consultant for 2 weeks and had to leave because of the tedium.
-Does actually cycle everywhere through London.
posted by Damienmce at 6:21 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


-And he's not as posh as he comes over, he got through Eton and Oxford on scholarships for being very smart.
So while the rest of his Oxford chums were the posh vandals of the Bullingdon club, he was merely a vandal. Good-o

-He worked as a management consultant for 2 weeks and had to leave because of the tedium.
Lucky man that gets to abandon a job due to 'tedium'. Guess he wasn't worried about his next meal. But then, he did describe £250,000 a year as 'chicken feed'.

-Does actually cycle everywhere through London.
Yet seems totally unbothered by the number of cyclist deaths and has no real interest in making the roads safer and reducing the number of cars on the road.

He's a certain kind of egg. Not a good egg.
posted by liquidindian at 6:34 AM on July 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is that Chris Morris I hear at the end?

London Jam Festival
posted by liquidindian at 6:47 AM on July 24, 2012


He's a certain kind of egg. Not a good egg.

A curate's egg?
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 6:51 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whatever kind of egg that's most like a twat.
posted by liquidindian at 6:56 AM on July 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


From this side of the Atlantic he seems like a hilarious P.G. Wodehouse character come to life. But I suppose it's different if you're actually being governed by him.
posted by toxtethogrady at 7:32 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


A curate's egg?
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 2:51 PM on July 24


Not that good.
posted by Decani at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2012


different if you're actually being governed by him

One would indeed feel somewhat less than fully gruntled, I fancy, Jeeves. Oddly enough the blighter actually hails from New York.
posted by Segundus at 8:10 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


From this side of the Atlantic he seems like a hilarious P.G. Wodehouse character come to life. But I suppose it's different if you're actually being governed by him.

Not many people know, he only became mayor in order to avoid marrying Madeleine Bassett. It made sense at the time.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:10 AM on July 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sat at Paddington I would have to say not the best voice for public announcements. He tends to put a booming exclamation into every sentence that does not work well in railway stations. I am assuming he is telling me to get out and stay out and I intend not to disappoint.

I notice Olympians have a private entrance to the tube at Paddington
posted by biffa at 8:12 AM on July 24, 2012


I like Boris but I can't really think of anything he's done. London hasn't got noticeably worse during his tenure, apart from the several days of rioting

He claimed £3000 expenses for (reluctantly) having to come back from his PR tour of New York to be around during the aftermath of the riots, just so you know.

Anyway, one thing he genuinely deserves credit for is keeping the amount of money London gets for transport projects at above crisis levels. No mean feat over the last few years.

Crossrail and - more importantly - the signalling and rolling stock upgrades on the Sub-Surface Underground lines (District, Circle, Met Line) would almost certainly have not made it through the spending review unscathed were it not for Johnson apparently not-so-subtly hinting he wouldn't stand for a second term as Mayor if London's transport funding got hit too hard. One of Cameron's biggest fears post-coalition formation was (and to a certain extent still is) a Johnson leadership challenge, given that Johnson's the darling of the right of the Tory Party, and Johnson very much rammed that down Cameron and Boy George's throats when it came time to make cuts.

The simple fact is that those - and more - rail projects would have been eviscerated had Livingstone been in office as he'd have had no real bargaining chip.

Unfortunately set against the above, Johnson's a terrible misogynist (cf. his treatment of Jenny Jones, Caroline Pidgeon or Val Shawcross in any Mayor's Question Time which are handily webcast). He also, for want of another phrase, just makes facts up when it suits him - the number of cyclists (none in reality) killed by bendy buses being the most high profile example but also how much his "New Bus For London" was going to cost the taxpayer.

Indeed despite saving money, he's also sponged about £100m worth of public money away on high-profile vanity projects - Bike Hire and Cable Car - that he explicitly indicated would be entirely private sector funded or which - New Bus for London - there just wasn't a real business case for. Indeed we're potentially about to drop £600m on the damn NBfL if he has his way.

So whilst, as I say, he deserves an enormous amount of credit for keeping some projects on track, they're probably the only real bright light in an otherwise shitty mayoralty - at least from a transport perspective.
posted by garius at 8:14 AM on July 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm hoping Boris breaks out his Latin (and ancient Greek?) oratory skills for the Olympics
posted by Bwithh at 8:26 AM on July 24, 2012


I notice Olympians have a private entrance to the tube at Paddington

Don't Olympians have a private entrance to everything?
posted by blucevalo at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2012


-And he's not as posh as he comes over, he got through Eton and Oxford on scholarships for being very smart.


BoJo can trace his family to George II via Prince Paul of Wurttemburg. His grandfather was a knight of the realm. His current wife is the daughter of Sir Charles Wheeler and his stepmother the stepdaughter of Teddy Sieff (among other things the survivor of an assassination attempt by Carlos the Jackal, which tends not to happen to regular Joes). He is descended from barristers, bankers and politicians.

Obviously, everything is relative. He's not going to inherit a baronetcy, like George Osborne, and his father-in-law isn't Viscount Astor, like his distant cousin David Cameron. But let's not kid ourselves, here.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I read that as "Ben Johnson's Olympic welcome".
posted by orange swan at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2012


Indeed despite saving money, he's also sponged about £100m worth of public money away on high-profile vanity projects - Bike Hire and Cable Car - that he explicitly indicated would be entirely private sector funded or which - New Bus for London - there just wasn't a real business case for. Indeed we're potentially about to drop £600m on the damn NBfL if he has his way.
£600 million? Wow. The New Bus for London looked liked just about the silliest project imaginable...from the outside. But Londoners seem to have bought into it. I can bring to mind some pretty unending prattle about how London was special and couldn't use bendy buses, and so on. Such a sad stupidity that money isn't being spent more wisely, moreso when lots of places in England have shockingly bad public transport.
posted by Jehan at 8:47 AM on July 24, 2012


Oh, and that cable car actually got built? Wow oh wow, I thought it would be shot dead after the costs rose.

Just looked up pictures of it now, and it looks like a fairground ride! And at £4.30, I can't imagine anybody's riding it seriously.
posted by Jehan at 8:51 AM on July 24, 2012


I'm pretty sure the only reason they built that cable car is so it can appear in a James Bond film at some point.
posted by dng at 8:54 AM on July 24, 2012


I'm hoping Boris breaks out his Latin (and ancient Greek?) oratory skills for the Olympics

He is, he's reading a poem in Ancient Greek.

The New Bus is astonishingly uncomfortable, even given how uncomfortable public transport is for one with long legs. It's a bus designed by someone who never expects to sit in one.
posted by mippy at 8:57 AM on July 24, 2012


I'm pretty sure the only reason they built that cable car is so it can appear in a James Bond film at some point.
They could call it From Emirates with Love or Casion Emirates Royale or The Man with the Golden Emirates Air Line Frequent Flyer Pass
posted by Jehan at 9:04 AM on July 24, 2012


I read that as "Ben Johnson's Olympic welcome."

Every Man out of His Pool.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:35 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The New Bus is astonishingly uncomfortable, even given how uncomfortable public transport is for one with long legs. It's a bus designed by someone who never expects to sit in one.

And (tying into Jehan's comment above) is largely supported by Londoners who'll never have to travel on one. The Bendies had their floors but they were well suited to the routes they were on. Neither Boris nor Ken deserve any credit for turning them into the subject of a holy war.

Sad fact is that the NBfL could have been a good idea, if the whole "build a replacement for the Routemaster" thing had actually focused on what it was that made the Routemasters successful from a transport perspective. That was categorically not that they had an open rear platform, but that they were cheap to build, easy to maintain, and nippy little things. Indeed the very reason they were phased out (age aside) was because the open real platform was considered to be a liability.

Instead, as with much of Johnson's reign, we got a fecking coach sized beast with a rear platform. Classic Johnson "style over substance" that London will pay for in the long term.

Anyway, returning to the Olympics, to be fair to Johnson and TfL I think both would - if they were allowed to be honest - fall firmly into the "who the fuck thought this was a good idea?!" category of London Olympic thought. Politics and reality means they have to both grit their teeth and be brutally positive about it though.

Indeed one of their problems is that, no matter how much they've said to people: "seriously, you need to rethink your journey" over the last few months, a good 80% of travellers won't bother until the first time they hit trouble.

That's partly TfL's fault for perhaps not being emphatic enough about how badly this is going to screw up most people's journeys (I suspect a lot more people would realise that if they were a bit less "this may cause you problems" and a bit more "OMG YOU WILL BE SCREWED"), but I suspect that's as much due to politics at the the higher levels of management than anything else.

Indeed from what I hear, an original proposal by TfL to be a bit more WW2 about their marketing of this (i.e. do the OMG SCREWED thing but in a "Keep Calm and Carry On" style) got very quickly shot down by both the Mayor's office and LOCOG early on.
posted by garius at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2012


I read that as "Ben Johnson's Olympic welcome".


*weeps for England*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:09 AM on July 24, 2012


Oh, and that cable car actually got built?

It's a testament to just how oblivious I am to events here in town that my first response to reading this was "We have a cable car?"
posted by ambivalentic at 10:12 AM on July 24, 2012


Indeed the very reason they were phased out (age aside) was because the open real platform was considered to be a liability.

If by liability do you mean wheelchair-unfriendly? That's what I remember hearing was a prime reason for their removal from service.
posted by ambivalentic at 10:17 AM on July 24, 2012


if the whole "build a replacement for the Routemaster" thing had actually focused on what it was that made the Routemasters successful from a transport perspective. That was categorically not that they had an open rear platform

Maybe. But for me the old Routemasters' saving grace - bearing in mind they were, towards the end of their time, horrifically unreliable and cramped - was exactly the old platform - that you could get on and off as you pleased. I loved that. It meant when the 19 had pulled out from the stop you could still get on it while it queued over Battersea Bridge. It meant you could just get off in heavy traffic or lights. It also gave me one of my lasting pleasures as a commuter - standing on the platform, wind in my face, going over Battersea Bridge at night and looking out to Albert Bridge.

There's very little romanticism in a London commute. This was one.

And bendy buses? Crap for London. Sorry, but they were. They may not have killed cyclists but as a longtime cyclist in London I can tell you they were bloody scary - and I suspect this was also true for the bus driver. They bogged up junctions. They bogged up shared bus stops. If you had two in a row it was a nightmare. Yes, in an ideal world every bus would have the kind of space and access they did, but I don't miss them at all.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a testament to just how oblivious I am to events here in town that my first response to reading this was "We have a cable car?"

I'd completely forgotten about it too, until I saw it from the train near Stratford last week. I have to say, on a sunny evening with the light glinting off the little cars, it does look really pretty. Not exactly ideal for mass transit, especially given the price, but I am planning on having a go on it next time I'm in town just for the view.
posted by ZsigE at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2012


If you are visiting London over the next couple of weeks - apparantly there's some kind of jamboree for people in shorts, and we're expecting it to attract dozens of visitors from overseas - you might like to know that the official local response to Boris' transport announcements is a cheery "Oh, fuck off, Boris!" You don't even need to make a sound - just moving your lips will do. If you look around you, you'll see that that's what all the other passengers are doing, in unison.
posted by Grangousier at 10:32 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If by liability do you mean wheelchair-unfriendly? That's what I remember hearing was a prime reason for their removal from service.

That's a big part of why they're inappropriate these days, but the desire to get rid of them actually predates the realisation that we should actually try and be inclusive with regards to public transport (which - broadly speaking - finally started to happen in the 90s).

If you go back to the 70s when the transition away from RMs and open platforms properly started to happen on a strategic level, then the main reasons you'd have heard would have been:

1) Trips and falls - primarily amongst conductors rather than passengers (conductors having to use the stairs/platform more than anyone else on a daily basis)
2) The fact that it meant you needed conductors in the first place, which more than doubles the cost of staffing the bus (already the largest cost associated with its operation). Even by the end of the 70s ticketing improvements meant that One Person Operation (OPO) was possible.
3) Rising skilled labour costs meant maintaining a different design to every other bus company on the planet (and that you couldn't resell easily - right hand drive remember) was uneconomic
4) Hop on/hop off anywhere other than bus stops was actually not allowed for safety reasons, but was impossible to stop

Basically all of those reasons above are still valid - indeed "you'll be allowed to hop on and off" is another one of those magical made up Johnson facts that gets him into trouble with both TfL and the London Assembly. Because it's still against the rules and is a potentially huge legal liability for TfL in an increasingly litigious society, not to mention a major danger to other road users - both car and cyclist.

And bendy buses? Crap for London. Sorry, but they were. They may not have killed cyclists but as a longtime cyclist in London I can tell you they were bloody scary

I don't doubt it - I think they had some major problems and were on too many routes, but both Livingstone's "they're wonderful" and Johnson's "they're the devil" did a good job of diverting debate away from something that is a very genuine concern - that bus drivers be better trained to be aware of cyclists on the road, and that the bus companies be forced to behave better in that regard.

Ultimately, the maths just weren't as simple as "bendy: good or bad?" because the removal of the bendy-buses resulted on at least twice as many buses now running on the routes they formerly occupied. Because although the bendies were removed, the obligation on the part of the bus companies and TfL to provide the same level of passenger capacity - quite rightly - wasn't.

So other road users - again both cyclist and driver - lost the problems the bendy buses may have caused, but gained the problem of having at least twice as many buses on the road to contend with (still with the issue of better driver training unaddressed).

Which unfortunately is one of the issues that the NBfL again doesn't solve in its current incarnation - because not only does it have less seats than the bendies did, but because of the rear platform design actually has even less capacity than a regular double decker - not only that, but its actually bigger than a standard decker - think of it as being the size of a luxury coach (albeit very manoeuvrable to its definite credit).

Again, bringing it back to the general theme at hand - that's why it was another example of that rather impressive ability Johnson has to indulge in acts of intellectual slight-of hand: because whatever problem it removed, it simply replaced with another, slightly different problem - albeit a shiny, sexy (and expensive) new one that looks better on camera.

And that was unfair to bus passengers, unfair to other road users (cyclists included) and unfair to London.
posted by garius at 10:57 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


An excerpt from a comparable soviet documentary on the origin of the games
posted by syntaxfree at 11:06 AM on July 24, 2012


The Bendies had their floors

And for that we were pitifully grateful
posted by dng at 11:40 AM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The fact that it meant you needed conductors in the first place, which more than doubles the cost of staffing the bus (already the largest cost associated with its operation). Even by the end of the 70s ticketing improvements meant that One Person Operation (OPO) was possible.

I have nothing to back this up, but I suspect that public transport would be more popular, especially amongst women, if there were two members on staff on every bus walking around providing security and oversight rather than one guy stuck downstairs at the front behind a plexiglass shield.

I also suspect that one of the significant problems with ticketing at the door is that the bus stops, blocking one of the lanes, while payment is collected. This contributes to congestion and slows down the passage of the bus, making it less attractive (of course, the increased congestion makes it more attractive...) I'm aware that London has a different ticketing system (TravelCard) so I'm happy to be corrected.

I generally suspect that hop-on, hop-off systems with two members of staff are more efficient and would be more successful than the now-standard single-operator bus. But again, I don't have any studies to back this up.

Finally, for our American cousins: Wolfdog is very funny.
posted by alasdair at 12:45 PM on July 24, 2012


you might like to know that the official local response to Boris' transport announcements is a cheery "Oh, fuck off, Boris!"

Fuck off, Boris (with tweets)
posted by homunculus at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


but I suspect that public transport would be more popular, especially amongst women, if there were two members on staff on every bus walking around providing security and oversight rather than one guy stuck downstairs at the front behind a plexiglass shield.


Huh. I'm a woman and I can count the number of times I've taken a taxi in London on the toes of my then-broken foot. We can't stay indoors to avoid the menz. We still have to get home. And some of us can without heavies to protect us if we swoon into some cad's stinky chip papers.

London Transport has a similar system to Manchester and other cities - most people have a paper or chip card, some pay in cash.
posted by mippy at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2012


But helpfully TfL released some advice to the women who are too delicate for public transport.
posted by mippy at 2:32 PM on July 24, 2012


He is, he's reading a poem in Ancient Greek.

These are dark times when Johnson will read a poem in Ancient Greek and not many people will realise the penultimate line can be construed as calling the mayor fat. But now, Metafilter, you know.
posted by ersatz at 5:54 PM on July 24, 2012


Current top comment on youtube: "This made it sound so much better than it's actually going to be."
posted by maxwelton at 6:32 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, homunculus. "Why don't you fuck in the name of off" is sheer genius.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:01 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Women, in particular, have been found quite fearful of empty train wagons" (PDF). That's assuming one can generalize from train carriages to buses. But I think it's a reasonable suspicion that security concerns are a major factor in public transport usage, and quick Googling produces various things like the above suggesting security concerns are particularly important for women (and some other groups - probably the majority of the population, in fact, when you add them up!)

The same Googling suggests that the environment around the stops and the need to wait for a bus is more important than the actual bus, though, so I may be wrong: maybe more frequent buses with one driver would be perceived to be safer than less frequent buses with two staff. Interesting.

Manchester does not have the TravelCard, so you must buy, in cash, tickets when entering the bus (though of course you may buy a multi-day pass). This causes long slow queues, especially round the student areas. Also, London I think has a special simplified payment scale - two prices only? - and you may be able to top up your TravelCard without entering the bus? Some other cities have other approaches, like Edinburgh where you must have the exact change in cash. I suspect this may have a significant effect on efficiency and bus speed.
posted by alasdair at 11:28 PM on July 24, 2012


The thing that's worth remembering about London's bus network is that it's light years ahead of pretty much anything else in the UK, and has few genuine comparitors abroad. As a result, its always slightly dangerous to compare it to experiences elsewhere.

For example, a staggering 98% of bus journeys in London are made without a cash transaction taking place - 85% Oyster (single tap smartcard), 13% travelcard/senior citizen card (just show it to the driver) - source. Journeys are also flat-fare - one price, no matter your destination.

Basically, delays at bus stops tend to be because a non-regular passenger is asking whether that's the right bus to get (in which case the bus can't depart until they've boarded fully/not boarded) or a mobility impaired individual (or someone with a pushchair) needs to board or alight. Neither of which the presence of a conductor noticeably speeds up.

That hopefully gives some context as to why OPO is seen as a no-brainer in london from a value-for-money perspective.

That's an interesting paper alasdair, thanks (fixed link here). For the reasons above (i.e. London being a categorically different bus market to the norm) I'd be wary about reading too much into it, but TfL have got some good research on travel safety as well. I can't find it online and their press office (naturally) is in Olympic lock down at the moment, but from what I remember it suggested that as long as buses were clean, well lit and had conspicuous CCTV (i.e. with monitors clearly placed within the bus as well as cameras) then it was very much the bus stop environment that was the major player in the fear-factor for vulnerable travel groups rather than the bus itself and its staffing.

That said, common sense would seem to dictate that two people are better than one in that regard...

...so it's a shame that the NBfL is only dual staffed during peak hours (morning and evening work rush). Outside of those it's OPO like any other bus. Oh, and in reference back to the fares thing, when it is staffed, the new "conductor" doesn't have any responsibility for (or ability to) collect fares.

Fascinating things, London buses. The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether they're worth doing a post about (even leaving out the whole NBfL stuff).

Anyway. Olympics. Despite the impending travel hell, one of the things I am liking about them is that it means I can finally (and probably for the only time ever) actually get an official Great Britain Football shirt. This makes me far happier than it probably should.
posted by garius at 2:38 AM on July 25, 2012


London I think has a special simplified payment scale - two prices only? - and you may be able to top up your TravelCard without entering the bus?

One price everywhere (though it does vary depending on type of purchase - so buying a ticket on the bus is more expensive than using the Oyster card), and it's necessary to top up the Oyster card elsewhere - it can't be done on the bus.

Also, putting Countdown on the internet has revolutionised using buses, for me.
posted by Grangousier at 2:52 AM on July 25, 2012


I'n thinking of the Megarider, alasdair - the monopoly First have on N.Manchester and Stagecoach on the south (unless things have changed significantly since I last lived there in 2005) mean essentially it's an equivalent to the Oyster card here.

Travelling on public transport late at night can be less than pleasant, but in a city where car use isn't really viable for cost/congestion charge reasons, it has to be done.
posted by mippy at 3:12 AM on July 25, 2012


So London also has a substantial blond mayor with stubborn opinions about public transit and bikes on the road? At least yours can put together a complete English sentence without sounding like the Lost Stooge.
posted by maudlin at 7:00 AM on July 25, 2012


Boris Johnson mocks Mitt Romney before 60,000 people.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For someone who went on a "good-will tour," Romney did a shitty job of smiling and saying nice things, unless it was a ploy to set up Boris for a great bit of crowd-rousing.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:14 PM on July 27, 2012


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