Category: Motoring

Alternative Transport for OAPs and the Disabled in Wake of Government Cuts

March 17, 2011 | By | 1 Comment

The current Conservative meets Liberal Democrats government (or, the Con-Dem nation, as it has been dubbed) continues to enforce budget cuts across many UK industries and sectors in an attempt to try a dig the country out of its current debt and economic slump. Cuts in education and healthcare funding have rightly angered many and it seems that the government is doing little to help those most in need of support. Many local UK transport services in place to help the underrepresented groups of the elderly and disabled get around have also been axed, forcing them to find alternative methods of mobility.

Recent news stories reveal that up in the North West of England, Lancashire County Council has put an end to many travel perks for OAPs and disabled individuals in the area. It used to be that bus passes could be exchanged for rail cards but not anymore. Anyone eligible for concessionary rates on transport services will now also have to have a NoWcard on their person – even if they clearly appear to be disabled or over retirement age. The disabled will however still be able to travel via bus for free but only during peak times. Local authorities in Cheshire will no longer spend £1.4 million each year to transport 420 people to day care using minibuses either.

Caution SeniorsSimilar measures have been taken in the North East country of Durham – individuals of 65 years plus and the mobile-impaired will no longer receive free, off peak travel.  It is estimated that the axing of these services will save the district around £500,000 annually.

That’s not all however. The central city of Leicestershire plans to cut five bus routes which are heavily used by those entitled to free travel since the government is now longer willing to subsidise the routes. David Shelley from Centrebus commented that “Over 60% of passengers in the Hinckley area travel without paying a fare, which makes a significant impact on the revenue.” A mental health group in Lambeth, south London is also warning that cutting discretionary travel passes for the mentally ill could lead to more incidences of suicide.

So where does this leave those who have relied on such services over the years? It is sad that certain OAPs will be forced to stump up the supposedly “nominal” costs for standard public transport which will quickly tally up to a significant expense. Notably for those affected who are also disabled, not all services will comprise wheelchair access. Disabled individuals with carers or close relatives might wish to consider investing in a disabled vehicle as this would offer its owner more flexibility and independence as relying on public services is no longer necessary – no one can take your own means of transport away!

The majority of disabled individuals would find purchasing a vehicle right off of the bat an impossible financial feat and as such, many choose to lease one as an alternative. A fantastic scheme is also in place to help those in need gain access to such transport. The Motability scheme allows those who are entitled to exchange all or part of their Higher Rate Mobility Allowance for a new disabled vehicle.

The recent inefficient and perplexing budgeting of the government may be ridiculous but no one should allow the cuts to negate their quality of life. Unfortunately however, this will be the case for a considerable number of people.

Peter makes a living from reconditioning wheelchair accessible vehicles and enjoys penning guest posts for various websites in his spare time. He couldn’t be more supportive of the Motability scheme.

STOP drivers using mobile phones!

May 27, 2010 | By | 4 Comments

Those bastard screws found The Nurse’s laptop. Is nothing sacred in prison? Sadly The Nurse’s personal areas are obviously not particularly sacred. But on the other hand her lady garden is deep. And she’s a  stalwart type. Hidden where the sun never shines, they didn’t find her binoculars. 

So, stuck in solitary confinement since January with no internet access, The Nurse has been restricted to spying through a tiny hole drilled in her cell wall. From there she has watched the prison’s staff and visitors driving to and fro across the moors. And she’s been sickened by their behind-the-wheel mobile phone antics.

The Nurse thought using mobiles in cars was against the law unless they’re hands-free. But nobody seems to give a flying fuck. On average 30% of the drivers she watches from her cell are glued to their mobile phones while on the move at one time or another. The arseholes.

Drivers are quite obviously incapable of leaving their mobile phones alone. Pointing out the dangers doesn’t seem to help. The law isn’t helping much either. So the only thing left is to make sure using phones in cars is impossible.

The Nurse proposes fitting every car, old and new, with a mandatory signal blocker to stop this dickheadery in its tracks before total carnage ensues.  

The phrase ‘ in-car entertainment’ must be one of the most disgusting oxymorons coined in recent years. When you’re in a car you should be concentrating on driving. And only driving. Is any conversation important enough to die for, or kill other people for? Why don’t all you lazy, selfish twats turn your phones off  when you’re in your cars? 

Surely you lot can manage to function as human beings without being entertained every single minute? But then again, perhaps not. The loony brigade is currently busy inventing an in-car personal computer with internet access.

Holy shit.   

The nurse is sometimes relieved to be safely incarcerated in jail. This is one of those times. Sod driving. Sod being a passenger too – it’s equally dangerous. At least in prison she’s safe from all you murderous mobile-using wankers. 

Raise UK Driving Age to 25 and Retest Every Five Years

May 26, 2009 | By | 5 Comments

road_light_streaksA report in last week’s Guardian newspaper highlighted how an alarming number of drivers on Britain’s roads don’t know the meaning of various common road signs. Motorists fail to recognise road signs.

Apparently around two thirds (67%) of drivers were unable to identify the sign indicating a zebra crossing. Apparently only 12% of the 2000 motorists surveyed actually knew the meaning of the eight signs they were tested on.

If you want to test yourself have a go at the Guardian’s online road sign quiz.

Now I’m going to blow my own trumpet a little as I got them all correct. How did you do?

One of the reasons cited for the appalling performance amongst the drivers surveyed is that drivers don’t refresh their knowledge of road signs after taking their driving tests. This has provided ammunition to those campaigning for compulsory re-tests for those convicted of traffic offences and those who have been driving for more than a certain number of years.

An aspect of this survey which was not reported, but which I would find interesting, is the contrast between male and female drivers. Do male drivers have better knowledge of road signs than women? Many other traffic related statistics suggest that men are by far the worst drivers with 82% of those found guilty of speeding offences being male and 94% of those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving being male.

The growing UK personal car leasing market is making powerful cars more accessible to the most accident prone group of drivers, young men. Young drivers have a far higher risk of being involved in an accident than older drivers. Statistics show that an 18 year old is more than three times as likely to be involved in an accident and young male drivers have significantly higher accident rates than young female drivers.

Some people argue that the solution to these road safety issues is simple. Don’t allow young people onto the roads until they are at least 25 years old and then retest everybody every five years. What would you do?

Who Can You Trust with Your Personal Details

March 16, 2009 | By | 4 Comments

parking_personal_detailsTwo MPs, Gordon Prentice (Labour) and Norman Baker (Liberal Democrats) have publicly condemned the DVLAs practice of selling driver details to parking enforcement companies. Their condemnation has been welcomed by the Association of British Drivers.

The parking companies concerned were described in the house of commons as ‘shady operators and crooks’ who will fine those who are alleged to have parked illegally as much as £230.

Nigel Humphries from the ABD has said “Drivers do not choose to submit their personal details to the DVLA when registering their cars and taxing them, they are forced to do so by law, They expect such information to be retained by the Government for official purposes only.” Instead it appears that the DVLA have provided this private information to private parking companies which operate outside the regulations of the British Parking Association.

So it looks like the Government are perfectly happy for your personal details to be sold to these shady operators and crooks. Are you?

BTW – prompted by a good buddy of mine from the illustrious Amateur Brain Surgery fraternity I’e just gotten myself a brand new (not secondhand) Fiat Grand Punto for a little over £100 per month on a personal car leasing contract. I could not believe this price!