Kent: Passengers on South Eastern Railway take their dogs to work today

It is National #Takeyourdogtowork day which is great for mental health in the workplace, and gets the dog out too, and, of course, immensely spoiled.

I was pleased to see some railway passengers taking their beagle to work this morning, on my way to London Bridge. The lady took the dog after 10am and avoided the crowded rush hour so he was quite comfortable.

Hope to see more and more people take their dogs to work, perhaps more often than a day, to help animal welfare charities and reduce workplace stress and sickness. It also makes the workplace more fun and ‘human’.

To take part next year, keep a note of this website: https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/ for details.

Do I feel safe in London after the attacks?

No, I do not.

I believe the police when they say we are on Severe or Critical alert.I have seen that London is not safe.

We rarely get police walking along the streets due to red tape and cuts. I don’t see police do Stop and Searches though they do sometimes but I don’t see them doing this. There are no proper check points screening and checking motorists. The police tend to be out in their cars a lot, missing local intelligence.I feel sorry for them, as they have their hands tied by the ‘people at the top’.

The local media and Government tries to say #londonisopen, which is a bit of a PR stunt. It’s all very well carrying on ‘as normal’, but this can put our lives in danger. I certainly don’t trust our politicians. We have seen that these attackers target busy areas for maximum media coverage, so avoiding crowded places helps. Sometimes I forget about avoiding crowded places, and then, think about it afterwards. I try to avoid busy areas where there are few escape routes and I always take shoes that I can run in. Some people say, ‘you are letting them win’, I say, ‘I am winning, I am staying alive’.

I am a lot more vigilant now and I do report any suspicious behaviour to the police. Only a few weeks ago, I reported someone suspicious on the underground who was going from East London towards Westminster, a couple of weeks before the London attack. My friend kept on telling me, ‘there’s no need to report him’, but the police were glad that I did. He certainly looked out of place on the tube, particularly his reading matter. As soon as I saw his reading matter and his manner, I got off the tube train at once.

Once I helped a police inspector catch some car thieves at our local train station. The police were using our offices to spy on them. Though he was probably pi**ed off that I spotted them, and he didn’t, he did say they were up to no good and caught three males. I have a good sense of spotting shifty behaviour. We need to use our observational skills.We cannot be apathetic any more.

In the ideal world, I would prefer to wear an anti-stab vest in London or anti-knife collar round my neck, then if I was caught in some kind of stabbing spree, I would have a better chance of survival. These are quite expensive though, but I think they are worth it if you have the money. The thing is terrorism is so ‘random’ but there are places, that they always target and types of people.

A few days ago there was someone loading fireworks in Bermondsey, Southwark, and we wondered what was happening, and only last night, at the ridiculous hour of 1.30am I heard a serious of random gunshots or firework bangs,and I heard a police siren soon after. This is out of the norm at night. I am on edge, and I don’t safe but because of that, but I can be far more vigilant, and report unusual behaviour, this is something we can all do to combat terrorism. Maybe the nutter at Manchester could have been spotted earlier if people were vigilant. Prevention is better than cure, however, it doesn’t always work, as some people did report the London Bridge attackers to the police, but they somehow got through the net. At the end of the day, you can only try and do what is right, avoid busy areas and ones that ‘are likely to be terrorist targets’ as many of them follow a familiar pattern, particularly the copycats.

It is horrible that the UK has changed so much over the last decade. Things are different now, but we have to be awake to the new UK and learn to deal with it. Actually no city these days is safe from extremists. Sometimes avoiding busy and touristy places, is the key to survival now. Surviving is the best revenge to terrorists!

Company Greed: Taxi Companies charging Full Rates for Grenfell Fire donors

An unnamed taxi driver driving into Notting Hill has been charging people full price to whose who have been giving large donations to the Grenfell Fire survivors to avoid getting ‘abuse from his company’.

The Metropolitan police say that 17 people were killed, including children, in the devastating Grenfell Fire, in Notting Hill, London, this week.

UPDATE: 15/5 Some cabbies are offering discounts or their services for free unlike the cabbie who charged £37.00 http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/grenfell-disaster-black-cab-and-uber-drivers-join-charge-to-help-victims-as-londoners-unite-in-a3566316.html

South Eastern Railway passenger from Kent tells of his Experience of the London Attack

A passenger from Tonbridge, Kent, said that he was travelling on a train at 10pm on 3rd June to Lewisham when the South Eastern train driver said that he had heard some information and said there had been ‘an incident’ at London Bridge and that the train wasn’t going to let passengers off at the station.

The train driver told the few passengers that were on the train that it had to go back to Sevenoaks.He said the situation at London Bridge was ‘out of control’. He sounded like he knew more about the incident than he let on.

The driver was then seen to walk on the railway tracks at London Bridge to get to the other end of the train, presumably Network Rail turned the electrics off. There appeared to be no guard on the train.

The passenger said that while the train was waiting at London Bridge for a good half an hour he could hear several police sirens near the station, although he thought it was ‘just drunk men fighting’ at it was a Saturday night. Charing Cross station was swiftly closed during the incident was known.

The passenger was pleased that South Eastern Railway staff knew very quickly what was going on, and that they took swift action as soon as they knew something was up,

Though he never got to Lewisham, the passenger came home safely thanks to the driver and those communicating with him.

London: About time we had Women Only carriages on the Tube

There has been so much violence and sexual assaults on trains and tube trains in London. This has proved that many males are unable to control themselves.

Males nowadays are brainwashed with hardcore porn and seem to be unable to control their urges. It is all very well saying men should control themselves, they should, but some are so opportunist that they can’t. They are risk takers, willing to risk their job and family over a sex assault and a fight.

So, there comes a point that we women need to make a stand against male violence and have our own women only carriages. Other countries do this already like Iran, Japan, Mexico and Brazil and these are just some of them.

My colleague was sexually assaulted on London’s tube network and I remember that she came to work in tears. I have been verbally abused on the train by a group of , and drunk males can be very intimidating and unpredictable. I had this middle aged male touching himself next to me on a crowded train.  I was so shocked I couldn’t move, but I would now. He reminds me that we do need women only carriages.

Some women may not want to use the women only carriages but they will have the choice. I want the choice to use a women only carriage.  I don’t want the fear of violence, abuse, theft and sexual assault when I am travelling. Nothing is every done, as people at the top are still men.

 

LInk to Guardian article on Women Only Carriages https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/26/women-only-carriages-train-passengers-react-to-jeremy-corbyn-idea

Discussion on BBC Newsnight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28h_iz650CE

My friend has to go to Heathrow during the #Tubestrike

I only found about the #tubestrike on Monday 9 January today. ThIs is going to mess up my friend’s travel plans to  Heathrow  Airport on Monday for Chinese New Year.  He  found it really hard to even get flights out during this time as most of the seats were already booked. 

He has given up even trying to get there on Monday on the Piccadilly Line so will go up on Sunday morning, the night before. It will be a lot easier than faffing around getting buses and taxis early on Monday, and battling room with tourists and commuters. Still, it is annoying. The tube strike will start on Sunday 8th January from 6pm and last 24 hours, Zone 1 tube stations will be closed.

I don’t like tube strikes or rail strikes as they affect the economy and disruption people travelling to hospitals, jobs and visiting relatives, some being elderly. And I say this as an Ex-TSSA member and delegate.  Then after the #tubestrike there will be another travel strike, this time Southern Rail staff for three days this week. Most of the staff I expect are Labour supporters and they don’t seem to realise that striking like this just gets travellers’ backs up, even if, in some ways, they do agree with them. Why can’t they find another way, without upsetting the punters? At the end of the day, these strikers are supposed to be ‘at war’ with their employers but they are also ‘at war’ with those who are paying their wages.

London: “Tube Chat” Badges: My thoughts

When I saw the Evening Standard’s article  today that people  are handing out unofficial Transport for London ‘Tube Chat’ badges to encourage people on the Underground to actually talk to each other, I thought it was an excellent idea. An American called Jonathan Dunne started it.  It has been something I have been thinking about for a while.

Many people in London are quite fun, but when they enter the tube, they suddenly become ‘all serious and boring’. I think it is such an old fashioned, conservative attitude. It does not reflect diversity too. Not all of us are stuffed shirts.

I really hate the sour atmosphere on the tube. It smacks of a time in the 1950s. London is a young, vibrant place  now, why are  Londoners still behaving in weird stuffy way? It is ridiculously outdated.However, yes, in  the rush hour in the morning is a lot harder to talk for a variety of reasons.

I use the bus a lot and people talk to each other so using the tube a big contrast for me.  There is nothing to look at other than all the ‘stone cold’  commuters and corporate adverts, and poor old tourists, on holiday, are thrown in with them. People look like they are miserable every day, even on good days. I think the seating arrangements don’t actually help.

For those of us who are into ‘micro adventures’ which are great, a light chat passes the time. You will never know what will happen.In my own case, I have met some very loyal friends on public transport and I have chatted to people about loom knitting, bull dogs, long distance bike rides and even went on some trips round Australia with them.  New people, new opportunities maybe, who knows? Life is is an adventure, and it can open new horizons. Coming from a tourism background, I can help with a wealth of information. Why have such a narrow life? I suppose  as  a world traveller, I am a little more open-minded than some Londoners. I have also had a few laughs with passing passengers on public transport as well.

I won’t use the badge during the  morning rush hour as I need that time to think, like many others, but outside these times, perhaps  when out sightseeing and not being in such a rush, I have a little more mental capacity for people. I wouldn’t use the badge after 11pm to avoid the drunk men or if there are football fans.  It is good in that you have a choice   with a badge, and you can do it with friends too.

I think it would be good if the badges were made so you could talk to women or men only, or both women or men.   I would probably feel a bit uncomfortable chatting to men on my own on the tube. If I had a ‘women only’ badge I may feel a bit safer, after all,  sexual harassment is a big problem on a crowded tube but then I suppose, I wouldn’t want a chat on a crowded tube, I mean, I can barely breathe anyway.

London can be a lonely place for visitors and newcomers, and I think this idea would help change the way Londoners are and tube journeys, outside rush hour, would be less dull. Not all Londoners want a dull journey. When I worked in the travel industry, tourists would often say how unfriendly we were. Tourists are our bread and butter, we need to encourage them to come here and spend money.

Some older people may not have spoken to anyone all day, and that goes for some of us younger people who live alone, or even alone in relationships. Many of us are away from our family too, who may live at the end of the country.

We need a happier society and a REVOLUTION on the tube!

Well done to those who want to make change.  Shame on those who want the tube to be grouchy and miserable all the time. Why can’t that lot go to the back of the carriage,  with their Candy Crush games and leave us on the other carriages, where we can chat and share wine gums?

One person tweeted this:

It’s ok, Londoners, you can get through this. We do this all the time in the North.

For more info:

Evening Standard article: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/tube-chat-scheme-launched-to-get-commuters-talking-on-the-underground-spectacularly-backfires-a3357011.htmlW

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tubechatbadge/

Twitter: @tube_chat 

Jonathan Dunne speaks to Newsbeat about his idea:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37506978/london-hasnt-been-kind-to-the-man-behind-the-tube-chat-badge

New TfL Badge Pilot Trial not available for disabled people who use the tube less than once a week

Transport for London are keen for people to trial a new ‘Please-Offer-me-A-Seat Badge’  scheme for those who need a seat but are unable to obtain one as they have an ‘invisible condition or disability’; and the current Priority Badge system does not allow for those who have invisible conditions, such as some cancers.

Those who wanted to take part in the Pilot Scheme are now  being turned way from taking part if they use the tube less than once a week. Tfl states that they are ineligible‘ after they have completed the Survey.

Many passengers who use the tube less that once a week can be the ones that avoid the Underground because of their condition or for other reasons, such as only going to hospital a few times a month. Others may have to go to hospital every day for a week but not on other days in the month.

Volunteers wanted to take part in the Pilot Scheme as it would help increase their confidence in using the tube and  to provide Tfl with valuable feedback.

To ban them from the Pilot Scheme is unacceptable.

 

London Bridge Development – Review

So it is open now so I’d thought I’d take a peak.

Well, the only  good thing about it is the wide concourse and natural, wooden ceiling. Your senses are hit by a mass of bleak, soulless and unimaginative gray paint. The ground floor is also plain and  grey.  What is it about grey and railway stations?

For one thing, most commuters want to get to their train quickly. However, in my case, it takes much longer to get to the platform to Tunbridge Wells now. It must be designed by people who never use trains.

Instead of just walking to Platform 5, I have to walk along the long concourse, go down the escalator, walk along the concourse, and then up the escalator (which is slow) to Platform 7.  Bear in mind the fact that the signage is very poor, confusing and a right mess, it is a job even finding escalators to Tunbridge Wells. There seem to be escalators everywhere here.  Fortunately there are one or two staff there, but some of them may not have heard of your destination and send you to a different platform.

If you need to get a ticket, you can get one at the various machines, though some of them on Platform 5 don’t work and if you want a more specialised ticket, you have to play ‘hunt the ticket office’, which is inconveniently on the ground floor, and miles away from the original (and  closer ticket office) and then you have to face a very long queue of about twenty people with only two or three counters open. People who are disabled have to stand in line for a long time, unless they are in a wheelchair.

Then there is this really complicated system that you can only walk on part of the concourse at certain times of the day and there are leaflets showing you where you should walk in the rush hour. As if you want to look at fiddly leaflets when you are rushing for your train.  Just getting to  your train is not simple any more.

When you travel the other way round ie  from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge, it is a real job even trying to get out of the train station. “How do I get out of here?” Again poor signage and everything looks the same, it is like some kind of seventies nightmare.

I would give it 3/10 and would consider it a waste of money.