Saturday 7 August 2010 5.32pm
It's probably just over a two mile round trip from my house to Southend Town Centre and back, but it's just taken me half an hour. Sunday before last I drove to Oxford for what, according to my SatNav, was a one hour and forty minute journey. It took two hours, fifty. Then there was the nightmare some weekends back when Blackwall Tunnel was closed and everyone, including me and my family who were on our way to London, suffered. My wife and I spent two days in Barcelona back in March. We stayed in the city centre and did a lot of touristy walking, as well as taking two tours on the open-top tourist bus. We never saw a single traffic jam. I find it hard to believe that Westcliff and Southend has more traffic than central Barcelona. So what are they doing right, or us wrong?
I take my hat off to all out there who drive for a living. Tom Pepper, et al, stand up and take a bow. It must be horrendously stressful. I used to be a money broker, but I find one hour's driving these days more stressful than I used to find a whole day in the Money Market. One day this country will simply grind to a halt.
Thanks for your kind words Chalkey, the only time I feel any kind of stress is when the job in the back gets fed up with the traffic, hands me the fare and gets out.
THEN I'm sitting in an empty cab, in a sea of traffic, earning nothing, nada, zilch, now that's stressful.
You are right on the money when you compare traffic in other major cities to ours.
In Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, wherever, the idea seems to be, "let's try and ease traffic flow if at all possible," in London I am convinced that there is an office in the mayor's H.Q. where they gather around a table and say, "Right, how can we REALLY screw up the traffic?" "What's that Blenkinsop, make The Embankment no entry? Why didn't I think of that?"