CARRY AN UNREGISTERED OYSTERCARD WITH NO MORE THAN £5 or £10 CREDIT. KEEP IT HANDY & KEEP YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU. STAND/SIT NEAR A CARD READER. IF YOU SEE TICKET INSPECTORS ABOUT TO BOARD, SWIPE YOUR CARD AND YOU'RE IN THE CLEAR! IF YOU ARE APPROACHED BY A TICKET INSPECTOR YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THEM. THEY HAVE NO POWERS WHATEVER. IGNORE THEM OR TELL THEM WHY YOU THINK THE 'SERVICE' IS NOT WORTH PAYING FOR. IF YOU THINK THAT'S UNJUSTIFIED THEN YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS BLOG!
Please contact me with YOUR experiences of the 73, either positive or negative. TfL DO NOT publish the substance of complaints made to them and so we have NO WAY of knowing their scale or the particular issues involved. Aggriever have been granted a FIVE YEAR licence to operate this service and therefore have NO INCENTIVE to improve it until renewal in 2009. DO NOT PAY. ride for free in protest. This blog will tell you how and why.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I really must apologise to all of you who may have attempted to visit this blog over the last 24hrs. It seems that Google, who run this whole bang shoot, had major technical issues the details of which I but dimly understand and won't bore you with. Unfortunately this may well have had the effect of putting off a new readership. Oh well, I'll just have to redouble my efforts.
As I wasn't able to post details of my journey yesterday let me now sketch them out for you. Beresford Road at 8:30am MA71 was already full to bursting with three passengers forward yet still saw fit to stop and pretend there might be room for more. Next along was a pretty full 476 before MA58 showed up at about 8:37am. This was just over half full; certainly no seats left at all. As the aft doors opened a middle-aged gent almost fell onto me having been ambushed by the doors. He took it in surprisingly good humour and I discussed the danger with him for a few minutes.
Then I noticed two TfL Money-Collectors working through the bus, writing out more than one fine for hapless passengers at the back. They didn't even check my travelcard! I couldn't resist having a friendly chat with them about the worthlessness of the service. At the end of a short exchange, the Money-Collectors' fallback postion was the time-honoured, yet utterly discredited unphilosophy of The Jobsworth: "I'm just trying to do my job..." A few seated passengers enjoyed a wry smile. Not often you get to do that aboard the 73 these days.
Despite Aggriever and TfL's unwilligness to put conductors on their buses you'll be delighted to hear that they can employ a small army to remove my posters. I began by taping them up over their ridiculous propaganda posters from Kings Cross to Stoke Newington but pretty soon they would be torn down on a daily basis. This has meant I have to resort to more 'robust' means of telling the travelling public what Aggriever and TfL will not. A small packet of superstrength wallpaper paste and access to a colour laserprinter goes a long way however, so I expect to outlast the poor schnooks whom Transport forLorn or Aggriever employ on minimum wage to help safeguard their increasingly poor image. "Sorry guys, I'm just trying to do my job of holding your employers to their own promises, statements and statutory requirements."
To my great delight I saw a story on the BBC1 London regional news about a TfL 'initiative' in Old Street. In an effort to combat fly-posting along sections of the street TfL have printed large stickers with the word 'CANCELLED' stencilled across them and their logo at tyhe bottom right. This obscures the details of the events many of the posters are advertising and will also have the very short-term effect of fooling a few people into thinking the event itself has been cancelled. It seems to me that this is a wonderful gift to passengers who wish to protest about the poor service of their bus operators. You may therefore expect, gentle reader, to be able to download your own 'CANCELLED' flyer from this very blog very soon! I'm certain TfL will be delighted to have their bus routes cancelled in similar fashion. Alternatively, if some kind mole in the ministry can actually LAY HANDS on the some of the actual TfL posters themselves I would be delighted to make the acquaintance.... Either way, watch this space.
To turn to the recent correspondence we have a number of interesting items in our in-tray. The first comes from the Data Protection Manager at TfL and concerns my 'Standard Subject Access Form' of 20th October requesting footage of myself taken aboard MA75 between 8:20 and 8:50am on Thursday, October 21, 2004. Here's the letter:
25th October 2004
Dear [NAME REDACTED]
Thank you for your letter dated 20th October 2004.
To enable us to deal with your request, I require the following information.
* please specify the information you require
* proof of your address such as a utilities bill
* a copy of a recnt photo such as a passport photo
* a fee of £10.00 made payable to Transport for London
This is to ensure we are searching under the correct details and we send any information to the correct address.
Please not that there has been recent case law on the Data Protection Act 1998 (Durant V FSA) and this will mean that some of the information you requested may not be covered under the Act and so there is no legal obligation on TfL to supply you the information.
We will not proceed with your request until we are in possession of the above information.
[NAME REDACTED] Data Protection Manager
Mmmmmhhh.... looks to me like they might try to hide behind some judgment based upon an entirely different set of circumstances and hope that I won't be bothered to question it. Off I go to read Durant V FSA. Click HERE if you've nothing better to do.
Most of Durant V FSA hinges upon the precise legal definitions of key sections of the Act and, indeed, Durant lost in part because some of the data to which he was seeking access did not fall within the scope of what Judge Zeidman, QC believed constituted "personal data". Further to this the document discusses the tension between the disclosure of what can be deemed "personal data" and the redaction of specific data to protect the privacy of third parties. There are also conclusions drawn about Durant's intent to use the DPA as a tool for discovery in Third Party litigation.
However TfL responds to my submission I am confident that the following quote from the judgment establishes prima facie my right to have access to a copy of footage taken of me whilst I am aboard a TfL bus. Article 2(a) of the 1995 Directive defines "personal data" as "any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subject); an identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his (sic) physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity;"
Furthermore, Section 1(1) of the 1998 Act develops the notion: "personal data means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified
(a) from those data, or
(b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possessiom of, the data controller,
and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual;"
That's crystal clear as far as I am concerned and in my opinion clearly denotes my right to access both footage taken of myself whilst on board a bus and ALL records concerning the numerous complaints which I have made to TfL and which have largely gone unanswered. I shall be quoting the judgment to TfL's Data Protection Manager to ensure that TfL comply with the Act instead of attemting to hide behind an appeal judgment based upon a completely different set of circumstances.
The second item of correspondence is an email from the HSE. You will recall that I had been trying to draw their attention to the dangerous practise of riding forwards and the unsafe operation of the doors on the Mercedes Shitaros. I am politely informed that I am barking up the wrong tree. The HSE are, however, quick to point out another tree up which I may bark. I quote the letter in full:
Dear [NAME REDACTED]
I write in relation to your complaint, dated 13 October 2004, regarding the new Citaros buses operated by Arriva, particularly on the 73 bus route service.
The Health and Safety Executive does not deal with all health and safety issues. The HSE enforces the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the way work activity affects people, however, this does not extend to the design of public transport.
Issues relating to vehicle design, operation and use is dealt with by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, (VOSA), a division of the Department of Transport, who enforce the Vehicle Construction and Use Regulations 1986. VOSA provides a range of licensing, testing and enforcement services with the aim of improving the road-worthiness standards of vehicles, and ensuring the compliance of operators and drivers with road traffic legislation, including bus services. Therefore, I recommend that if you wish to pursue your complaint that you contact VOSA. Their website address is www.vosa.gov.uk Telephone: 0870 6060440 By post: Berkeley House, Croydon Street, Bristol, BS5 0DA.
I am sorry that HSE is unable to assist you further with this matter.
[ NAME REDACTED]
HM Inspector of Health and Safety
Health and Safety Executive
2 Southwark Bridge
Well I can't say I'm not a little surprised. I had no suspicion that the HSE would not be the interested body and nobody I rang sought to redirect me. Frankly I have never even heard of the VOSA before, but hey, maybe they're genuinely motivated by the public welfare. Anything's possible in this mixed-up crazy world. So I guess it's off to the VOSA with all speed.... I wonder how long it will be before I hit a brick wall on this one? Answers on the back of an envelope to the usual address in the usual manner.
Enjoy your trip!