Monday, 2 June 2008


Nothing of interest happened this weekend. I worked. That was about it.

Although, one of the many grumpy young men type discussions came up while talking with Dave this week. He was describing how some unfortunate kid hadn't got his Oyster card when trying to get on the bus, and tried to give the bus driver a sob story of his terrible plight. For the uninitiated and the unLondoners, an Oyster card is the credit system by which the majority of Londoners pay for travel. Kids get on free, 'cause we're nice like that, but if the driver doesn't know if they're underage, they have to have their swipe card. Leads to many arguments and lots of wasted time.

However, I, in my genius, have come up with an alternative plan to all this kerfuffle. I have based it upon the average cost of bus travel per person, per year, in that a child goes to school 40 weeks of the year. In those weeks, a child will go to school 5 times. That requires two journeys, back and forth. Using a basic £1 for the cost, that brings us to the rough estimate of it costing £400 a year to merely get each child to school and back using the bus. What we then do, is take away free travel for these young people, implement a cost of £1 for their use of the bus, and with the money we have saved churn out carbon copy bicycles, for easily under £100, and give them to every child in London/England/UK [delete as applicable to your sense of nationalism]. Now, I'm no mathematician, but that saves a lot of money. And, funnily enough, combats the two 'biggest threats since the war on terror,' (Labour stylee), and deals a 'hammer blow,' (Lib Dem stylee) to climate change and childhood obesity. (The Conservatives just don't care). The bikes don't have to be amazing, just long-lasting. And one would hope the situation would be similar to that in Cambridge, where every student has a considerably average bike, and thus, no one really has the desire to steal them. One average bike is uncool enough.

This will provide everyone with a choice. You can no longer complain about not getting enough exercise if you are given a bike by the government. If you want to use the buses, you pay for them, probably at a cost less than £1, because currently, the adult population is subsidising the kids - once the kids no longer have free bus travel, prices will go down all round.

There is one problem, courted by the most extreme opponents. Where will the young people put their bikes once they have got to school? Simple. Those playing fields we always hear schools are selling off? Just put a massive bike shed on them. It's not like they will need the exercise any more.

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