Hopeless in Hoddesdon
Niort, in Deux-Sèvres, is the latest town in France to offer all bus travel free to all users.
There are around 20 towns in the country that have a similar system, but Niort is the largest to offer its free scheme seven days a week, across 45 communes and 120 000 residents.
The mayor, Jérôme Baloge, has introduced the system in a bid to encourage more people to use public transport, and also to highlight the many different ways commuters can choose to travel instead of simply using their own car.
The buses in the town sometimes have just two or three people on them, he said to French newspaper Le Monde, and he would like to see that number rise.
Dunkirk has announced that it, too, will go free from September 2018. Currently the town's buses are free only at the weekend.
One town has reverted to a fares system as the free travel was "too expensive".
It is worth remembering that urban public transport is already heavily subsidised in France, so, presumably, a bit more doesn't add as much to the bill as it would in the UK.
Could it happen in the UK? No chance, we do not do "joined up" thinking. Free buses mean ...
Less cars, less accidents, less pollution
Less police and rescue costs
Less hospital costs
Safer for pedestrians and cyclists
More customers for the shops
Better labour relations and reliability
No land wasted for large car parks
Add all that up (plus other less obvious savings) and it seem a cheap-as-chips idea. Come on UK government, give it a try!
Overrunning Rail Infrastructure Project
Regular readers will remember the storm damage to the Peterville carriage sheds when huge two-foot wide (scale!) hailstones destroyed part of the roof.
But one side was completed last week (at last) as fbb installed 57 new glazing bars in a very challenging and fiddly bit of cutting and gluing.
Today fbb is at the annual model railway exhibition at Thorncombe, near Chard. Some photos will be included in tomorrow's blog, plus further "informative" "big transport" items.
The revised T M Travel service 30 timetable had arrived on-line by 0700 this morning. No rush folks!
"The secret's safe with us!", said a T M Travel spokesperson.