Saturday 28 January 2023

Saturday Variety - Technology Edition

Isn't Technology Wonderful 1

To be sung to the chorus of "Transport of Delight" by Flanders and Swan.
Here is the headline ...
... and here is the picture.
But it looks as if you will have to wait nearly a year.

And the cost? Two minibuses pootling around an industrial estate comes at a modest £4.3 million. And, of course, these driverless buses will each carry a driver!

Did fbb hear someone say "What an utterly irresponsible waste of money"?

And those involved ...

Milton Park is a huge and growing industrial estate north west of Didcot.

Isn't Technology Wonderful 2

About time, too, we hear a chorus of excited commuters who want to travel from Ferrytoll Park and Ride across the Forth Bridge to Gyle Business Park - autonomously, of course.

They will ride joyously, enhanced by a new version of the Stagecoach boring livery.

But these "new passengers" are not yet NEW passengers at all.
These buses will, of course, carry a driver PLUS a "captain" to advise and reassure passengers. The "captain" will also collect fares. We used to call such folk "conductors" way back when fbb was slim and youthful. Actually, never slim but a bit less f.

So that's another financial disaster then!

How will I use the Autonomous Bus?

Using an Autonomous Bus will be very similar to a regular experience of travelling on a traditional Stagecoach service.

Journey information will be available on our app, on 3rd party journey planners, and timetables will be available on location. The bus will stop at every stop, so there is no need to worry about hailing. You will be invited to board by one of our friendly Captains who can offer support, assistance and reassurance as you settle in for the journey – the only difference being that they will check/dispense your tickets once the vehicle has set off rather than when boarding. Simply press the bell as normal to get off at the next stop.

We won't think it’s weird if you say thank you to the computer when alighting! J

But, so far, no timetable or date for the start of service.

Bet you can't wait!

Isn't Technology Wonderful 3

Isn't Technology Wonderful 4
The author of this on-line "experiment" drove from Cornwall to Bristol and back in his posh Volvo C40 battery electric car.
The results were, as they say, "interesting"!!!
The author charged his car at home, recharged at a Motorway service area; topped up at a friend's home in Bristol and recharged at a service area on the way back.
The author found that slow charging (i.e. overnight at home) is OK and cheap; but at the service area, your price depended on how fast you wanted to top up. Even the high price fast charge would keep you at the services for at least 45 minutes.

So here are his comparisons.
Q E D !

Isn't Technology Wonderful 5

But what is it? Answer tomorrow.

Isn't Technology Wonderful 6 - How Much?

As part of its centenary range, Hornby revived the "Dublo" name for specialist models. The prototype Deltic is the next in this series. It is mainly die-cast (NOT plastic) and comes with DCC. (Don't ask; but the model benefits <?> from all the lastest Model Railway technology including full sound capability.)

The price, a modest £320 or thereabouts. 


It won't be available until much later in 2023, so you ave plenty of time yo start topping up your piggy bank.

Or maybe one for £14?

The Dapol (formerly Airfix, former-formerly Kitmaster) is a plastic kit and you would have to assemble it and paint it. You might choose to pay a professional  model maker to make it and paint it and still be multiple quids in.

It doen't have a motor so will end up as a static display - but so will most of the Hornby Dublo models - far too expensive to risk on a working layout.

Isn't Technology Wonderful 7

Alan (the Northampton one) recently received an email from Transport for London.

We are contacting you to inform you of the introduction of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to TfL Oyster and contactless accounts to help ensure that your account and personal details are kept safe. This update will be launched in early 2023. 

As you do today, you will sign in to your TfL Oyster and contactless accounts using your existing email address and password. Following the update, you will be required to set up MFA by providing your mobile number. As part of the update, we have also redesigned some of our website so some screens will look a bit different. 

What is MFA?

MFA is an authentication method providing an additional layer of security to the sign in process when you access your TfL account. This is a check to ensure you are who you say you are, when signing into your account. 

What does this mean to me?

This means that from early 2023, when creating a new account or signing into an existing account, you will be asked to set up MFA to verify your identity. This is applicable to both the Oyster and contactless websites and the TfL Oyster app. Once MFA setup has been completed, you will receive an MFA challenge every time you sign in to confirm you are who you say you are when accessing your account. 

Do I have to set up MFA?

Yes, you must set up MFA to continue using your TfL account. 

It is all part of making Public Transport easier!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 29th January 


  1. How on Earth is hanging around for 45 minutes in a recharge station EVER going to work??? Apart from not wanting to be in such a place for that long instead of on my way, these places are gonna have to be the size of several football pitches to accommodate all those hanging around for that long… it’s NEVER going to work! The whole stupid idea needs a total rethink!

  2. Stick to the horse / donkey / mule.

    These new fangled cars will never catch on - they far too fast and smelly and expensive.