/ Motoring

Your view: Potholes, parking, traffic lights and tickets

Traffic lights against cloudy sky

Earlier this week we asked for your tip offs on what the Transport Committee should investigate this year. From potholes to parking, traffic lights to train tickets – here are some of your best bits…

Traffic lights were a hot topic of the debate, with suggestions around more sophisticated technology for sensing traffic and providing pedestrians with a countdown for the time in which they have to cross the road. William said:

‘Smart traffic lights would be a welcome addition to the roads. How many times do you get to a junction and you’re the only vehicle there, and you wait and wait and wait. A smart traffic light could sense you’re the only vehicle there and change accordingly.’

NFH had some traffic light suggestions based on success from across the globe:

‘Also concerning traffic lights, we should have an automatic right to turn left on a red light while giving way to all other road users (unless signs indicate to the contrary). This right exists (for turning right) in the USA and parts of Eastern Europe.’

Planes trains and automobiles

A number of you were keen to get the rail companies back on track, including GG:

‘Improve the clarity of rail ticket conditions, perhaps by including the key terms on the reverse side. E.g. “not valid to board any train before 0930″. Or, unless the customer requests otherwise, print an additional “coupon” with those terms on together with every ticket sold.

Force train operators to improve Delay Repay schemes so that all delays of 15 minutes within the rail industry’s control qualify for compensation, and such compensation should (optionally to the passenger) be payable electronically rather than in the form of rail vouchers that cannot be spent online or at ticket machines.’

Robert supported GG’s call to improve train travel compensation adding:

‘And support making compensation for delays usable online where the cheapest tickets are to be had. I’ve never been able to use any of my vouchers obtained for cancelled or delayed services. And it’s even more important with more ticket offices up for closure.’

And William had a corker of an idea for the aviation industry – which gets him our Comment of the Week:

‘Get the Civil Aviation Authority to have a webpage where the consumer can enter their flight details to see if compensation for a delayed flight has already been paid out, to end the practice of airline companies paying out for some claims and not others.’


I am a regular rail commuter on the route between Sheffield and Manchester and am incredibly frustrated each month when I try to claim any void days as a result of poor punctuality about how poorly trained the station staff are. You can ask the same question to three different staff and get three different answers. I have ended up having to go through the details on the Atoc website to get the right information.

It is apparent that the rail companies are making it as difficult as possible for passengers to claim compensation, by not making clear what the rules are and their computer systems not being set up to automatically compensate season ticket passengers for poor punctuality. Atoc list the number of days to be credited each month, but passengers will not get these unless they ask for them

Dangers are posed to cyclists at traffic lights when lorries are turning.
The running lights fitted along the sides of vehicles could be linked to flashing indicators.
This would provide cyclists with warnings and installation costs would be minimal.

That sounds like a very good idea but it still depends on the cyclist taking avoiding action. The problem is the lorry driver’s blind spot which with the biggest vehicles and the highest cabs is very extensive. They just cannot see, even with addditional mirrors, if a bicycle has come alongside them next to the kerb. I read the other day about a British invention that has just been launched – a laser light that projects a fluorescent green image of the bike five metres ahead onto the road. This goes some way to overcoming the blind spot problem for large vehicles and also helps drivers emerging from side roads to see if a cyclist is approaching. [Apparently, over three-quarters of cyclists hit are travelling straight and run into either by a large vehicle turning left or by a car pulling out; more than half the fatal collisions involve a cyclist not being seen by a lorry driver.]

Dangers are posed to cyclists at many very busy points where the cycle lane just disappears where it is needed most.

Woe is me! I have just received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) with a £30 fine for accidentally straying into a bus lane (pay up within 14 days or it increases to £60.) They are springing up more and more in urban cities with CCTV cameras at the ready to snap you and councils are cashing in on the poor motorist. You can expect to come across them in left near side lanes because this is where bus stops are located but they are now taking over right offside lanes which requires motorists to stay in the middle lane in order to make a right turn and buses are obscuring the signs. Motoring Organisations used to protect motorists from traps such as these but modern technological spies have now taken over and you don’t stand a chance even if you only stray over for a minute or two at the most.
I would be interested to know if anyone else has been caught in this way.

Not exactly but unbeknown to us we got in the wrong lane in London on a very busy point and could do nothing but drive for a minute in the congestion zone which as you can guess cost us £30 or more if we did not pay up immediately. Bus lanes are springing up all over the place at the cost of the motorist. I do not mind a bus lane but do object if it means less space for the motorist.

I hope I have switched to the relevant site to continue the debate on bus passes. Although I am eligible to claim for one I never have as I am still able to drive. Referring however to my above comments concerning the £30 Penalty Charge for accidentally straying into a bus lane, I subsequently launched an appeal which was refused. So having read the recent comments from Which? Conversation regarding bus passes I have decided maybe it is time to take advantage of this concession to compensate for the £30 fine for which I consider I was unjustly charged by The Council.

Retribution is not an endearing quality to possess I admit but Local Councils are not interested in mitigating circumstances and will make it as difficult as possible for you to take your case further to Tribunal, and at the end of the day for £30 is it really worth it?