I don't like London Lite

It takes me about ten minutes to read London Lite - less time than it takes me to reach the end of the Aldwych - on the bus in the evening, not to mention the fact that it's a rubbish read from the publishers of the Daily Mail.

Page seven, in a DoughtyStreet-style piece of attack dressed up as journalism, talks about rising taxi fares in London. They will go up 3.2% from April 14. The CPI measure of inflation was 3.0% in December and 2.7% in January.

The two people that London Lite uses to comment are Brian Cooke of London TravelWatch and Bob Oddy, general secretary of the LTDA:
Brian Cooke, chairman of passenger watchdog London TravelWatch, said it was right that cab drivers received an annual cost of living increase that was based on a wide range of measures.

"We are quite happy and content with this, although we do begin to wonder whether a fresh look needs to be taken at the higher rates charged mid-evening and late evening," he said.

"With London becoming a 24-hour city, we need to ask whether these quite large premiums are still appropriate.They're not cheap and there has to be this balance. Clearly it's in Londoners' interests to use public transport as much as possible."

Bob Oddy, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: "The reason the increase is very reasonable is because of diesel fuel. Although it was riding high back in the summer, it's been dipping pretty much ever since. It's an important component of the fares."

Mr Oddy said concern about rising fares was "hype". "The average passenger doesn't complain. Why are cabs all full if they're too expensive to use?" he asked.

Neither London TravelWatch or the LTDA can be called huge fans of Ken; moreover, the print version cuts out most of the comments of both. Ken became Mayor in 2000 - seven years ago - and has raised taxi prices eight times. Taxis are a luxury and rising fares at night are to encourage taxi drivers to come out - you know, capitalism or something.

Then, on the interactive bit Page 8, Kevin of London comes out with a classic letter:
Much gang culture is attributable to the absence of a stable father figure and proper family unit. And now, what does the Government do? Gay adoptions? It may sound controversial but perhaps this is a further step backwards. Kevin has cleverly identified a problem - the lack a father figure and the lack of a proper family unit.
His solution, though, is rubbish. If the problem is the lack of a father figure, gay adoption will provide, er, two father figures. A proper family? Do you mean a heterosexual family? I will accept, for the purposes of argument alone, that a heterosexual family may be better than a homosexual family. Does Kevin think that homosexuality is so bad that it is preferable to be brought up by a single parent? Is a proper family one that's exactly like his?


thelondonpaper is slightly better than London Lite, but I'm going back to reading a book on the way home from work. These are not newspapers - page three is about Kate Moss getting into a small car - but gossip rags with sidelines in scaremongering - see the insightful article on bird flu on pages 12 and 13 - and dressing up bias as news. I'm looking forward to Iain Dale's column.

Update 2138: I'm going to call the PCO in the morning and ask for the fares tables since Ken came to office and do a little comparison with inflation.

xD.

 

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