Archive for Incompetence

Another London Transport Mystery Explained

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, The Underground, Tunnels with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by awickerman

Do you have a burning desire to check people’s tickets on public transport? Do you want to spend all day standing on a bus or train and argue with commuters and passengers about whether or not they have a valid ticket? If so become a Revenue Protection Officer! And for god’s sake work for those idiots at Transport for London who’ll pay you more than anyone else would dream of.

If you ask those nice chaps at the Department of Eduction, through the yoff orientated Job4U site, they will tell you a Revenue Protection chap could earn £14,500 as a new entrant, up to maybe £22,500 for a senior role.  The Transport Skills Council agrees and give the helpful advice that about £17,000 is what a trained, post-probation officer should expect, though I suspect they may have added an extra ‘0’ on the starting salary. That or they think the starting salary really is £145,000 which looks a bit steep even by TfL standards.

With that in mind how much do you think TfL pay a new starter? No, it’s more than that, it is in fact £30,150, rising to £34,141 after 1 years probation, plus of course 30 days holiday and a final salary pension. For this you will have to do a 36 hour week, earliest start of 6:30, latest 22:40 and no night shifts (fair enough, who’d want to revenue protect a night bus?) and ping around London on various bus routes. In the unlikely event you can’t imagine what the job involves there is a hand youtube video explaining it.

Neither the work nor the conditions are worse than a revenue inspector anywhere else in the UK would experience, yet they pay more than double what everyone else does. This is just one of the reasons why the ‘Bus’ part of TfL requires a subsidy of £600 million a year,  but don’t expect anything to be done about it. After all if people asked questions about salaries rather than just brutally cutting the network someone might ask questions about why Paul Hendy is on £430,000 despite being an idiot, why so many of his minions have to be paid over £100,000 despite a track record of incompetent failure or why we need a £75,000 Head of Behaviour Change Programme.

I’m sure it doesn’t need saying that Revenue Protection Officers are, of course, covered by that friend of the traveller Bob Crow and his loveable funsters at the RMT. However it’s only in London that he’s managed to gain such hansom remuneration for his members. Explanations vary. You could believe that only in London were management stupid enough to grant such pay rises, you could say that only in London is public transport important enough to allow a union to blackmail people or you instead note that all the payrises occurred under that union favourite Ken Livingstone who probably just hurled money at them as payment for that support. And frankly if you don’t think it was option 3 you should take a long hard look in the mirror, and then look at this marvellous Kabul time-share opportunity I have for you…..

Endearing Spam

Posted in Even Stevie Wonder Saw That Coming, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on January 17, 2011 by awickerman

While clearing out the spam comments I came across this beauty. You can almost taste the desperation and as such I feel I should share it with a (slightly) wider audience;

It’s so hard to get backlinks these days, honestly i need a backlink by comments on your blog / forums or guestbook to make my website appear in search engine. I am getting desperate Now! I know you’ll laugh while reading this comment !!! Here is my website penis enlargement I know my comments do not relate to the topic, but PLEASE HELP ME!! APPROVING MY COMMENT!
Regards: HonestMan2011SPH

While doubtless produced by some form of automated system I prefer to cling to the idea of some poor bugger having to post them all by hand and getting increasingly desperate to sell some dodgy penis pills lest he be forced to go and get a real job, all the while failing to realise that gainful employment would be both more lucrative and less actual work.

The Railways: An Apology

Posted in Engineering, Rantings, Tunnels with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by awickerman

I may have at times implied that the railways were particularly incompetent at arranging things. This I now accept was unfair.
Don’t get me wrong they’re still awful, just not uniquely so. I know this as I’m sat at heathrow airport trying to do an inspection and out of a 3 man team only I’m here. And I’m late. One bloke will be 1hr late at least, the other is trying to.sort the permits that were confirmed last week bit never turned up.
I just want to work for someone competent, is that really so much to ask?

Why Germans Can’t Tunnel #2

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Irregular Features, Rantings, Tunnels, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2010 by awickerman

Today’s example of less than successful German tunnelling comes from the wonderful city of Cologne. In this example the large excavation where one of the stations was supposed to be collapse into itself, taking with it the city’s archive and over 1,000 years of historic documents.

Continue reading

Why Germans Can’t Tunnel #1

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Tunnels with tags , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by awickerman

An occasional series looking at why the Germans are the last people I would ask to build a tunnel. Today’s lesson was prompted by the on-going archiving at work which dug up this fun project from the vaults;


Today’s triumph of German precision and efficiency is the 1994 Munich U-Bahn collapse. Essentially while using the world’s least reliable tunnelling system they managed to bugger up construction of the U2 line tunnel so badly the road above collapsed under the weight of a passing bus. Hilarity failed to ensue when several of the passengers failed to escape in time.

This is bad enough but it’s not like they weren’t warned; there had been a very similar (if non-fatal) collapse while building the U1 line. German tunnelling collapses is the gift that keeps on giving, so this series should run and run.

Damn the Facts I Have an Axe to Grind!

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Rantings, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by awickerman

The World Cancer Research Fund, who I had never heard of until today, has just announced the utterly pointless statistic that breast cancer rates in Britain are four times higher than in East Africa.

Leaving aside the damning fact that the WCRF are Belgian, surely reason enough to ignore them, they appear to have one axe to grind, “Food causes cancer!”, which they repeat at any opportunity regardless of the facts or indeed thinking. Now while I’m sure their efforts are very helpful for the Daily Mail’s ongoing drive to divide all food stuffs into either cancer causing or curing, I really don’t think we should be encouraging them.

In this specific case I would note these facts;

1. The UK breast cancer screening programme is aimed at the over 50s, it is therefore something of an older persons disease.

2. The average female life expectancy in East African countries is;
Somalia – 52 years
Ethiopia – 58 years (incredible I know)
Kenya – 59 years
Tanzania – 54 years
Uganda -54 years

3. In the UK female life expectancy is 82 years.

From this I make the wild and crazy claim that most women in East Africa die of other causes before they have a chance to get breast cancer and that diet has bugger all to do with it, save for the obvious fact that if East African women didn’t starving to death they might live long enough to  get breast cancer.

Or to put it simply, the WRCF are either stupid, wilfully abusing the facts in order to make them fit their agenda or both.

The Death of the Guardian

Posted in Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by awickerman

The inevitable death of the hypocritical and tax-dodging Guardian drew a step closer as the parent group (which was itself set up to avoid death duties) announces another colossal loss.

If nothing else this is richly deserved on ground of hypocrisy. The Guardian has spent years  using every rule in the book to avoid tax while at the same time bashing everyone else for ‘tax dodging’, including getting things so wrong over Tescos they had to issue a grovelling apology and were damned near sued out of existence.

If not paying loads of tax is as ‘morally offensive’  as the paper’s columnists claim then damn well stop using off-shore trusts. Indeed the ‘moral’ thing to do would be to pay the death duties the paper’s owners so successfully avoided all those years ago, sure the penalty interest on the bill is probably quite steep but this is about morality not crass commerce!

Still with such epic haemorrhages of cash, and this is before the ConDems put all public sector jobs online for free instead of exclusively into the Guardian, I doubt they could afford they have the cash to afford their high moral tone. Which makes their coming bankruptcy all the sweeter.

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