Looking outside from my window here at Barts I can see it's a rainy day in London town. This puts extra pressure on London's creaking transport system as people who would normally walk dive into the tube, get on a bus or try to hail a cab. I'm lucky living in Camberwell, as every bus south of the river seems to go through the place. I don't run a car, so good transport links are essential to my life. Even as an outpatient I visited hospital on four different occasions the other week. That's a lot of time sat on buses going through the roadworks at elephant and castle.
As a treat I get a cab home from each stay in hospital. I usually hail one out on the street as St Paul's is always busy with black cabs hoping for a nice tourist fare to Harrods. Getting a cab home costs about 18 quid for a 5 mile ride. It saves me trying to get on a bus when I'm pretty week and it gets me door to door.
Now there is a new player in town vying for my taxi money, Uber. This firm has caused one hell of astink with established cabbies, who only last week pressured TfL into taking Uber to the high court in a dispute saying it's App was essentially a taxi meter, which only black cabs can have. Uber works via GPS and its drivers take a route plotted via Google maps and a fare is then calculated from the route via Uber servers. Now I've never used an Uber car, but lots of friends have and they really rate the service. A lot of the cars are new Prius as Uber has a leasing deal with Toyota. On the flip side I've also got friends who are cabbies who are worried that Uber is flooding the market with drivers, so putting black cabs out of business.
I can see both sides of the argument, but generally I'm in favour of anything that cuts down private car use in London. The population has grown by 1.2 million in just the last ten years and capacity on the road network certainly hasn't grown. Hence the building of the beast that is Crossrail and the cycle superhighway projects. Taking space away from private car use and giving it to cyclists is a very good idea. Many cities are now having car free days which ban vehicles coming in the centre of the city. Busy roads are transformed into spaces to walk and play in. Also air quality is improved and shops see a spike in business as more people enjoy the event.
As population grows at a faster pace than infrastructure can handle, the so called 'sharing economy' is going to be more important. That's why schemes like bike hire are spreading to more cities around the world. I hope some compromise can be found between the cabbies and Uber as they are both needed if the city is to keep on running.
Home News: Everything is going OK here in chemo towers. My ACS tumour marker count is down to 6! Which is very good news as we started with a count of about 125 back in August. The drugs do work to flip the Richard Ashcroft lyric.
Currently I'm... Reading all about Back to the future Day (The internet, everywhere).. Listening to Vitriola a music podcast by Robin Ince and Michael Legge, this week John Peel...watching QI on iPlayer, Stephen Fry's last series.