Two weeks ago it took me two hours and eighteen minutes to get myself to my aunt‘s home three and a half miles away. I had made an appointment to take the old lady shopping today and planned to leave at 10 a.m. TfL’s website said the queue for Blackwall extended back to Eltham for no reason other than there being too much traffic. By mid-day the news was better so I drove westwards but before I crossed the borough boundary I found myself in a 25 minute queue, the main cause of which was the first set of traffic lights into Greenwich letting only two vehicles through at a time. Not for the first time I imagined myself sticking pins into the effigies of a grossly overpaid leech and a grossly overfed dictator.
What have they achieved? If you were pro-crossings you will be unhappy with them for a bridge not opening in 2014 and now having to wait until 2025.
If you were anti-bridge you won’t be happy that the likelihood is we will now get two. Has there ever been a better example of two time losers? Are Bexley’s leaders bonkers or absolutely bonkers?
One of my jobs in East Ham was to pay the old lady’s council tax. Newham is a couple of years further down the cyber-path than Bexley and everything has to be done on line now. Extra rubbish collections, visitor parking permit requests, the lot. Newham‘s phone number does not appear on their website and if you use the old number it routes to an announcement that you must use the web. It effectively puts 10% on the council tax because I have had to put in a broadband connection for a 95 year old which is fairly obviously never used except when I visit.
Today when I made the payment I expected to put in a bank sort code and account number and the council tax reference. What else would be needed? But no, not only the payer’s full name and address which they must know, but it was mandatory to enter the bank name as well - plus its full address and postcode. But my aunt has an online only account which I operate for her.
I made up an address and pressed the button. The site took her money and with luck that will be the end of it. But who designs these things? No one with any sense that is for sure. And Bexley plans to follow in Newham’s footsteps. Not absolutely of course, Newham has just frozen its council tax for the seventh year running and extra rubbish collections are free and so are residents’ and visitors’ parking permits. Their other parking charges are rather horrendous though.