There was a bit of snow in London today. It was hardly a shock, it was sleeting/slushy all afternoon and as soon as the sun went down (on the shortest day) it instantly started sticking in large quantities. Then the slush already on the surface froze and at 16:35 I was on the phone to the missus telling her to leave work early if she could (she couldn’t, and had a tricky drive home as a result, including giving a lift to a cyclist colleague who didn’t fancy the conditions).
In other words, it’s not that much of a surprise to find that the road network in parts of London has gone phut again due to a bit of snow – the real question is why despite it being so much less of the white stuff this time it still seems to have taken TfL by surprise – the first online update about conditions arrived a few minutes ago, hours after rush hour began, coinciding with the worst of the freeze. True, some buses are running, but in some areas, like the bloggers’ capital of the south east, correspondents report buses already stuck a couple of hours ago while much of south London from Brixton to Croydon appears to be royally stuffed. Round here the police briefly closed the road overbridge by the station due to ice and there are reports of a motorcyclist coming off the bike, fortunately without serious injury, but the snow’s rather less severe here than further east and south.
So, what’s the Chairman of TfL doing about it? Unfortunately he seems to be AWOL, possibly even on holiday, since there’s not been a lot of tweeting today. His last tweet an hour or so ago doesn’t suggest a man sitting alert at TfL’s secret volcano lair surrounded by eager minions ready to keep London moving:
It’s perhaps not surprising that London’s commuting Twitterers have not reacted particularly warmly to this – ‘pathetic’, ‘pratt’, ‘shut up’, being representative of some of the more polite efforts. Neither, it seems, have the bus drivers:
@yushbombn: ‘Snow. Causing bus driver to have a rant about boris j over the pa system.’
Teamwork, guys, teamwork. This kind of backsliding will only lead to the Mayor getting another strop on. Get out and push, what?
About 22:45 Boris tweeted thus:
Cycled home. Big snow, bad traffic but gritting well underway and will continue all night. Thanks to all for your patience
So he’s not on holiday. The unusually sober tone suggests a man expecting a PR avalanche in the morning…
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