Podcast: The permanent way

Should have just taken this in retrospect. Image: Getty.

This week, we're not mucking about: we're going full-transport nerd.

First up I tell Stephanie about my abortive adventures inter-railing in the long hot summer of 1999, an almost entirely appalling experience about which I briefly considered writing a very short memoir under the title Belgian Boy Scouts and Psychosomatic Diarrhoea.

The inspiration for this was the news that a German MEP has proposed free interrailing passes for every EU citizen on their 18th birthday. (Jack May wrote that up for us here.) So we share our experiences of scary nuns and Soviet buses on Europe's transport network, and discuss whether better transport links really could create a European identity. (The travel time maps I refer to at one point can be found here.)

Next up, the Guardian technology writer and New Statesman escapee Alex Hern pops by to talk us through the hyperloop: why it is a real thing, why it will nonetheless almost never happen, and why it typifies everything wrong with the entire Silicon Valley culture.

And to wrap up, Stephanie and I talk about trolleybuses, suspended monorails, outdoor escalators and whatever other weird transport systems come to mind. (If you enjoy that you may enjoy this piece about how city transport networks cope with whopping great hills.)

We also, briefly, get sucked into existential terror by the arrival of president Trump.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Skylines is supported by 100 Resilient Cities. Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100RC is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

You can find out more at its website.


 

 
 
 
 

Podcast: Uber & out

Uber no more. Image: Getty.

Oh, capitalism. You had a good run. But then Transport for London decided to ask Uber to take some responsibility for the safety of its passengers, and thus did what 75 years of Soviet Communism failed to do and overthrew the entire economic system of the Western world. Thanks, Sadiq, thanks a lot.

In the unlikely event you've missed the news, the story so far: TfL has ruled that Uber is not a fit and proper company to operate cabs, and revoked its licence. Uber has three weeks to appeal before its cabs need to get off the road.

To commemorate this sad day, I've dragged Stephen Bush back into the podcasting basement, so we can don black arm bands and debate what all this means – for London, for Uber, for the future (if it has one) of capitalism.

May god have mercy on our souls.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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