Thursday, April 03, 2008

Europe - the next bubble

Whatever is keeping the Euro in the stratosphere compared to the dollar, it isn't the productivity of the European worker:
EU forces bus company to dump passengers every half hour

Passengers are having to change bus partway through their journeys to comply with an EU directive.

The legislation stops drivers clocking up more than 31 miles behind the wheel without a rest.

If a journey is any longer, the driver must pull over and wait for a replacement.

To comply with the directive, some operators are dividing routes into two or even three sections.

Drivers are allowed to undertake journeys of more than 31 miles - provided they get two straight days off.

Thirty one friggin miles!!! Are they serious? On my last job I commuted 33 miles each way to work. I must ask my European friends to chime in here. Is a thirty mile drive really considered a long haul? That's considered a bunny hop in America.

Last May during my cross country car trip I made it from Minneapolis to Cleveland in one day, a distance of 770 miles, interrupted only by gas and food stops and an unplanned mechanical breakdown in Wisconsin. But my longest endurance effort was a trip from Minneapolis to Phoenix, a 1725 mile drive that I completed in 32 hours, stopping at a hotel in Tucumcari, New Mexico for five hours.

These are the fruits of central planning.


Blogger Ali said...

If it's in the Daily Mail, there's probably more to the story that they're not reporting.

April 03, 2008 1:25 AM  
Blogger Mark Frank said...

Ali is absolutely right. See

then scroll down to the post from "The Guv".

EU legislation stipulated tachographs be fitted in buses used on services over 31 miles, something they did a while ago and allowed bus companies time to equip vehicles. Presumably Western Greyhound haven't equipped theirs, hence have to split the route into three.

We operate one of over 45 miles with tacho equipped vehicles, so the service can operate without the debacle of splitting the route.

Unfortunately, it indicates the usual journalists lack of knowledge of transport matters - just add a little creative journalism and a sensational headline to fill in the gaps for lack of knowledge

Back in the real world, most companies have fitted tachos to their buses for longer routes, hence it's hardly a common scenario as the article would imply

Actually, the BBC are as bad - their version:

seem to have forgotten their earlier article which explains why:

In general whenever you see a story from the Daily Mail check the facts.

April 03, 2008 4:57 AM  
Blogger lonbud said...

But Mark, facts are often such inconvenient things. Plus, they get in the way of moving the anti-EU conversation forward...

April 03, 2008 2:00 PM  
Blogger monix said...

I'm glad to see someone has beaten me to it! The Daily Mail is not only wrong, as usual, but six months out of date. Our rural buses were fitted with tachographs before the ruling came into effect in January.

April 04, 2008 2:04 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I am amused. Most commercial vehicles in this free republic have these gizmos, not because of central planners but because the capitalists don't trust the workers.

April 04, 2008 1:09 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Harry, why should employers trust workers who've made it clear that their loyalty is to the Teamsters union, not to them.

April 04, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Most commercial vehicles in this free republic have these gizmos, not because of central planners but because the capitalists don't trust the workers.

No, it is because the government does not trust the capitalists to allow their drivers to observe time-at-the-wheel and rest limitations.

April 04, 2008 6:12 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Well, it seems we have a controversy.

My father managed the world's largest cement terminal. I used to to hitch rides to and from college with the drivers.

I could tell you stories.

April 04, 2008 6:34 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

The 31 mile limit for requiring tachographs still seems ridiculously restrictive. I highly doubt that fatigue would become a factor on such a short route, and it forces unnecessary costs on hard-pressed bus line operators, as the BBC article described.

What about a 300 mile limit? That would make more sense. I'm all for regulations that improve public safety, but this law seems ridiculously restrictive.

April 05, 2008 3:57 PM  
Blogger Mark Frank said...

What about a 300 mile limit? That would make more sense.

I am not a transport expert but I think there is a big difference between typical European and US buses journeys. Many bus routes in the UK involve slow journeys, often in heavy urban traffic, with frequent stops to allow passengers to get on and an off. Our local bus to Winchester takes 40 minutes to cover less than 10 miles. At that rate 300 miles would correspond to over 24 hours continuous driving!

April 05, 2008 10:50 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


Well, it seems we have a controversy.

Perhaps not.

I was thinking of long haul trucking, where the enforcement of rest requirements is driven by the government not trusting capitalists.

In your dad's case, the problem was ensuring some of the cargo did not get "diverted" en route to its destination.

Different kettles of fish.

April 07, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

In central Bristol it would take you about a week to cover a distance of 31 miles in a bus.

Our cities weren't centrally planned...

April 08, 2008 4:14 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Brit!!! Welcome back, mate!

April 08, 2008 5:49 AM  

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