Harlesden bus crash: moment Londoners rush to help trapped passengers

Harlesden bus crash

Londoners put on a heartwarming display of “community spirit” after a bus crashed into a shop in Harlesden yesterday.

Four children were among 17 people treated by paramedics at the scene in the centre of Harlesden, north-west London, at 2pm.

Three people, including the driver of the “packed” No 18 service, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The 11-ton bus knocked down traffic lights and careered off the road, leaving the shopkeeper diving for cover when the crowded bus slammed into his shopfront.


Shopkeeper Abdel Chentouf, 49, from Edgware, was with a customer and two friends inside his jewellery shop Waves when the bus came crashing through the glass.

He told the Standard: “I saw the guy was driving towards the shop without any attempt to use the brakes. It was the building that stopped the bus.

“We moved out the way. Luckily it wasn’t speeding. People were screaming on the bus. It happened so quickly.

“Part of the ceiling collapsed and it’s cracked on the stairway. It was shocking. It’s the same as when people have a road accident – you feel demoralised and really down.

“They are saying the building’s not safe. The driver was shocked and sweating.”

The four men were trapped in the shop and had to be freed by fire fighters with ladders through a back window.

Video footage of the aftermath captured the walking wounded being helped away from the scene by the emergency services.

One man was seen limping away with his arms around two firefighters while a woman was taken away in a wheelchair. A police officer also walks past holding the hands of two small children.

Shane Lawrence, 42, a university student from Harlesden, said: “I heard a really loud sound like the pavement was being torn up. I had my back to it but I heard the road being ripped up.

harlesden bus crash
The shopkeeper had to dive for cover after the crash yesterday (Nigel Howard)

“The sound was deafening as he was coming to crash.

“As I turned around the bus went into the shop. I was stunned. There were lots of people who walked around to the bus and everyone was helping people off the bus.

“People went up to the top deck to help the older people off. The bus was absolutely packed. I saw somebody pull a little boy from the bottom deck.

“You could see someone inside the shop trying to push their way out but they couldn’t because the bus was blocking everything.

Emergency crews removed the bus from the shopfront yesterday (Nigel Howard)

“He couldn’t get out. Anyone who was walking past that at the time, in front of the shop or window shopping, would have been hit.

“I just helped anyone trying to step off the bus. Nobody hesitated everyone just ran over to help.

“It was packed I’d say there were 35 to 40 people on there. Most of them looked shaken and shocked.

“But everyone got them off the bus really quickly there was a lot of help there. There is definitely a community spirit here. It just shows people do care about one another.”

A man who lives in a flat above the shop said: “The bus should have turned but instead it crashed into the shop.

“It just came flying in. The engineers have to come and look and need to support it. They are relocating me for the night. He didn’t use any brakes or anything it went straight into the shop. I felt the bang.

Smash: the bus careered into a shop front (@DjShortyBless)

“When I came downstairs the driver was there, shaken.”

The air ambulance landed nearby and dozens of police officers, firefighters and paramedics attended the scene while the road was cordoned off between Acton Lane and Manor Park Road for several hours.

London Fire Brigade station manager Sam Kazmanli said the building was “severely damaged” and another 45 people were evacuated from neighbouring properties.

Harlesden bus crash
Smash: the bus crashed into the front of a shop (Hetty Los)

Kevin Brown, of London Ambulance Service, said: “We sent multiple resources to the scene including a single responder in a car and a number of ambulance crews.

“We also sent our incident response and hazardous area response teams, alongside London’s Air Ambulance. We treated 17 patients at the scene.

“We took three patients as a priority to hospital.  A further nine adults and four children with minor injuries were also taken to hospital and one was treated and discharged at the scene.”

Tony Akers, Transport for London’s head of bus operations, said: “There will be a full investigation into the incident.”

No arrests have been made.


Source: Evening Standard

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Minicab Gatwick Airport

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Minicab Kensal Green

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Tube strike: Industrial action suspended

Tube strike: Industrial action suspended, but February strikes ‘remain on’

Rail union RMT backed out of the walkout just over 24-hours before the strike was set to begin.

Tuesday’s Tube strike is off

Rail union RMT have confirmed that they will no longer be taking part in the planned 24-hour walkout this week.

The Tube strike was initially planned to take place on Tuesday (January 26) from 6.30pm.

RMT confirmed just over 24 hours before the Tube strike was set to take place that they have suspended industrial action after a debate with London Underground bosses on Monday (January 25).

Despite the strike cancellation however, the union are still in dispute with LU bosses on pay conditions, the Night Tube and stations staffing.

Rail union ASLEF told getwestlondon last week however, that they believe “the Night Tube will happen.”

General Secretary for RMT, Mick Cash said: “RMT’s executive has agreed to suspend tomorrow’s action over pay and night tube to allow for further consideration and consultation on the current offer.

“The union makes it clear that we remain in dispute and the strike action scheduled for February remains on.”

Two strikes are still in place in one week in February, with a 24-hour strike starting from 6.30pm on Monday (February 15) and another starting on Wednesday (February 17).

Mick Cash continued: “RMT also remains in dispute over station staffing and the week of action on that issue, scheduled to begin from the seventh of February, also remains on and the union is finalising the details for the continuation of that industrial campaign and the on-going fight over the threat to jobs, services and safety.”

Steve Griffiths, LU’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Following constructive talks at ACAS, all four trade unions have suspended their strike action due to take place this week.

“Our very fair offer reiterates our previous guarantees on protecting the work life balance of our staff and a four-year pay deal which remains within our business plan.

“Meanwhile we continue to progress plans for the implementation of the Night Tube, including the recruitment of 700 new staff to operate this exciting new service.”

Source: Getwestlondon

Pothole puts all UK cars at risk

Pothole peril puts UK cars at risk
A pothole in a road in Tooting, SW London

BREAKDOWN callouts to motorists whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes have risen by almost a quarter in a year, the RAC said.

There were more than 25,000 incidents last year involving damaged suspensions, wheels and shock absorbers, figures released by the motoring organisation to coincide with the second National Pothole Day show.

Drivers in East Anglia made the most calls for help (4,547), but the largest rise in callouts over the past year was in the south east of England where the increase was 62%, to 2,686.

The north east of England saw callouts rise by almost a third to 3,783, while incidents in Scotland increased by more than a quarter to 2,537.

The biggest headache for drivers was damaged suspension springs, with 42% more incidents reported last year compared with 2014.The RAC described the rise in callouts as worrying.

Chief engineer David Bizley said: “Potholes can wreak havoc with vehicles and are therefore understandably hated by motorists.

“It is very worrying that our patrols have dealt with more pothole-related breakdowns in 2015 than they did the year before because we did not experience a particularly cold winter in either year.”

Recently announced investment should help improve the condition of Britain’s roads but there is still a way to go, Mr Bizley said.

Some local authorities have invested more in road maintenance to address the backlog but problems experienced, even in mild weather, suggest the fight against potholes is being lost, he added.

“We shall only win the battle once sufficient preventative road surface maintenance is undertaken to prevent potholes appearing when the first bad weather arrives.

“On top of the £6 billion already promised, the Chancellor made available further funds in the Autumn Statement and whilst this is still not enough to meet the shortfall, it may hopefully mean we will see a decline in ‘pothole generated breakdowns’ this time next year.”

Drivers are being encouraged to report potholes using the RAC Report Pothole app.

Source: Yahoo News

Secret Mobile Phone ‘Listening Devices’ Are Found All Over London

Hi-tech mobile phone ‘listening devices’ have been found all over London – capable of ‘reading’ text messages, emails and listening to calls.

The devices – IMSI catchers, known as ‘stingrays’, are often used by police – but are available on the black market.

An investigation by VICE news used detectors and found the devices in use near Britain’s Parliament – and near the Ecuadorian embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is living.

The suitcase-sized devices, called Stingrays, fool mobile phones into thinking they are ‘real’ mobile masts – and revealing their location.

An investigation by Sky News last year found up to 20 ‘Stingray’ devices active in London, using specialised detector hardware from German company GMSK Cryptophone.

Apple criticises UK surveillance proposals

BUSINESS DAILY : Apple has criticised proposals for new surveillance rules in the UK, claiming they could ‘paralyse’ the technology sector. Also today, we look at the latest oil price, and hopes for a ‘Santa rally’ on the markets.

Experts said that these signals were ‘strong evidence’ that the fake masts were in use in London.

‘With IMSI catchers, it’s very difficult for them to be used in a targeted manner,’ Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, told Sky News.

‘In an urban space, thousands of people’s mobile phones would be swept up in that dragnet. What they do with that data, we don’t know.

‘We know police have been using them for years, but this is the first time that it’s been shown that they’re being deployed in the UK.’

Source: Yahoo News

Why cheap oil isn’t all good news

Why cheap oil isn't all good news

Despite petrol prices being tipped to fall to 86p a litre if the oil rout continues this isn’t all good news for the average person.

Oil prices have fallen by a third since the start of December and well over 70% since the summer of 2014 and now hover at around $30 a barrel.

In spite of the recent price crash, some well-respected investment banks think prices could fall even lower, potentially as far as $10 a barrel, which, according to the RAC, would result in petrol prices of just 86p per litre, a saving of 45p per litre on the prices seen in June 2014.

On a typical 50-litre refill this translates to a £22.50 saving every time you refill. Equating to an annual saving of £579 a year assuming a typical driver covers 10,000 miles annually in a car that averages 35 mpg.

This sounds like good news. At the pumps there’s no denying we’ll be making a significant saving. This is just one reason why inflation has been so lacklustre of late.

So, where’s the downside? Well, the price of oil is arguably the most important financial metric out there. It’s a barometer for the overall health of the global economy.

So what’s driving the collapse in the global oil price? In a word, China.

The world’s second largest economy is seeing a significant downturn. Once revered as the global engine for growth, the Chinese economy has stalled.

The other factor which affects us is pension investments. According to Sky’s business presenter Ian King, Shell accounts for £1 in every £6 received in dividends by UK pension funds.

The fortunes of oil companies matter to just about every man, woman and child in the country.

Shell shares are 36% lower in the last 12 months while BP shares are down nearly 15%.

The other thing to bear in mind is the effect on the environment.

Lower fuel prices not only make gas-guzzling cars more attractive to consumers but also encourage drivers to use their cars more often.

Across the pond there is already evidence of this trend with US vehicle sales hitting a new record in 2015 surpassing the previous record set in 2000.

Low petrol prices in the US caused demand for fuel efficient cars to stall, with Nissan’s Leaf electric car seeing sales plummet 43%. Toyota’s Prius sales fell 11%.

Meanwhile, back in the UK British Airways has shelved plan for a £340m project to produce aviation fuel from household waste.

So although we’re winning at the pumps our pensions and carbon footprint look far from rosy.

Source: Yahoo Finance


Oyster card glitch allows Londoners to travel for free across the capital


oyster card glitch , londoner travel free, tfl
Technical glitch: Oyster card
Londoners were today treated to free travel across the capital as Oyster card readers suffered a technical fault.
Barriers were left open at stations around London and buses remained free to use for about three hours due to the problems this morning. 

A Transport for London spokeswoman said the problem was fixed by about 10am.

She said: “This morning’s technical issue with our Oyster Card readers has been resolved. Customers should now touch in and out as normal. Anyone charged a maximum fare due to this issue will get an automatic refund credited to their Oyster card early next week. We apologise for this disruption.”

Contactless bank cards could still be used to pay for journeys.

Londoners took to Twitter to express their delight at having the chance to travel for free on the same day fares increased by an average of one per cent. 

I’m Barry Whyte tweeted: “Free travel in London! The Oyster network is down. If you show an Oyster card you can just walk on/off transport.(Contactless still working)”.
Another user added: “Oyster card readers aren’t working for 16+ so free travel it is.”

And a different user posted: “Free journey on TFL because the Oyster card readers don’t work. Absolutely fantastic. That needs to happen more often”.

Source: Standard