Those Cuts Affecting The Public Sector Front Lines….

…well, fear not. Some vital services are actually being created:

Teams of “eco-marshals” are to patrol London telling taxi drivers to switch off their engines when stationary to cut pollution.


Oh, and don’t worry if you’re not a cab-driver. They are planning on targeting you too, if this works…

The crackdown is the start of a series of similar campaigns aimed at other professional drivers, as well as private motorists.

I can just imagine the reception they’ll get…

As Richard points out, these ‘for the public good!’ initiatives never end at the initially-targeted group:

“And, of course, there is the ‘slippery slope’ argument. It’s ABS on bikes today. What tomorrow?”

What indeed..?

This being a ‘greenwash’ initiative, everyone and his dog is jumping on the bandwagon:

It will be backed by new Department for Transport-approved signs urging drivers to switch off engines when they are not needed. Councils will also adopt the campaign.


TfL said: “We want to work with drivers not against them, which is why some of the eco-marshals are former cabbies themselves and know the challenges faced. Turning off the engine when possible also cuts fuel consumption and so saves drivers money.”

If that’s really the case, with the ever-rising price of petrol, this’d be a self-correcting problem, wouldn’t it?

So why isn’t it? Any cabbies reading ‘Orphans’ like to shed some light on it?

14 comments for “Those Cuts Affecting The Public Sector Front Lines….

  1. john in cheshire
    September 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    And what does Mr Johnson have to say about this?
    We are really living in a time of madness, aren’t we?

    • September 26, 2011 at 5:35 am

      He’s probably in favour, given he’s gone Olympics mad.

  2. David A. Evans
    September 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Diesels work better and more efficiently when left running, that’s one reason.

    • September 26, 2011 at 5:36 am

      I didn’t know that. And I drive one!

    • Lord T
      September 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      with caveats obviously.

      It probably makes little difference in a practical sense to most of us who drive to work and back and that is about it and leaving an engine running all day is clearly not very economical and efficient.

      It would be taxis, buses, etc. would benefit and …. Oh! that is the very people they are targeting, what a shocker. 🙄

      • microdave
        September 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

        “With caveats obviously.” As per my, and other comments below, there is far more to this than meets the eye. This initiative is all about saving fuel and reducing CO2. However the hidden costs are never mentioned in exercises like this. The extra wear and tear of all the other components will not become apparent for maybe a year or two, and the costs of these versus a minuscule fuel saving is not factored in.

        I suggest that for stationary periods of no more than a couple of minutes, it’s better to leave it running. It is also good for overall engine life to get it up to full running temperature as quickly as possible, and keep it there. “Thermal Shock” is well known amongst engine designers, and turbochargers in particular (standard on all new diesels), can be easily damaged by frequent stop/starting.

  3. September 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I’ve heard this ‘leave it running’ argument many times, but presumably it doesn’t apply completely. We switch off our engines when we park up for the night, don’t we? There is a cut-off point where it becomes worthwhile to switch off, and memory says it is about one minute – but that could be way out of date. Even so, a cabby leaving his engine running for an hour (as some do round here) while waiting in the rank is creating noise and fumes for everyone else, and gaining nothing. It was a reasonable strategy in the days of starting handles, but today a car will restart instantly on the button.

    I’m behind the spirit of this move, but not (of course) behind the interfering nannyish method of persuasion. If I were a cabby, it would make me want to rev the nuts off the engine just to annoy the ‘eco-mashals’.

    Eco-marshals, Jesus. How Orwellian.

    Thanks for the link, by the way.

  4. September 26, 2011 at 5:37 am

    “Even so, a cabby leaving his engine running for an hour (as some do round here) while waiting in the rank…”

    For an hour? That MUST be costing him money, surely, over and above everything else?

    • Robert Edwards
      September 26, 2011 at 8:35 am

      Not necessarily; consider the cost of an annual replacement starter motor, not to mention a knackered starter ring on the engine. And much else. Switching on/off several hundred times a day will bugger something…

    • September 26, 2011 at 9:38 am

      Does that help the cabbie keep warm?

      • microdave
        September 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

        In winter, yes unless these “Eco zealots” expect every driver to install Webasto or Eberspacher independent heaters. And by the same token, in summertime Aircon is now more or less essential, as modern vehicles have huge steeply raked windscreens (in the name of fuel economy), which act as very powerful heaters in sunlight…

        Further to Robert Edwards observations – this will also affect the life of the battery. Car/truck batteries are NOT designed to be heavily discharged, and won’t take kindly to powering all the electronics on a modern vehicle, as well as the now obligatory headlights/day notice lights whilst the engine is switched off. You cannot quickly fully recharge a lead/acid battery after repeated partial discharges either – it needs a long time to get the last bit of energy back. No amount of smart alternator controllers will get round this, and I can foresee lots of calls to the AA/RAC after several weeks of stop/start use during winter…

  5. Matt
    September 26, 2011 at 10:52 am

    What if you just politely told these eco-wankers to fuck off?

    • Thornavis.
      September 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      It’s OK as long as you preface it, “with all due respect”.

  6. John
    September 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Oh I can see the conflict now.

    ACTIVIST : “Hello sir I’m here to advise you to switch your engine off while you wait there”

    MOTORIST : “Fuck off”

Comments are closed.