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Is the current infrastructure really any worse than the 70s 80s?


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24 minutes ago, Midnight said:

Unless you are already here it's going to be like Russian Roulette with 5 bullets and one empty chamber. 

I know I am already here, we normally go to Sheffield a couple of times a year and the other direction 4 or 5 times a year for holidays or long weekends away. Its enough for me. This year it's blacking time in Castleford so I will have a month or 2 away this year 

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2 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

On both the Llangollen and the T&M there are stoppages waiting to happen as paddles are left unrepaired for years. Whether this is worse than it was thirty years ago I can't really remember. I can certainly remember getting a spanner out to repair lock mechanisms, but then I still do.

What will finish a lot of busy locks off is getting rid of lock keepers. I still think expecting Grindley Brook to survive without anyone in charge at the height of the season is insanity.

You can't really plan any trip, any category,  with confidence. Traffic jams, flight cancellations, bust locks - it only takes one small defect to muck up the whole event chain. The only one you can definitely be sure of is a five mile walk, and then you'll probably twist your ankle climbing a rotten stile.

Boating's no worse than anything else.

 

Back in the 90's we got stuck in a queue at Grindley Brook for several hours because there was no lock keeper on duty and the boats coming down from Llangollen just kept entering the top lock as soon as it became vacant.

 

Eventually Mrs Hound went to see what the cause of the delay was, took charge and imposed a "3 up, 3 down" system.

 

The problem is for many hire boaters, Grindley Brook is their first staircase, so it gets treated like any normal lock flight and becomes one way only.

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6 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

Boating's no worse than anything else.

And there's a heck of a lot that's worse than boating, eh! I still have to pinch myself sometimes to check I'm not dreaming..

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7 hours ago, Midnight said:

 Of course parts of the system are better now than in the 70's but it has certainly been in steep decline over the past few years. I remember a breach on the Macclesfield in 90's. We hired from Claymore and was given the stoppage notice by Derek Simpson as we set off. By the time we reached Marple it was fixed. 

 

Here in Yorkshire it's a joke. four escape routes none of which is anything like reliable. The Leeds & Liverpool often closed by breaches, locks and swing bridges! The Huddersfield regularly closed, the Rochdale unreliable (we had no other option but to return that way last year - 4 stoppages in 5 days).  Then there's the Trent if you can reach it. Thorne Lock currently closed until end of May. And if you think that's bad ask the boaters at Ripon what they think about C&RT's "Stewardship Score".

 

How can anyone plan a trip with confidence?

As a spin-off from a non canal related project, I am now collecting stoppage information at 21:00 on a daily basis via a variety of devices (PC, phone, tablet, Raspberry Pi etc)

Here are the number of stoppages each day since the start of CRT's new company year.

Maybe, if I am living and still motivated in two or three years, there will be some meaningful year on year comparisons etc.



Stoppages1-18April.png.489ec46bd765b84e220924dbf3dd17bd.png

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3 hours ago, Allan(nb Albert) said:

As a spin-off from a non canal related project, I am now collecting stoppage information at 21:00 on a daily basis via a variety of devices (PC, phone, tablet, Raspberry Pi etc)

Here are the number of stoppages each day since the start of CRT's new company year.

Maybe, if I am living and still motivated in two or three years, there will be some meaningful year on year comparisons etc.



Stoppages1-18April.png.489ec46bd765b84e220924dbf3dd17bd.png

Thank you Alan I'm sure it will be useful to record the decline. I'm not too sure C&RT will worry about it but maybe in a few years some higher authority may realise a change is needed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reading this thread is like reading posts on Narrowboat world.  You were pretty active on there as well Midnight.   

 

We all want cheaper costs, quicker routes and less delays.  Journeys much, much easier. More and more boats, more and more people.  The government want to fund less and take less ownership; add that all up and you get some decline, its inevitable. 

 

The other things i note is that very often locks, bridges etc are damaged through misuse and/or vandalism; which is difficult to plan for and when it does happen drags funding away from other areas. 

 

Maybe we all need to pay more to enjoy what we do.  Costs are rising the world over, not sure how or why the canal would escape that.

 

I will admit that Local waterways during the late 90's/early 2000's seemed to achieve better results, and you certainly saw the 'same' lengths men - you never see that now.  I think there was more ownership of an area than there is today, at least as i see it - I used to know some LM on 1st name terms - not now, and not for the last 10 years probably.  It was easier to raise issues then, and track them to be fair.  Not now. Reports disappear into a national call centre. 

Edited by Creaking Gate
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10 minutes ago, Creaking Gate said:

Maybe we all need to pay more to enjoy what we do.  Costs are rising the world over, not sure how or why the canal would escape that.

 

 

Totally agree. My own personal view is £5k a year would be a reasonable license cost for the typical narrowboat. Double that for a widebeam.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

Totally agree. My own personal view is £5k a year would be a reasonable license cost for the typical narrowboat. Double that for a widebeam.

 

 

 

I can't agree, I'm on a fixed income and my budget can't cope with such staggering increases, I'd have to sell up or move into a marina and claim benefits, in which case I'd rather sell up and claim benefits on land.

The govt pension is about £150 per week includes a three percent annual rise, when inflation is eight percent.

I could propose that folks who liveaboard pay as today, and everyone else pays £5K!

Plus an extra fifty percent for each additional boat !

 

Edited by LadyG
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13 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I can't agree, I'm on a fixed income and my budget can't cope with such staggering increases, I'd have to sell up or move into a marina and claim benefits, in which case I'd rather sell up and claim benefits on land.

The govt pension is about £150 per week includes a three percent annual rise, when inflation is eight percent.

I could propose that folks who liveaboard pay as today, and everyone else pays £5K!

Plus an extra fifty percent for each additional boat !

 

 

Which is why any rise in the average fee needs to be accompanied by much steeper graduation of fees according to [fill in anything you want -- boat length/width, age, location, value, disposable income, CCing or home moored...] so that the well-off on big expensive boats in prime locations pay more, and the poorer in smaller cheaper boats in the middle of nowhere pay less.

 

My guess is the cost range would have to be at least 10:1, maybe from £1000/year up to £10000 a year, perhaps with £3000/year average -- which funnily enough fits with both @MtB and @LadyG posts above... 😉

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17 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I can't agree, I'm on a fixed income and my budget can't cope with such staggering increases, I'd have to sell up or move into a marina and claim benefits, in which case I'd rather sell up and claim benefits on land.

The govt pension is about £150 per week includes a three percent annual rise, when inflation is eight percent.

I could propose that folks who liveaboard pay as today, and everyone else pays £5K!

Plus an extra fifty percent for each additional boat !

 

While I agree that increasing the licence fees to an amount which will help the continuation of the canals will put a big burden/be beyond many boaters but at the end of the day, what is more important? Stopping the canals falling into disrepair where canal boating will be a thing of the past or ensuring that those of limited means will be able to continue boating? I sincerely hope that we will all be able to continue boating on canals which are being properly maintained but the money has to come from somewhere. 

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25 minutes ago, haggis said:

While I agree that increasing the licence fees to an amount which will help the continuation of the canals will put a big burden/be beyond many boaters but at the end of the day, what is more important? Stopping the canals falling into disrepair where canal boating will be a thing of the past or ensuring that those of limited means will be able to continue boating? I sincerely hope that we will all be able to continue boating on canals which are being properly maintained but the money has to come from somewhere. 

It has to come from the government, it's part of the country's infrastructure, its historic etc etc. The government are paying at the moment, they can keep on paying.

It's for wellness , not for boaters.. Therefore it's for taxpayers to pay and government to distribute.

I used to pay tax at a higher rate than today's rate, and things went much more smoothly, there were no widespread mental health issues such as are encountered nowadays. 

Edited by LadyG
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1 hour ago, LadyG said:

I can't agree, I'm on a fixed income and my budget can't cope with such staggering increases, I'd have to sell up or move into a marina and claim benefits, in which case I'd rather sell up and claim benefits on land.

The govt pension is about £150 per week includes a three percent annual rise, when inflation is eight percent.

I could propose that folks who liveaboard pay as today, and everyone else pays £5K!

Plus an extra fifty percent for each additional boat !

 

The cost of providing a service is not the same as what customers can afford. (I think I should be able to have a Rolls Royce car and 'they' should be forced to sell it as the price I can afford) 

 

Of course, there is an important relationship between price and market size and if the price reduces the market size then the overall effect may - or may not - be to reduce the total income. It remains to be demonstrated what the relationship is between the number of licences and the cost of a licence. Depending on boaters situations and views - and that covers a wide variety of circumstances - a price rise might or might not change the number of licences. As it stands I think that CaRT have limited freedom to set the level of licence fees but one result of any future review of funding might be to change that - canals only for those who can afford to pay the 'true' cost? I think that there are plenty of (non-boaters) who might take that view. Hence the push on well being etc to awaken non-boaters to the benefits they get from well-maintained canals.

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9 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

The cost of providing a service is not the same as what customers can afford. (I think I should be able to have a Rolls Royce car and 'they' should be forced to sell it as the price I can afford) 

 

Of course, there is an important relationship between price and market size and if the price reduces the market size then the overall effect may - or may not - be to reduce the total income. It remains to be demonstrated what the relationship is between the number of licences and the cost of a licence. Depending on boaters situations and views - and that covers a wide variety of circumstances - a price rise might or might not change the number of licences. As it stands I think that CaRT have limited freedom to set the level of licence fees but one result of any future review of funding might be to change that - canals only for those who can afford to pay the 'true' cost? I think that there are plenty of (non-boaters) who might take that view. Hence the push on well being etc to awaken non-boaters to the benefits they get from well-maintained canals.

Which is why the fee would have to be (and should be?) much more graduated than it is today...

Edited by IanD
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2 hours ago, MtB said:

Totally agree. My own personal view is £5k a year would be a reasonable license cost for the typical narrowboat. Double that for a widebeam

In an ideal world, I would agree. But I would not be happy paying out another £4k a year to the current CRT organisation just to see them install further stupid signage, smooth towpaths for cyclists, inflated management salaries etc. If there was a guarantee that increased license revenue would actually go towards the infrastructure, fair enough. But I have no confidence whatsoever that is what would happen.

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2 hours ago, IanD said:

 

Which is why any rise in the average fee needs to be accompanied by much steeper graduation of fees according to [fill in anything you want -- boat length/width, age, location, value, disposable income, CCing or home moored...] so that the well-off on big expensive boats in prime locations pay more, and the poorer in smaller cheaper boats in the middle of nowhere pay less.

 

My guess is the cost range would have to be at least 10:1, maybe from £1000/year up to £10000 a year, perhaps with £3000/year average -- which funnily enough fits with both @MtB and @LadyG posts above... 😉

Folks not on benefit will not benefit from any type of gadget.

In theory I could sell this boat and buy smaller one, to cut licence fee by maybe £150  per annum, not practical.

 

 

Edited by LadyG
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25 minutes ago, Big Bob W said:

In an ideal world, I would agree. But I would not be happy paying out another £4k a year to the current CRT organisation just to see them install further stupid signage, smooth towpaths for cyclists, inflated management salaries etc. If there was a guarantee that increased license revenue would actually go towards the infrastructure, fair enough. But I have no confidence whatsoever that is what would happen.

You mean in an ideal world where only 30000 boaters and the canal infrastructure to keep them happy was all that mattered, and the government was willing to cough up a load of money just for their benefit?

 

That would indeed be a nice world to be a boater in, but it's not the real world 😞

 

CART have to try and entice non-boaters -- lots of them -- to use the canals -- meaning, the towpath -- to keep the government money tap open, as Richard Parry made very clear in his "Address to Boaters".

 

Instead of just complaining, how do you suggest this could all be fixed? 😉

4 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Folks not on benefit will not benefit from any type of gadget.

In theory I coulds Isell this boat and buy smaller one, to cut licence fee by maybe £150  per annum, not practical.

 

Huh? Gadget? Don't understand... 😞

 

I'm saying that as somebody on a cheap old small narrowboat outside the honeypots, you'd pay the same or maybe even less than today -- how does that not help you?

 

[And people like me would pay a lot more, but that seems fair to me]

Edited by IanD
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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

As it stands I think that CaRT have limited freedom to set the level of licence fees but one result of any future review of funding might be to change that

 

No, they are able to charge 'anything' for the licence fee, it is written into the 1983 ACT (see below), and it can be split into as many sub-catogories as they wish. The only legal constraint in the whole licencing system is that a 'Rivers Only Registration' (note the term licence is incorrect) is that it must be 60% of the equivalent canal licence.

 

C&RT could increase the fees 2 fold, 5 fold or even 10 fold 'at a whim' if they so desired.

 

We have had many threads discussing this and Nigel Moore (RIP)  agreed with me.

 

 

New Charging Bands For Boat Licence

Nigel Moore 6/1/18

 

The 1971 Act has already been ‘changed’ twice: first in 1974 and then in 1983. The charging schedules of the 1971 Act, which specified charges for categories according to length, were eventually abolished, so that charges for a PBC are now merely pegged at 60% of whatever fees [according to whatever category] CaRT choose to charge for a PBL for the same vessel.

I have argued back and forwards on this in my own mind, but currently conclude that CaRT can legally do whatever they wish in respect of licence categories and charges, subject only to that percentage discount for PBC’s. The only [purely implicit] further restriction on the creation of yet more categories would be the restriction on charging more for such categories than for the ‘standard’ licence. Easily subverted, as Alan has suggested, by making the ‘standard’ licence category sufficiently costly, with discounts tailored to suit the managerial aspirations.

 

British Waterways Act 1983

.....Notwithstanding anything in the Act of 1971 or the Act
of 1974 or in any other enactment relating to the Board or their
inland waterways,
the Board may register pleasure boats and
houseboats under the Act of 1971 for such periods and on payment
of such charges as they may from time to time determine:

Provided that the charge payable for the registration of a
pleasure boat shall not at any time exceed 60 per centum of the
amount which would be payable to the Board for the licensing of
such vessel on any inland waterway other than a river waterway
referred to in Schedule 1 to the Act of 1971 as that Schedule has
effect in accordance with any order made by the Secretary of
State under section 4 of that Act.

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1 hour ago, Mike Todd said:

The cost of providing a service is not the same as what customers can afford. (I think I should be able to have a Rolls Royce car and 'they' should be forced to sell it as the price I can afford) 

 

Of course, there is an important relationship between price and market size and if the price reduces the market size then the overall effect may - or may not - be to reduce the total income. It remains to be demonstrated what the relationship is between the number of licences and the cost of a licence. Depending on boaters situations and views - and that covers a wide variety of circumstances - a price rise might or might not change the number myof licences. As it stands I think that CaRT have limited freedom to set the level of licence fees but one result of any future review of funding might be to change that - canals only for those who can afford to pay the 'true' cost? I think that there are plenty of (non-boaters) who might take that view. Hence the push on well being etc to awaken non-boaters to the benefits they get from well-maintained canals.

Let's charge all these folks who walk on the towpaths the economic cost, that would put things in perspective. London weighting for walkers, plus per dog plus per cycle., Double charge for electric bikes and scooters.

Divide the total cost by the number of users, we boaters will happily pay a tenner a year. Why would any user object to buying an annual pass? Better still a £1 per usage, that would Even out cash flow and increase gross income.

 

It's time to start thinking outside the BW box.

Edited by LadyG
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3 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Let's charge all these folks who walk on the towpaths the economic cost, that would put things in perspective

 

 

As I have proven each time you suggest this, it is illegal for C&RT to charge for, or restrict access to, the towpaths.

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10 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

As I have proven each time you suggest this, it is illegal for C&RT to charge for, or restrict access to, the towpaths.

Well I agree Alan as they own the towpath as it all belongs to the country, CRT just manages it for us 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

16 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Let's charge all these folks who walk on the towpaths the economic cost, that would put things in perspective. London weighting for walkers, plus per dog plus per cycle., Double charge for electric bikes and scooters.

Divide the total cost by the number of users, we boaters will happily pay a tenner a year. Why would any user object to buying an annual pass? Better still a £1 per usage, that would Even out cash flow and increase gross income.

 

It's time to start thinking outside the BW box.

Jo the system is owned by the country which is us 

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18 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Let's charge all these folks who walk on the towpaths the economic cost, that would put things in perspective. London weighting for walkers, plus per dog plus per cycle., Double charge for electric bikes and scooters.

The government (i.e we taxpayers) pays for non boat owners, cyclists, dogs, scooterists and the like to use the towpath. That is the basis of the government grant to CRT. Replace that with a towpath toll, and the cost of collection and enforcement would be enormous, and many would just choose to walk elsewhere. Would the canals get more money that way? I very much doubt it!

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2 hours ago, LadyG said:

It has to come from the government, it's part of the country's infrastructure, its historic etc etc. The government are paying at the moment, they can keep on paying.

 

 

 

Translation:

 

"I enjoy my current lifestyle which I can only afford due to subsidy by the general taxpayer. So I think the everyone else should carry on funding my lifestyle."

 

Entirely understandable point of view, but as the French say, "When you're draining a swamp, don't consult the frogs".

 

 

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6 minutes ago, David Mack said:

The government (i.e we taxpayers) pays for non boat owners, cyclists, dogs, scooterists and the like to use the towpath. That is the basis of the government grant to CRT. Replace that with a towpath toll, and the cost of collection and enforcement would be enormous, and many would just choose to walk elsewhere. Would the canals get more money that way? I very much doubt it!

Not to mention the complete impracticality of it for access, charging and enforcement...

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2 hours ago, LadyG said:

I used to pay tax at a higher rate than today's rate, and things went much more smoothly, there were no widespread mental health issues such as are encountered nowadays. 

Not many houses cost more than £100,000 either.

 

I'm not sure there were any less mental health issues; we, as a nation, were probably just less aware.

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3 hours ago, LadyG said:

I can't agree, I'm on a fixed income and my budget can't cope with such staggering increases, I'd have to sell up or move into a marina and claim benefits, in which case I'd rather sell up and claim benefits on land.

The govt pension is about £150 per week includes a three percent annual rise, when inflation is eight percent.

I could propose that folks who liveaboard pay as today, and everyone else pays £5K!

Plus an extra fifty percent for each additional boat !

 

I think you could be better off on land now.

 

Boating is a leisure pursuit, not housing, and will get more expensive

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