A weekly guide to all that’s rotten about car ownership, plus some good bits
One inevitable consequence of English telling Europeans they’re meddling foreigners looms on our man-made dystopian horizon. UK driving licences are likely to be invalid on the continent from April onwards, so warns Westminster’s fearless Tories.
In a phlegmatic technical note released by the Department for Transport, (DfT) officials say a no-deal Brexit means “Your driving licence may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU.” The DfT also warns: “If you move to another EU country to live, you may not be able to exchange your licence after the UK has left the EU.” Oops!
In some countries this is certain to mean you won’t be able to hire a car at the airport. Worse, you’ll see your British car impounded by the police if you don’t have the requisite licence when stopped. An unknown number of expats don’t bother to get their British bought vehicle MOT’d, or taxed. Not having the correct licence will be sudden death.
If you’re planning a European trip or you live there, purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP). IDPs are currently sold at just 90 Post Office or by two private companies. (I am allergic to online private companies – you have no rights when things go wrong. Stick to a good old Post Office.) The Permits are valid for 12 months and cost £5.50, but expect that to rise as Brit agencies are overwhelmed by applications. From 1 February 2019, the number of Post Offices selling IDPs will increase to 2,500 what’s in a number? – and the two mail order companies will cease to sell them.
And just when you thought it safe to go on the road … complications arise given there are two types of IDP. One is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, while the other is covered by the 1968 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.
Year 1968 IDPs won’t be sold until 1 February, post-dated to start on 28 March 2019. This is because the UK ratified the 1968 convention to start on that date in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.
Ah, yes, our English cousins are about to make anything traffic orientated and European highly complicated, frustration and cries of anger just a simple matter.
No apologies for another Brexit article; there will be lots more as consequences unfold.
GROUSEY’S FOOTWELL FINDS
Rip off airport fees
Just when we thought motorists couldn’t be hit with any more spurious car-related costs, fines, fees, taxes or other financial penalties, some of Britain’s airports are now charging Saudi Arabian fees for those of us who have the temerity to drop off or pick up loved ones outside departure or inside arrival buildings. Whether you’re forced to spend £3 for five minutes at Manchester Airport, or you’re hit with a £1-per-minute charge at Edinburgh, your shirt and first born for longer, you’re being comprehensively and cynically fleeced. Not long ago I misread a long-stay parking sign thinking its said £35 for Friday to Monday. On my Monday return I was charged £35 a day! Lesson: Take a taxi!”
Edinburgh Cycle Hire Scheme
Feet of fire cycling hero Mark Beaumont helped launch Edinburgh’s brand new cycle hire scheme- 200 ‘Just Eat’ bikes. (Corporate domination marches on!) Cycles are available at nineteen locations across the city for everyone to use- well, not everyone, one-legged grannies and dogs are not encouraged to participate. (Dogs don’t have fingers to ring the bell.) Later this year the fleet will increase to 1,000, with further hire points to be added over time. A quick circle cycle on one tells you the saddle will fit most bum cracks. The bikes are comfortable and easy-to-use. Drivers will be pleased more cyclists will be on the road diving in and around them to honk at or harass.
Jaguar on 3-day week
That barometer of the pseudo-British car industry Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has indicted stormy weather ahead. It has put more than 3,000 staff on a three-day week at its Castle Bromwich plant in the West Midlands, only hours after the carmaker was accused of “scaremongering” about the impact of Brexit by Colonel Blimp, the Brexit-Tory MP Bernard Jenkins. JLR said it had made the decision to reduce production because it’s wrestling with papier-mâché heads in the Cabinet Office- sorry, I’ll write that again: because it’s wrestling with the impending folly caused by Brexit and dead-as-a-doornail sales of diesel-powered cars. For staff, Christmas has come too early.