TOPS NEWS November 2011

New York City authorities said they will shut down a city bus service run by Orthodox Jews if the group doesn't stop making women sit at the back of the bus. The B110 bus runs through sections of the borough of Brooklyn which are heavily populated by Orthodox Jews.

BMW has taken a stake in ParkatmyHouse UK, a website matching people willing to rent out their driveways to motorists willing to pay to park.

A 4x4 vehicle has been abandoned near the top of Mount Snowdon for the second time in a month, this time with a 'For Sale' sign on it    

A prisoner escort company (GEOAmey) sent a prison van 90 miles from Southampton to Banbury to take Oliver Thomas from a police station to the magistrates’ court next door (50 yards) so that his human rights were not infringed.  Thomas walked home after the hearing.  The company is paid £90 million a year to take defendants between custody and courts.   

Indian car manufacturer Tata has unveiled a gold and jewel-encrusted Tata Nano car in Mumbai.  The Tata Nano, is marketed as the world's cheapest car at c £1,300. The gold version is worth £2.9m – built by 30 craftsmen using 80 kgs of 22 carat gold, 15 kgs of silver and assorted gemstones.   

A motorist was caught driving while using a laptop, writing down the answers to a quiz on the radio and drinking coffee all at the same time.   He was seen during a crackdown by Hampshire police.   The force hired an unmarked HGV cab to get a good viewpoint and to video offenders.

Thousands of bottles of beer caused traffic chaos when they slid off the side of a truck in Münich, Germany, blocking the city centre for hours. 

Dutch drivers caught driving a car while massively over the legal alcohol limit will be forced to fit their cars with "alcolocks" which can automatically lock the engine.   The driver must first breathe into ‘it’ to start the engine. If the dashboard mini-breathalyser indicates a blood alcohol level above the legal limit the engine will not start.

Manchester council is spending £7,000 p.w. providing spaces in NCP car parks for 200 of its staff.  However on-street parking charges have been increased.

An AA survey has found that men are the worst backseat drivers.

Bungling thieves who stole £12,000 worth of York stone slabs from a driveway in Tadworth were forced to abandon their haul on the M25 and flee after their transit van collapsed under the weight. 

The Bremen Town Musicians, a three-piece Russian band, has taken its act on the road by performing on a motorbike. One member steers the vehicle, another plays guitar while the third bashes out rhythms on the drums.

The Government’s Plug-in grant of 25% off a sub-75g/km emissions car has only attracted orders for 680 cars – the scheme is open until March 2012 – only £3.4m of the allocated £43m has been spent so far. 

The DfT thinks owners of electric vehicles should recharge them at home or work and that a public infrastructure would be underutilized and uneconomic.

The road repair budget will be cut from £400 m to £80 m next year and more work will be done during the day to save overtime costs - and of course delay motorists!

In 1991 there were 21,000 petrol stations in Britain.  By 2011 this had reduced to 9,000 despite cars doubling to 31 million over the same period.

Milan banned all traffic from its streets for a day in October to try and reduce smog.

Typical family cars have become more than a foot wider and almost double the weight over the past 50 years as manufacturers struggle with the world’s obesity crisis.  In plans dubbed  “plump my ride”  BMW has recruited 800 volunteers, ranging from the slim to the obese, for a study to gauge how obesity affects mobility while driving.  BMW claim their sales have risen 8.3% in the year to October.

Lollipop traffic signals have been fitted with video cameras outside a primary school in North Somerset.  The ordinary looking £1500 ‘lollicam’ is on trial.  

Aviva insurance has found that 66% of householders use their garages for tools and gardening ‘stuff’ and they leave their cars outside.

Residents in Beulah Hill, S. London, have complained that their road has been dug-up and resurfaced 12 times in 2 years.

Road markings outside a fire station in West Sussex have had to be repainted after workmen misspelt a Keep Clear sign with the words "Keep Klear".  (again!)

Vandals caused massive damage to more than 20 ‘expensive’ cars in Haydon’s Road, Wimbledon by scratching messages on the bonnets.

Zhang Lianjun, of China has made a bicycle with the front wheel more than 5 ft high "just for fun". "Although the tyres vary greatly in size, it's actually very safe and comfortable to ride," claimed Zhang.

Motorists may soon not be able to use 5p and 10p coins in parking machines as the Treasury plans to increase the thickness of coins by 11%.  The new coins will use steel instead of copper, saving £176 million.

Jaguar Land Rover is to increase its workforce by 25% and hopes to launch 40 new products over the next 5 years.  They immediately received 10,000 applications.


A man parked outside Majestic Wine in Cheltenham but went to a different shop leaving his wife and children in the car which was clamped.  Freedom cost him £90.


Local councils raise £1.35 billion per year from parking services.  English local authorities raised an extra £184 million from parking charges 2008-2010 v 2007.

The average price for a second-hand car (£8,870) is 2.4% lower than last year.


To celebrate 20 years of the Maranelo brand in China, Ferrari will open 20 new stores there, each selling only one of the limited-edition timepieces from Hublot - 'Classic Fusion Ferrari Tourbillon Chronographs'.  

The government is due to phase out zebra crossings.

 Abridged version of TOPS NEWS sent to members edited by Trisha Pilkington