Why VPNs are essential regardless what others say

I tweeted during a ride on the Manchester Metrolink tram but things didn’t seem to come across as I was hoping.

My main point is the image from the mainstream media is VPNs is for pirates and the darkweb. But in actual fact its part of modern day web usage.

I was trying to tweet something but needed to look for a slide presentation which I thought I had on slideshare.net. When looking at slideshare on the metrolink wifi I got a Cisco page about content filtering.

I thought this was just because some of my slides might trigger something but nope its the whole of slideshare.net.

I was pretty annoyed about the whole thing and fired up my home VPN.

Done…

Only took my journey from MediaCityUK to St Peters Square to do all this, hence the confused tweeting. Plus I couldn’t work out where the new Google assistant saves the screenshots.

Didn’t find what I thought I had on my slideshare but I did find it elsewhere, I’ll go into details in my next blog post.

 

The East Manchester line opens

Metrolink ticket

At long long last… The East Manchester line is opening to the public! But there is a preview from Friday – Sunday for residents who were disrupted by the whole thing…

The new 3.9-mile (6.3km) Metrolink line from Manchester Piccadilly to Droylsden will open to the general public on Monday 11 February – and residents will shortly be sent their free travel invitation.

Once open, it will serve eight new stops – New Islington, Holt Town, Etihad Campus, Velopark, Clayton Hall, Edge Lane, Cemetery Road and Droylsden.

Only 1 year and 6 months behind schedule! (it was meant to be open for last seasons football, aka Aug 2011!)

My yearly pass will run out soon, and I really want to know two things…

  1. Is the New Islington stop I overlook, quicker than going to Piccadilly Station?
    Currently if I’m walking fast, I can walk from islington wharf to Piccadilly station metrolink platform in just over 6mins. If I’m on my skateboard, its even quicker (specially now the barriers are down along the way). They are meant to be building a bridge across the canal, for residents of new islington but even if you cross the canal, the other side has some heavy barriers blocking your way. I’m sure someone will put a hole in the fence at some point.
  2. Which zone is the New Islington stop going to be in?
    Annoyingly Metrolink are still doing the line thing for now, which means if I want to add new islington to my ticket, its going to be another ton of money. Now would be a good time to stop ripping us off and use zones like TFL

So if someone from Metrolink would like to get back to me on some of these questions, comments should now work?

 

Is Metrolink ripping us off?

Metrolink in Manchester map

I went to the Sharp Project today for BBC Connected Studio which was great. But I noticed something with my travel there.

I have a year travel card which allows me to go between Piccadilly Station and Media City. However my pass actually says From City – To Eccles. I assume this allows me to go anywhere between Piccadilly or Victoria and Eccles. Sounds great but today I wanted to go to Central Park on the Oldham line (Rochdale on the one above, which includes lines which are yet to be finished)

As it was outside the city zone, I decided to pay for the extra 2 stops. 2.20 pounds worth of travel. I’m sure it was the same price as buying a ticket from anywhere in the city zone including Piccadilly. In fact it would make no difference that I had a year travel card (in theory)

Ok forget the cost, what I don’t understand is why there is no zones like Transport for London? Frankly Central Park is closer to central Manchester than Media City and Eccles.

The other day I went down to Cholton and totally forgot that my year pass only covers me between Media City and the City Zone. If Metrolink had caught me, who knows what it would have cost me in a fine. But to be honest I would have argued against it because frankly its a stupid system without zoning.

My thoughts is because Metrolink choose not to add zones, they are earning money from those who have spent money opting for a week, month or year pass and do happen to go other places.

Tell me I’m wrong…?

Thanks to Chris who left a comment on my Facebook with a link to this news article from the MEN.

Metrolink set to move to new ‘zone’ ticket prices

Greater Manchester’s tram system could be split into London Underground-style zones within two years. The plan is for the new system to come into force when ‘smart’ fare-payment cards – similar to the capital’s Oyster cards – are introduced in 2014.

Tram stops would be allocated to a zone depending on how far they are from central Manchester. Fares would vary accordingly – with journeys crossing more zones costing more. The proposals were due to be discussed by transport leaders tomorrow.

A view of the zones

I knew I was right…!