Austria – Low Emissions Zone

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As of recent events, we would like to point out once again that Vienna and parts of Lower Austria have established low emission zones. All vehicles of the vehicle class N (trucks and other utility vehicles exceeding 3.5 tons) need an environmental sticker for these areas.

All coaches (vehicle class M), cars and utility vehicles below 3.5 tons are excluded and do not need a sticker.

On 01 January 2016 this regulation will be tightened additionally. All vehicles with the emission standard EURO 2 or worse are banned from entering the environmental zones.

We advise you to get an environmental sticker for your vehicle if needed, as there may be fines of up to 2,200 €.

You can order the Umwelt-Pickerl for Austria easily and quickly at www.umwelt-pickerl.at and get them delivered by postal mailing to your address.

Of course we also provide the German Umweltplakette at www.umwelt-plakette.de as well as the Danish Ecosticker at www.ecosticker.dk online

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Poor Communications Services

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We seem to be having on going issues regarding our Broadband and our Telephone lines, are there any other businesses struggling with these issues, particularly within West Lothian?

My own company experiences are mainly regarding Broadband failures normally  at least a couple times a day, however most times it will restart within 5 minutes, but their has been times the broadband has been down all day. We also have issues regarding poor telephone call quality, often very crackly lines. We do seem to have a very poor service, although we work within West Lothian (not a rural area), yet I feel very isolated when communications fail through no fault of my own. British Telecom have been trying to fix the issue for many months, however I think the main issue, is because West Lothian still has very old Telephone Lines, which are unable to cope with the increased broadband demands. I also feel their is a lack of competition within the local area of companies that own the telephone cables, unlike cities, where BT may also be competing with Cable companies, however we don’t have that luxury in West Lothian.

My own company is within a few hundred metres of a super fast broadband service, yet we are unable to connect, and have been told it may be several years before we will be connected. However, to be a competitive business with the outside world it’s important as a business to have first class communications, perhaps we businesses should be putting more pressure onto the communication providers, because there is no point having a business within West Lothian, when it lacks basic business requirements, even although West Lothian is a very central location to work from.

I’m very interested to hear other company views, and how they got around the situation. Myself,  I have to use Skype a lot to make clear calls, of course you can only use Skype when you have internet.

I have written to my local MSP, who is also campaigning for better broadband coverage, on behalf of local businesses. I’m also part of a cross-party parliament tourism forum, and one of the highlighted issues from tourism businesses is the lack of broadband, which puts Scottish businesses far behind our competitors, when our own customers expect to  deal with us, using the latest technology. I was also surprised how widespread throughout the country the problem of communication is, not just within West Lothian.

I’m also very disappointed by mobile phone coverage within the area, which was of a very high quality, and over recent months, my own telephone signal average 1 or 2 bars, just enough to send a text. What is going on with communications within our area?

Please comment, I’m very interested to hear your experiences.

David

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Airports

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Is it just me who finds travel expenses have quickly become out of control over the past year, and airports aren’t a joy anymore?

Over the past year I have found my airport parking charges have increased over  30%, I never thought I would see the day, when airport parking was more expensive than the flight itself. Surely we travellers, shouldn’t be expected to pay any more than city centre car parking prices, especially when their are no alternative public transport routes, and strangely enough taxi fares often are within a few pounds of car parking costs, you ever noticed that? I have been very proud finding competitive flight fares, avoiding airports with higher airport tax, not realising that the flight cost wasn’t the most expensive travel cost, but the car parking is crippling my travel budgets, and now find myself travelling to other airports just to cut travel costs down.

Of course, we could pay for our parking online months in advance, but how many of us, can plan that far ahead? How many of us travel at anti-social times of the day(often not by choice), when using public transport isn’t an option? How many of us waste considerable business or even private time trying to book flights, then book car parking, book taxi, book priority lane, book you accommodation, or is it just me who finds this more of a challenge these days? Yes, I waste a lot of labour time arranging my visits, and often my own personal time, never mind how frustrated I feel, not quite achieving the goals I first hoped to achieve, and often exceeding budgets and expectations.

Is it just me, who gets a little annoyed, when arriving at the airport to board a flight, because tackling the airport isn’t as simple anymore?  I know, we need extra security these days, but wouldn’t it be a little better, perhaps if we had x-ray baskets that were actually big enough to fit our carryon items, wouldn’t it be nice not having to show everybody in the airport our personal items in full view  spread over three baskets? Is it just me that thinks this might cut queues in security if we could fit everything into one basket? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be top athletes and be able to juggle our baskets over to the hand baggage reloading tables, avoiding the confused and frustrated passengers standing unsure what to do, or where to go, whilst trying to reload our cabin baggage and quickly fasten my trouser belt before I reveal the latest trendy undies I’m wearing, whilst placing my baskets on to the table, that can’t fit three baskets, that are clearly too high for the average person without injury, or overstretching? I used to pride myself to travel lightly, ensuring my cabin bag was just the right size, and I managed to cut a weeks clothes down to the minimum,  all my washing gear neatly fitted into one of these official plastic bags, which seem to get smaller each time I travel, but often the airport security will find another issue, that I may have overlooked, or didn’t think would be an issue.

Every time I  get on the plane, and crew members make that announcement sit back and enjoy the flight, I feel myself exhausted, after what often feels  an intimidated experience, and I still have customs and queues to look forward too, when I land again. Have you ever noticed how many passengers just fall a sleep the minute they board? We travellers are exhausted from all that airport drama, but flying time is sleep time, ready to face the next lot of challenges.

 

Happy Travelling!

 

David