“Loo”ney Brits

by vpundir | June 18th, 2007

London has arguably the best public transportation system in the world in terms of reach, network and schedules. “The tube” as Londoners lovingly call the London Underground, is just so convenient, especially in conjunction with the feeder buses, that one wonders why one would ever want to own a car in this city.

There is much to be desired, though, in terms of technology, infrastructure, accessability, etc., which is understandable considering that much of the underground railway system is a century or so old.

What shocks one, though, is the conspicuous absence of “rubbish bins” from the station platforms, and in fact entire train stations. Can you really blame the teens that leave empty beer cans on the stairs, tourists that stealthily throw away their empty bags of potato chips on the platforms or the commuters that leave behind scores of tabloids and evening papers in the train compartments?

Also, there are apparently no public restrooms (“loos”) at the tube-stations, except at Picadilly Circus. If I were a town-planner, I would consider this unacceptable for a city that boasts of more tourists/visitors every year than Paris, Las Vegas and New York put together.

While it doesn’t look like the Mayor of London can be bothered about such trifles as loos and rubbish bins, there certainly seem to be major works underway with regards to the modernization of the infrastructure.

Found among the numerous informative posters about the repairs/ maintenance/ upgrade of the London Underground, at least one station’s poster reads, “We will also be installing tactile flooring on platforms and coloured handrails to help visually impaired people when using this station”. Now, I am no expert on accessability, so will someone please explain how colored handrails will help people with visual impairments?

The last nugget for the day: In central London, there’s a place called, I kid you not, “St. John’s Wood”! That’s right. Not St. John’s woods (which would have meant forest), but wood. I know they perhaps mean a walking stick or something, but it is pretty funny nonetheless.

And for all the cricket enthusiasts among you, this is the area where the mecca of cricket, the Lords stadium, is located.

Ah, the joys of being in London!

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