First working day in London and priority was to get myself across town to Canary Wharf to the KPMG offices.
Bottom Line: London transportation system could eat TTC’s lunch, breakfast and dinner. Rob Ford could take some lessons from London’s mayor Boris Johnson
The experience: Began on Sunday night as I googled maps of London’s UTube. Found my way to a neat application called Journey Planner. You input the start address and the destination address and out pops various routes. Details walking , buses, tube lines, transfer points, escalators, anticipated time for each portion of the trip and an easy link to google maps at each stage of the journey..talk about comprehensive support. From about 6 route options, choose one and next morning armed with my preferred choice started out bright and early
Well, the route looked simple, but in busy Monday morning rush hour traffic, a little more complicated than expected and I lost my way. Not finding the route 70 bus, I hoped on a route 27 bus and asked the bus driver how to get to Canary Wharf. ( by the way my destination is not exactly close) Very pleasant and courteous he suggested I stay on his bus and he would tell me when I could get off to catch the Jubliee line. Had a lovely turn about Nottinghill for awhile then hopped on my tube…talk about client service excellence!!!!
Next discovery, the fee system… No silly line ups at subway booths, no tokens..no the Londoners have Oyster smart cards. Get a card, charge it up and away you go. Scan it going in and out and it automatically determines zones traveled and deducts the correct amount. Of course you can load it up with credit at the tube station, or on line or set a minimum amount and it automatically deducts a set amount of funds from your bank account.
Got to wondering why they were called Oyster cards. So checked out Wikipedia. Turns out Saatchi and Saatchi after much research conceived and promoted OYSTER because of “ 1) the metaphorical implications of security and value (hard outer shell and concealed pearl), 2) the association of London and the River Thames with oysters, and 3) the well known travel related idiom ‘the world is your oyster’” Not even sure Ford could articulate metaphorical ..so more points for very smart cards, with very smart brand names!!!
Got to KPMG offices and found more useful smart cards. My employee pass gets loaded with about 3 pounds a day which I can use in the firm’s cafeteria..Yup a cafeteria ( full sandwich deli, salad bar, pasta bar and hot meal bar and $ for personal use.. it’s a daily use it or loose it option and its true, 3 Pounds may only buy you a soup or a latte but still given the prices of things in London, every Pound is welcome and I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. And of course just like the Oyster card you can simply add credit to your employee card to pay for the rest of your lunch. So far I have yet to find a place to use my coins and pound notes.
So now this blog has gotten me to thinking where does the saying “ don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” come from. Consulted Wikipedia, turns out if someone gives you a horse it would be perceived as ungrateful to inspect the horses teeth.. who knew!!
Thanks to all who checked out the blog and commented!!!