I remember December 31, 1999, looking at the washing machine and wondering was it going to explode once the clock struck 12 and we entered a new century.
They called it Y2K, which covered everything from planes falling out of the sky to pacemaker collapse. Prince even sung about the doomsday scenario in his song 1999, which was released in 1982, a full 18-year’s before implosion.
You could say we had a long run-in to the end, only the end never came, planes remained in the air; the world and its microchips, like our washing machine, kept turning.
I’ve been continually reminded of Y2K as London approaches the Olympics. This time the world isn’t going to implode, just Transport for London.
It’s TFL now, not Y2K.
Come July 28 when the torch lights the flame in Stratford, you won’t get near an Oyster top-up machine, never mind the Waterloo and City Line.
I don’t know where all the trains and tubes are going to go because it seems that none of them will be running. All I know is the thousands of staff at TFL must be planning one hell of a beano. Maybe they’re going to decamp for a rave in Cheddar Gorge while the rest of us run in and out of work, or choose one of the other alternative travel arrangements being promoted by the Mayor’s Office.
It’s time to dispel this myth because if getting around London is going to be an impossibility come the Olympics then what has the last two years of engineering works been about, if not making the best of a service that will strain, but not break, come the Olympics?
So too am I wondering how many tickets have been issued for the events because I’ve tried to make a number of purchases and have only been successful once. Funny that, you’d forget there’s a limit on ticket availability, all these millions of people coming for the games; the guys who are going to implode the transport network, must have been granted a simpler buying options and extra tickets, but where will they sit?
Truth is London is a world tourist destination and the home to major sporting events, every weekend of every year, since the beginning of time. Here’s another truth: the London transport network will always be in need of repair and it’s going to break down somewhere, during the Olympics, just like it does at all other times of the year.
I’m not paying any attention to media reports of underground gridlock. I’m not going to pay heed to any signs which direct me to this station or that one instead of ones that will suffer most during Olympic Events. Even if I do, I’ll take the opportunity to walk a while or, try this for innovation, I might just buy a bike a cycle to work.
But I’m guessing I will have to do neither because the wheels on the trains, just like our old washing machine, will continue to spin.