London is moving and grooving these days as it beautifies and updates anything it can in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics this summer. The Games are just around the corner (I just got my tickets in the mail yesterday—wooHOO!!), and if you’re sorting out all your plans in time to relocate here for it, you’re in for some treats.
Granted, in this time leading up to the grand events, living in London hasn’t been the easiest on a day-to-day basis. Refurbishment of roads and tube stations has delayed commutes, and perpetual scaffolding and construction has made for some eye sores. But with the Royal Wedding and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee preceding the Olympics, there was certainly incentive for the city to get the show on the road with many of these improvements, so we’ve already reaped some benefits. The latest of which is…
London Moving – WiFi FYI
If your London moving time frame happens to be this summer, free WiFi will be available in 80 London Underground stations by the Games, courtesy of Virgin Media. And as of this week, it’s already installed in six of them! Specifically, the service is available on tube platforms and station corridors and ticket halls—not on the trains themselves. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t simply refresh email and news sites at each stop. And granted, the way commuters scurry in and out of these stations, it’s arguable that few will take the time to check the internet in transit, but there’s always that wait-time on the platform when I constantly see everyone tuned into their mobile devices—now those texts and emails can actually go somewhere from a station below ground, and, during the Olympics specifically, fans can stay updated on the progress of sporting events.
For as old as this city is and as traditional its culture, this is just another sign of London moving in a progressive direction.
London Moving – Get it While it’s Hotspot
You’ll have to register when first accessing the tube station WiFi, but you’re good to go after that. Enjoy free unlimited internet access all summer, but bear in mind that all good things do come to an end. At least the free good stuff. That’s right, this-too-to-be-true free WiFi is for a limited time only—once the Games are over, free access will be restricted to, of course, the Virgin Media portal as well as Transport for London‘s travel news to help keep the people of London moving efficiently through its system. I can only assume, though, there will still be opportunity to expand your access at a reasonable rate. One restriction that will remain, though, is a porn-block to keep passengers respectable.
London Moving – Other Transport Tech
So as you shape up your London moving plans, you have this convenience to look forward to after your UK relocation. Arguably just as cool, though (actually, I’m personally more pysched about this one), is how even the bus stops have gotten higher tech. Sort of. Look at the post of the bus stop sign for a little plaque that provides two 5-digit numbers: One that you send a text to (87287) and another stop-specific number that you type into the body of the text message. Hit ‘send’ and within seconds you’ll receive the expected arrival times of each bus that stops there. It’s accurate thanks to GPS technology on the buses and is an awesome, awesome way to gauge whether to take the bus or alternative transport and estimate your own travel time.
As an expat who’s also made the UK relocation, the actual moving process can certainly be a cumbersome affair. Have peace of mind, though, that your Relocation agent will help a great deal with that aspect (as well as your settling in), and the city of London’s technological progress will hopefully smooth out each of your days thereafter.