"neither will Londoners get mobile-phone coverage on the underground"
With two and a half years to go, the Olympic Committee has started locking down the technology for the 2012 games, with Oyster-enabled tickets the first to go as the £500m budget gets allocated. Technology For The Olympic Games (pdf) explains that the London games, July-September 2012, will use more than one hundred thousand …
Mobile reception on the Underground would be horrible and I'm very glad they're not implementing it. There are some places where one shouldn't have to listen to the inane and voluminous witterings of a shit-for-brains local, and the warm, cosy interior of a London Tube carriage is one of them. Data would be nice, but only if you could block VoIP.
I'm pretty sure taking photos of the games and sharing them isn't illegal. It might contravene the T&Cs, but that's a civil matter.
What does sound flaky is whether restrictions on legal tender are legal. I know there is a crazy notion that cash is the only legal tender, but all it takes is one judge to state that "a Mastercard should be reasonably expected to be accepted as payment" and the Olympic Committee are screwed.
It's a pity it wasn't Diners Club, then the lack of people spending any money might have encouraged the organisers of future games to think more of the spectators and less of the money grab.
That said, bowing down to a single monopolistic anti-competitive corporate is a long standing Olympic tradition. Nothing new here.
"London's tube lines are too deep, too snug and too crowded to get mobiles working."
That's a bit like saying "My car is to small to smile in". Getting mobiles working underground is nothing to do with their depth. It's a matter of finance and organisation (neither of which the tube has).
Madrid has had underground coverage in the metro and underground main train tunnels for ages. It doesn't take up a lot of space; just one extra cable that runs along the tunnels (leaky feeder).
As for people talking on their phones; I have no trouble with that. It's the ones that think they don't need to shower from one year to the next and get in a tube train that upset me.
No IT legacy goes nicely with no sporting legacy.
Just a shame I never bothered to run my "anti London 2012" campaign featuring Routemaster buses with "Back the bid" written in French and big Paris 2012 logos.
Good idea to not bother with Oyster card integration though.
I go through London Bridge every day and the Jubilee line (and all the rest) can't cope with the numbers of commuters, let alone more commuters and a whole bunch of fans travelling to watch running races/hop, skip & jump. Often they have to stop people entering the Underground at London Bridge causing a backlog of people filling the ticket hall and the roads outside.
Shouldn't have bothered with the 'lympics, it's all crap anyway!
The inclusive public transport ticket that everyone with an Olympic Games spectator ticket will get will almost invariably be a conventional printed ticket with a magnetic stripe on the back (and would I expect have the same validity as a normal all-zones Travelcard).
This makes sense - the infrastructure for reading mag stripe tickets exists across London, as despite the existence of the Oyster card system plenty of passengers continue to use conventional printed tickets - being specific, all ticket gates in London can read mag stripe tickets in tandem with the ability to 'read' Oyster cards.
Whilst it might have been neat to issue the free travel on Oyster cards, they're inherently more expensive to produce, and many might never have been re-used but simply just gone in the bin instead.
In other words, this really is no big deal.
"By 2012, spectators will routinely be able to share footage of the Games online," the committee claims. But despite this being illegal....
Well, of course. I mean, the olympics are not a world-wide event to be enjoyed by EVERYONE are they? Who the hell decided that taking a photo of your fave event / sporting star was to be "illegal". And which idiots agreed that it was RIGHT to be "illegal"?
I really am starting to seriously hate the people behind any media event / sporting event / rock concert / pretty much any organised event because you can bloody guarentee that taking a couple of innocent piccies of it to remember it by will be considered "illegal" for reasons that nobody can sensibly justify.
I can see an issue of sitting there with thousands of pounds worth of broadcast-quality kit taking picture-perfect video of some rock concert. But a couple of fuzzy pics just for the memory? It's bollox!!!
Simply ask for the names of the people the tickets are for.
For each person give them a voucher for whatever Oyster credit or travel card they are entitled to.
Exchange voucher when they get their Oyster card.
And on the plus side they might loose the voucher and end up paying anyway ;)
The decision not to issue Oysters with Olympic tickets was known about 6 months ago, and at the time was said to be based on a clash with the TfL upgrade programme for their technology - they wanted to get started on upgrades in 2011, but would have been forced by Olympic rules to delay that. More recently it has become known that TfL can see ways in which they believe they can dramatically cut operating costs, namely by adding contactless bank payment technology. A problem with the Oyster scheme is that there are many Oyster cards that are used only very occasionally or not at all, but they remain live because there isn't an expiry date. Sweeping those cards out in favour of bank cards (pre-paid or normal debit) is seen as a win-win, because the card holder can use bank cards for more than just travel, and the bankers carry the cost of managing the population of cards (which of course will have expiry dates). Do I need to point out that Oyster cards issued to Olympics spectators would be taken away afterwards as trophies and never used again? And, to forestall one objection to bank cards in the TfL environment, the daily fare cap with PAYG will continue, via a technology and risk sharing agreement with the bankers.
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