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London Tube Stations Finally Get Wi-Fi

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the expanding-the-net dept.

United Kingdom 140

judgecorp writes "After trials, Wi-Fi in the London Underground has gone live in two stations (Warren Street and King's Cross), with plans to fit 80 stations out before the Olympics, which are now only a few weeks away. From the article: '“Our new Wi-Fi service is a fantastic deal for Londoners, with live travel updates, entertainment and news freely available to everyone while they are on the move across the capital,” said Gareth Powell, London Underground’s director of strategy and service development. “Wi-Fi at Tube stations will help us improve the journeys of the millions of people that use the Underground everyday at no cost to fare or tax payers.”'"

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140 comments

so it can be shut off (0, Flamebait)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40253987)

So they're putting in Wi-Fi so that they can have something to shut off in order to make people feel secure? Sounds great!

Re:so it can be shut off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255011)

It is just another subsidy to only help the rich. The poor won't have devices that can use this "free" wifi.

Re:so it can be shut off (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255031)

You don't live in London, do you? The first thing poor people buy with their benefits is the latest smartphone, usually the BLACKberry. However they tend to take buses. Rich people take taxis.

Re:so it can be shut off (2)

shilly (142940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255121)

I'm interested to know how living in London enables you to know what poor Londoners spend their benefits money on. Do you live in some special part of the city where you get free access to HMRC, DWP and individual household accounts records? I'm kinda guessing that the answer is:
a) no
b) you made shit up to support your unpleasant worldview and "thought" this was the same as quoting actual verifiable facts

Re:so it can be shut off (1)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255269)

You're assuming everyone is either "rich" or "poor". Even IF the poor won't have devices that can take advantage of this, there will still be plenty of non-rich people who do.

Re:so it can be shut off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255297)

And for how much longer? An Ebook reader is presently only about $100 and it's probably not going to be too long before you can get a good one for only $50 or less. Unless somebody is extremely hard up that's something they can probably fund by picking up spare change.

Wait a moment... (1, Insightful)

multiben (1916126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40253989)

"Wi-Fi at Tube stations will help us improve the journeys of the millions of people that use the Underground everyday at no cost to fare or tax payers".

So it was paid for by fairies?

Re:Wait a moment... (4, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254011)

Presumably paid for through advertising, i.e. by consumers.

Re:Wait a moment... (2)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254063)

A portal that displays entertainment recommendations sounds like advertising. There's an immediate revenue stream.

The article also points out that later on it will be paid for by users, so this could also be a loss-leader foot-in-the-door move by Virgin. Direct payments by users would prevent it from being a burden on people who just pay a subway fare without using the service.

Re:Wait a moment... (1)

amirishere (2651929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254087)

One nice idea would be to allow multiple providers for the networks and allow users to choose which ever service they want. This may lead to less intrusive adverts and better services.

Re:Wait a moment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254127)

Yeah, cause the 2.4GHz ISM band has so much room...

Re:Wait a moment... (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254321)

IMO this is not a problem of spectrum availability: you already have providers sharing much more limited resources like electricity distribution networks or the rail system (in the UK).

As such, you would only need to have a common wireless network that routed each user's packets to his chosen provider.

Re:Wait a moment... (4, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254819)

Presumably paid for through advertising, i.e. by consumers.

Once the olympics are over, you'll be charged. The contract would state Virgin have to wire up the stations, and provide free wifi for the plympics, but then get 5 years of ripping off passengers

That said, I don't see the market. It's only at the platform, which on the whole is a sub-5 minute wait even at 11pm - at least in the centre where there's no phone signals. By the time you get to the platform, get your phone out, log on to the wifi, type your credit card number in, type in the capcha, accept the terms and condtions, and provide your phone number and email, your train will be there.

Re:Wait a moment... (1)

trnk (1887028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255363)

Agree that it's hard to see how this is going to be particularly useful, although presumably this is a first step towards eventually installing it on the trains themselves. I can see that being pretty useful/lucrative in the long-term.

Re:Wait a moment... (5, Informative)

Nova77 (613150) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254059)

It is going to be free under the Olympics, but afterward you'll have to be a Virgin customer or pay £££.

Not a revolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40253995)

Sydney already have WiFi in some of its train stations :
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/cityrail-free-wifi-trial-rolls-on/story-e6frgakx-1226074428380

Re:Not a revolution (2)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254963)

Shanghai has working phone reception and 3G data on trains and stations throughout the underground - who needs WIFI? Time to catch up with China.

Actually I'm glad there's no voice phone service on the Tube... I really don't want to be jammed in inches from somebody yammering on about their banal life and their dull X Factor hero worshipping.

Re:Not a revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255079)

Free wifi might be a good idea. The HK government provides free wifi in certain areas.

Re:Not a revolution (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255295)

Paris is the same. You can use 2G everywhere, 3G in some (too rare) cases, and keep a phone conversation going all the way.

Simply put, the UK is not known for its infrastructure. Hell, half the tube stops every week-end for refurbishment and it's still slow and unreliable. But as the French and Germans are slowly taking them over, the Brits finally get a taste of technology ;-)

Re:Not a revolution (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255357)

..3G is much slower than WiFi ...and costs more.... Are you thinking of 4G?

More than 55% of the London Underground is above ground and gets a good signal, and yes annoying people do yammer on constantly on the phone ...The Tube is more than the central portion of deep lines ...and services more than Central London ...I suspect Wifi will not be rolled out to the outlying stations

Re:Not a revolution (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255401)

No, 3G is good enough most of the time, either to check something online on my phone, or even for me to work tethered (email obviously, not something ore fancy like RDP). Think about the 80 or 90% use-case when you're on the move at a station. 3G doesn't cost anything... included in the monthly data rate. Wifi in this case is going to cost money after the Olympics too...

Re:Not a revolution (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255023)

That's cool!! Maybe you should post a story on that and then you can comment there.

Not free. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40253997)

" It will be free until after the Olympics have concluded, but customers of Virgin Media and other selected networks will continue to get it free afterwards. Others will be able to use the service on a pay-as-you-go basis."

IOW Just another paid WiFi hotspot, except most ppl will only spend enough time at a tube station to log in and if lucky, maybe load one webpage.

ah, the free lunch (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254005)

at no cost to fare or tax payers

How?

Virgin Media won the contract to supply Wi-Fi to the Underground earlier this year

How were they paid?

It will be free until after the Olympics have concluded, but customers of Virgin Media and other selected networks will continue to get it free afterwards. Others will be able to use the service on a pay-as-you-go basis.

I don't get it. This can't be right. The contract isn't free, Virgin doesn't supply services for free... yet apparently, no one is paying for it except "others" after the Olympics.

Re:ah, the free lunch (3, Informative)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254021)

How were they paid?

I'm guessing they get to plaster their name all of the place. Connect to the network and your browser will be redirected to a page with Virgin's logo, where you have to click a button indicating that you agree to the TOS.

Re:ah, the free lunch (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254073)

A station I pass through had free wifi for a few months. Apart from the logo on the click through page, there were ads by the entrance telling you who was paying for it and how to connect, and ads hanging from the AP boxes with the name of the ISP supplying the bandwidth and equipment. Lots of scope for advertising if you have enough eyeballs in the area, and the London Underground probably carries 10 times or more people than my local railway.

From what I heard, the station staff thought it was good too, people stood around playing with their phones or netbooks instead of bitching about late and cancelled trains. (Tablets hadn't come out yet, I expect people would be whipping out the iPad now.)

Re:ah, the free lunch (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254151)

Not to mention that during the Olympics those stations might be really, really packed and people are much less likely to complain about a free service and afterwards you have a really stress-tested network. So great publicity, low risk and giving Londoners a free taste. Sounds like a win all around for Virgin, it's probably a better use of their marketing budget than many other things.

Re:ah, the free lunch (2)

__Reason__ (181288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254147)

How were they paid?

I don't get it. This can't be right. The contract isn't free, Virgin doesn't supply services for free... yet apparently, no one is paying for it except "others" after the Olympics.

The only "payment" Virgin received was in the form of rights to access tube stations and install their equipment inside.

Although the service will initially be free of charge, it'll no doubt carry some form of advertising on the login screen. Virgin have stated that it will eventually be charged for like typical WiFi services. Also, it'll be free to existing Virgin Media users, thus making Virgin services more attractive to users and benefitting their business.

Re:ah, the free lunch (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254293)

It's a loss leader for Virgin to get their kit in there, and then they will run it after the Olympics in the same manner as BT run their existing nationwide OpenZone wifi network - some mobile networks users get access as part of their contracts, everyone else has to pay for access.

It's not rocket science.

Re:ah, the free lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254571)

FWIW, I did RTFA.

My snarky reply would be, "It was a gift from the Queen to the people of London, in gratitude to the people for their Silver Jubilee celebrations." And why not? The Crown is richer than Crocus, or even the Persian Gulf Oil Emirates.

But my conspiratorial response would be that it was the City of London, not the Crown, that paid for this "gift" to the people of London. This is a "gift" is like a chunk of rotting meat as bait in a bear trap. Free WiFi is nothing more than an extension of the national security surveillance police state control grid, already pervasive in London & the surrounds. Britain, the "sovereign" country is broke. They cannot afford the Silver Jubilee, or the Summer Olympics, or perpetual overseas military "adventures", let alone this "free" WiFi. Western Europe, the USA, and much of the rest of the world is headed down the same "primrose path". And why not? The international banksters own most of the world's gold, and not coincidentally, hold the promissory notes on the sovereign debt of half the world's nations.
   

Re:ah, the free lunch (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254769)

How?

Harry Potter WiFi antennas. They can magically connect you to just about anything ... except other people.

Re:ah, the free lunch (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255409)

Virgin Media customers will get it free - they are already paying Virgin Media
Selected others will get it free they are already paying a carrier, who are paying Virgin Media
Everyone else will have to pay on a Pay As You Go basis ...

Money rolling in regardless of who uses it , seems like a good money spinner for Virgin to me?

Performance... (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254047)

Trying to imagine how many people will be trying to share spectrum at a busy station during rush hour and even with multiple access points in each location on all the available channels that don't overlap I'd have to think there won't be enough to go around.

With regard to "...no cost to fare or tax payers.”' it seems probable that they've put out to bid to WiFi Internet providers to see who gets to sell the service to customers after the Olympics. In all probability London Underground will get a take of the proceeds once free service terminates and normal billing / roming charging begins.

Speaking as a Brit... (2, Interesting)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254077)

...the London Underground, on a per-mile basis, is one of the most expensive transit systems in the world, so to say that the wi-fi is free is totally misleading as the cost is covered within the extortionate ticket prices.

Just to give people outside the UK some idea, two weeks ago the missus and I went to a concert in London. I drove the car to Hammersmith in West London and parked there, we got on the Underground to travel two stops to Shepherd's Bush, no more than two miles up the road.

The total cost for 2 return tickets was just under £14 or around $20.

I think that speaks for itself...

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (4, Informative)

lintux (125434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254107)

While with an Oyster card it would've been £8 in total. Traveling on the underground with paper tickets seems like a bad idea..

Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (5, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254195)

Trouble with the Oyster card, it's the forcing of costs onto the passenger. Previously, I only had to give London Transport my money when I actually travelled. Until that point, the money was in my pocket, for me to use as I want.

Now with Oyster cards, I either get charged an extortionate rate for maintaining that privilege (buying higher priced paper tickets), or I have to get credit on my Oyster card that I might not use for a while. My money, given to London Transport, to use as an interest free loan.

As a non-Londoner, I've got maybe ten pounds on a card that's tied up til next time I visit London. Add up the couple of million people who use the tube regularly and consider each of them has a few pounds spare credit on their Oyster cards and pretty soon you'll see that LondonTransport has done something pretty canny: getting 20 million or more GBP interest free loans from the public... and that's not to count the classic big bank win of another big chunk of money that they've effectively got for free from all those unused and lost Oyster cards owned and never to be used again by occasional users / tourists. How may tourists visit London and leave with a pound or two left on their Oyster card and just write it off?

Very canny way of getting additional funding in micropayments from millions of people.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (0)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254283)

It could be worse - you could be in Melbourne. The new ticket system here (Myki) does this too, but any money you have stored on your card 'expires' if it is not used for six months. To top that off, the card is non-refundable.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254319)

Its a myth:

http://www.danielbowen.com/2012/05/07/myki-90-day-expiry/

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254285)

You could _ofcourse_ found out how much it was going to cost you on your oyster and put that exact amount on their, If you're that bothered by a couple of quit. Also, i tend to keep an oyster card around for other people to use (which they top up afterwards). It saves alot of time when i have visitors.

I think you're being overly picky about putting cash on Oyster cards. They are there to provide you with a cheaper and easier method of paying and travelling on the underground and they do exactly that. In your example you would save ALOT more using the oyster over a paper ticket than you're likely to leave on there in spare change.

Get over it.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254425)

The interest on your £10 for many years is still going to be less than difference between oyster prices and paper tickets.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (3, Insightful)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254453)

It is funny that the GP seems to think London Transport company is charging higher paper ticket prices to get their hands on his unused Oyster card money, rather than the actual higher cost of handling physical money and paper tickets in non-centralized locations. As the proportion of physical paper tickets falls the unit cost of the service increases.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254487)

I shudder to think how travel in London would be without the Oyster card.

When I'm elsewhere in the country and see queues delaying buses, queues at rail ticket offices, etc, I despair.

So you've got a tenner on your Oyster card. OH NO! DISASTER. The convenience to travel whenever you want without worrying about having cash on you.

Some people really need to get a grip. What about buying a season ticket up front? That's an annual cost of thousands, and you're moaning about a tenner.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254561)

If you want to apply the same cynicism you can do this for all paper tickets too. Once you buy the ticket, your money is with the ticket issuer even if you don't use it.

Good news for you: Eventually the system will just take money directly off your credit card. Touch in, touch out as before, but with your VISA. Now you're not spending a penny until you enter the system.

You don't have to put money onto Oyster and leave it unused. If you really want to put exactly £7.60 onto an Oyster and then make £7.60 worth of journeys you can do that. But it is really inconvenient. Well, convenience costs money.

Also, keep in mind that LU is publically owned. The money they "got for free" by your thinking doesn't go into some shareholder's pocket, it gets spent the same way as money you spent on paper tickets. So if you claw back all that money somehow the ticket prices just go up to compensate.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255395)

The point of card systems like that is to abstract the process. Back home we have a similar system in place for the various regional transit providers. You have several methods of paying, you can pay cash and have them put it directly on it, you can pay via CC online or at the office and have the money put on there or you can have it automatically add some money whenever you run low. What's more you can also get a monthly pass applied to the card so that it shows you've paid up every time you get on the bus.

There are glitches in the system because it's updated at night when the buses return, but it's generally reliable. And handles cases where the buses and other transit aren't able to communicate with the system while out and about.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254721)

I don't get why Western countries seem to have problems with providing affordable yet ubiquitous electronic currency. Limiting these uses to transit just serve to annoy users. The approach Hong Kong took with the Octopus card should be the example to follow. Not only can they be used for nearly all types of mass transit (except for taxi), they can be used at nearly all fast-food joints (e.g. McDonalds), all major convenient stores (i.e. 7-11, and typically people top up there card over there), even major restaurants now support this contact-less payment system.

If this is adopted by other parties, users should feel less apprehensive about storing value onto these cards.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255263)

Agree, and Japan (where I live) is the same. All shops within, and (near a station, at least) a LOT of shops outside a station accept the Oyster-card-a-like contactless cards which the railways use here. You can generally only charge them up at a station, but who in a big city in this country doesn't make at least 2 train journeys a day? Plus, a lot of people have them set up to just auto-charge from their bank account when they get close to empty.

Even a lot of vending machines accept them. Press button for required item, poke card at reader, done. Why is the West just not getting this?

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (3, Informative)

homsar (2461440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254773)

Or you could take the card to a ticket office and exchange it for the remaining credit plus your deposit. I know someone who visits London every couple of months and does this every time.

Re:Oystercard: transfer of costs to the passenger (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255115)

Or you could take the card to a ticket office and exchange it for the remaining credit plus your deposit. I know someone who visits London every couple of months and does this every time.

Why? He'll have to queue up when he wants to travel again, and I doubt he'll miss the £3 before he next goes to London.

I have smartcards for a few cities. The London system is the only one I've used in Europe where the balance on the card never expires.

Speaking as a Londoner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254791)

you're doing it wrong.

JohnnyMindCrime: if you paid £14 (which can never be said to round to £20) to get from hammersmith to shepards bush you're crazy. it's a 15 min walk and now westfield is there has plenty of parking in shepherds bush itself.

Fantomas: yep i see and agree with your point... except that you're claim you unused money back at any time. if you wanted to you could go to the station each morning, get a new oystercard for the day and then recoup everything you'd not spent. all the benefits of the paper ticket but cheaper.

fair play that's maybe local knowledge but it's easily gathered if you ask around.

Re:Speaking as a Londoner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254865)

oh and i misread JohnnyMindCrime:

London Underground is one of the oldest and most exspansive transit systems in the world. yes it cost you a lot to go a little. but it costs me ~£5 to travel right across town (~20 mile) on a one way trip.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254417)

Even less, it's zone 2. £5.60 off-peak, £6 peak.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (3, Informative)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254121)

That's because you bought paper tickets which are priced artificially high at £4.30 each way to encourage people to use the oyster card. If you used the oyster (contactless payment) card instead it would have costed £1.50 (peak) or £1.40 (off-peak) for zone 3 only travel. TFL (Transport for London) may be expensive, but it isn't that expensive.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254245)

However, there is a £5 (refundable) deposit for a PAYG oyster card.

For a very occasional visitor to London making a one off journey this can mean that PAYG oyster doesn't really make sense unless you've got the time to faf around getting a refund.

Refunds can also be problematic. AIUI, if you've used more than one way to top up the card - e.g. credit card plus cash - then the only way to get the deposit refunded is by cheque posted to your home address - which for non British london visitors will cost as much in charges too convert to local currency as it is worth. Your best bet may actually be to find some other tourist to sell your card to.

I also believe that the card is disabled if it's not used for two years. You don't lose any money or the deposit but you need to visit a tube office to get it reenabled before it can be used again.

Finally, while oyster works very well for people who use it regularly, it's surprisingly easy to get caught out and charged a "maximum fare" - one example where you have to be careful - I entered the central line the night before last and just as I entered there was warnings of flooding and major delays and "you are advised to take a bus". Had I turned around and walked straight back out again I would have been charged a £7 maximum fare. Armed with this knowledge I ignored the advice being given and forced my way onto the next train.

Tim.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254387)

I live in the South, and even tough I don't live in London, I keep an Oyster card on me just in case I need to travel in for work or to meet up with people. Think of it this way - for the OP, he would have paid less per traveler using the Oyster card (£5+£1.50+£1.50=£8) than paper tickets (£4.30+£4.30=£8.60), so there is really no reason to go with paper tickets. Just keep the card in your wallet for next time.

If you do get caught charged the maximum fare (it's quite easy on the DLR especially as there are no gates and the self-service machine quite easily registers your swipe twice), you can get the charges reversed if you explain nicely to the agent at the ticket counter. Same with your situation.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1, Redundant)

TomNext70 (932138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254143)

I suggest you use an Oyster Card next time. The cash fare for a single ticket on the underground between Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush is £4.30. Using a pay-as-you go Oyster Card is £1.50 (peak) or £1.40 (off peak).

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254199)

Thanks (to all the replies) for the advice.

Being a "carrot chomper in the Shires" I rarely go up to the "Big Smoke" so use the Underground rarely - but will remember it for the future.

Fortunately most of the bands I like usually tour across the country and whilst Southampton is equal distance from me as London is, I tend to try to go there for gigs first - lower (if not free) parking, much easier to get in and out of, and at least two of the venues there serve good British ale at pub prices! :-)

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254217)

Actually on PAYG it would have been £2.70 (peak) or £2.00 (off peak) - hence the post above giving £8 total.

I personally live just 4 miles from my place of work, but it would cost £6.20 per day to commute by tube, not to mention a total of 30 mins spent walking to/from the tube each end. Driving, the fuel cost door to door would be half of that.

Although I don't drive and actually prefer to walk, you can see that the incentive in London is to force people onto the roads - astronomical fuel prices are still cheaper than the most expensive underground system in the world.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254407)

You happen to choose just about the worst case scenario. 1) Buy tickets for cash and not with an Oyster card or even a one day paper season ticket 2) You're only travelling two stops.

Whilst I would not normally want to defend LUT, if you had used even a fraction of the brain power that $DEITY gave you, you could have brought two one day season tickets and done as much travel as you liked for approx 2/3 the price. A taxi there and back would be touch and go for £14, it would have been too long a walk but it's not that bad. There are loads of buses going that direction for only £1 each journey. You could have parked even further out and used the tube for longer thereby reducing the cost/mile, but that's not half as good a story.

Single fairs are expensive, but there are so many ways to not spend that money, you basically have to be as thick as pig shit to not realise you do have options.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254459)

So you didn't use an Oyster card, for which that journey would have cost around £6 total for both of you (at peak times).

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

symes (835608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254607)

we got on the Underground to travel two stops to Shepherd's Bush, no more than two miles up the road

Walking is free, even in London

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254719)

Thank you for the health tips.

Neither of us have any problem with walking 2 miles unless traffic getting into London has delayed us to the point where you have 15 minutes to get to the venue before the band comes on.

So don't be a smart-ass!

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254757)

Take the bus. The outside view is better and your not smelling a armpit whilst on board

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (5, Informative)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254787)

...the London Underground, on a per-mile basis, is one of the most expensive transit systems in the world, so to say that the wi-fi is free is totally misleading as the cost is covered within the extortionate ticket prices.

Just to give people outside the UK some idea, two weeks ago the missus and I went to a concert in London. I drove the car to Hammersmith in West London and parked there, we got on the Underground to travel two stops to Shepherd's Bush, no more than two miles up the road.

The total cost for 2 return tickets was just under £14 or around $20.

I think that speaks for itself...

Yes, it says you haven't got a clue how to travel in London.
* Firstly, why not park at Westfield?
* Secondly, why not take a taxi? That would be about the same price that you paid
* Oyster would be £6 return for the two of you, even if you bought 2 new oyster cards in Hammersmith, and loaded each with £3, that would only be £12, and you can always return the cards later

Single cash fares are deliberately expensive because it costs a lot to maintain the infrastructure that less than 1% of journeys are made with.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255183)

OP : the London Underground, on a per-mile basis, is one of the most expensive transit systems in the world ... I think that speaks for itself...

CP : Yes, it says you haven't got a clue how to travel in London.
* Firstly, why not park at Westfield?
* Secondly, why not take a taxi? That would be about the same price that you paid

Er, that was the original poster's point!

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255203)

Yes, it says you haven't got a clue how to travel in London.

Why would he, if he doesn't live there?

London is a hellishly complicated place, and how many people who don't live there have bus/taxi/tube/walking routes memorised?

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254849)

Don't forget the London Congestion charge, ensuring that people use the overpriced underground instead of their cars.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255317)

The congestion charge doesn't apply in Hammersmith or Shepherd's Bush.

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254873)

Or you could have gone the quicker route and taken the bus for £2.30 each way on paper ticket (9.20 all together) - or just 1.35 with Oyster (5.40 all together...)

You could have walked there in the same amount of time. And if you were driving why didn't you just park nearer shepherds bush. Don't think your journey really makes any sense.

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr=Hammersmith+Rd%2FA315&daddr=Goldhawk+Rd%2FA402&hl=en&sll=51.496903,-0.213734&sspn=0.022309,0.055747&geocode=FQW5EQMdoZT8_w%3BFRbgEQMdAZb8_w&t=v&dirflg=w&mra=dme&mrsp=1&sz=15&z=15

This stuff is readily available on google maps nowadays!

Re:Speaking as a Brit... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255061)

Oh please, talk about a disingenuous argument. Nobody in their right mind buys paper tickets. Especially as they're priced high to discourage you. That was your choice.

I live in Hammersmith (at the Chiskwick end)... I mostly walk, or sometimes take the bus. Going from Hammersmith Broadway as you were to Shebu is an even shorter walk - probably 10-15 minutes (or the time it took you to buy your tickets, wait for the next train, travel there, and then walk from Goldhawk Rd or Shepherd's Bush Market. If you were going to a concert at the Empire, you only needed to go one stop on the Tube.

If you were going to be driving to Hammersmith, why not just go a bit further and look for free parking on a side street near Shebu? As somebody who lived five minutes walk from the Green, that's what I would do, and what my parents would do when they came to visit me.

BTW, Shepherd's Bush is in Hammersmith, but assuming you were only coming from Hammersmith Broadway (the start of your Tube journey), Shebu is 0.8 miles, much less than your 2 mile business. Yes, that makes it sound more expensive, but also really makes one scratch their head as to your motivation for taking the tube in the first place.

Limited usefulness? (3, Interesting)

mdsharpe (1051460) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254111)

Just at the stations and not on the trains? That's cool to a certain extent but how long does the average traveller spend standing around on the platform? I'd have thought that by the time you've got through any registration faff / entering your e-mail address it's time to get on the train.

Re:Limited usefulness? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254257)

I agree. I use the tube every day and i'm rarely on the platform for more than 1 minute. I don't know what the target audience is. Tourists here for the olympcs are going to be able to get all of their travel information off the posters on the walls or the live update screens.

I'm not sure what use they'd get out of the wifi either.

Re:Limited usefulness? (1)

deltaromeo (821761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254785)

Good point. It makes me think that this will make congestion at the stations a lot worse with people staying on platforms longer to browse and upload photos etc.

Sounds virtually useless ... (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254119)

The article makes it sound that they are offering free access to a limited range of online services. It is only the "Internet" in the sense that these services are delivered over the Internet, but it is not the Internet in the sense that it only provides access to services approved by the service provider. Those services are in all likelihood revenue generating subsidiaries of Virgin, services paying Virgin for the privilege of being accessible on the subway platforms, or contractual obligations between Virgin and and the transit authority. In otherwords, it's utility as anything other than a propaganda machine is limited.

On top of that, they are only offering platform service. Now I don't know about London's tubes, but every heavy and light rail public transit system that I've seen runs trains at 2 minute intervals (peak hours) to 15 minute intervals (at an hour that you wouldn't want to pull out a gadget). You may be able to pull down a transit schedule and maybe a couple of articles to read on the train, but not much else. Train arrival times will probably be posted on the platform anyhow and the only devices usable on platforms are cell phones and tablets. The former is a terrible reading device for anything more than plain text, the latter is an okay reading device but awkward to handle on a busy platform. People who want that type of service would be better served by their cell phone's data plan anyhow since chances are that it's unfiltered and may work on the platforms anyhow. (I can't speak for London's system, but Toronto and Vancouver have decent cell reception on the platforms).

In other words, big freaking deal. Let me know when they offer real internet service and service that can be access in the place where you're spending most of your time: on the train.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (1)

chunkynut666 (1890600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254305)

It is virtually useless, the most travelled stations are in central London and have a frequent service, when the service is running as it should which is 95%+ of the time. However these stations are normally sub surface or deep lines and have no mobile phone coverage at all on platforms. I used Warren St station today (I work accross the road from it) and I only know about this service through Slashdot! I spend less than 2 minutes normally on the platforms and less than 5 minutes in the station, most of that is travelling to the platform of course. Stations in central London are managed and CCTV coverage is ubiquitous (I actually work on telecoms installation projects for rail stations) so they are generally very safe and you see many people using Ipads, Kindles and smart phones on stations and trains.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (3, Interesting)

locofungus (179280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254359)

I think it's to try and stop too many riots during the Olympics.

Some stations are expected to have waits of 30 minutes plus to get onto a train due to the sheer number of people trying to use the station.

Warren Street is probably at risk from people thinking "ah ha - I'll avoid Euston underground" but then being unable to get onto trains due to them being already packed.

I'm an avid BBC proms goer and season ticket holder but I'm somewhat resigned to the fact that I might not actually go to very many concerts this year as getting to the Albert Hall from work could be interesting and getting from the Albert Hall to Euston could be almost impossible as I'm not sure it's even going to be possible to walk through hyde park along West Carriage Drive, let alone cycle, and the "zil" lanes on the other roads around that area are going to make the area all but impassable.

While there are lots of exhortations to cycle during the olympics, I'm not sure that the inevitable frustrations and raised tempers of the motorists are going to make cycling either fun or safe. I hope I'm wrong but I'm not looking forward to this summer.

Tim.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254541)

Every day the London Underground carries ~3 million people, most of them at peak hours. Then you've got bus and train users as well.

I just cannot see how the Olympics (200,000 people going to the park each day) is actually going to be a problem, given the multitudes of different ways to get to the Olympic Park - Central Line, Overground, a couple of DLR lines, bus, train (including fast trains direct from St Pancras), and it's not that far from the District line either.

Bob Crow (public transport union cunt) is scaremongering with his words, although I wouldn't put it past him and his lackeys to actively spoil things despite the massive bonus they have set up for transport drivers working during the Olympics.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254749)

And all the indications are that tourist visits to London will actually be quite a bit lower than usual during the Olympics. Hotel bookings are down by a third because all the people who usually go to London to see Big Ben and shop at Harrods are going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and shop on the Champs Elyses instead.

90,000 people went to see the Champion's League final at Wembley last year, and a similar number go to see the cup finals. 80,000 people go to see each of the 2 or 3 Six Nations matches at Twickenham each year. Up to 60,000 people go to the Emirates Stadium and 50,000 to Stamford Bridge every other week. Then you have the O2 arena and all the west end theatres. None of this is happening during the Olympics.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254349)

Still, all the hardware is now in place. Software can be changed, and the system can be opened up to become real internet.

And some travel information might actually be useful, even if you cannot get to your facebook.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (1)

Gib7 (2445652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254479)

Earls court station sucks, and you wait forever for a district line train going towards wimbledon. The only type of departure board is a printed list of destinations, with an arrow back-lit by a globe when your train is next. It has you switching platforms willy-nilly, and gives no indication of how long a train will be. If wifi could give extra information, fantastic.

The wifi probably won't get much out to the outer portions of the underground network, but I know the western picadilly line has non-functioning signage, due to there being no data connection from those stations which would allow them to have estmated time of arrival of net train. The electronic signs which would allow this just display "picadilly line" instead of any useful information. I had to use an application on my phone to get this information even while standing on the platform.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254759)

You can see the sky from the District Line platforms at Earls Court, so cell access should be available.

Re:Sounds virtually useless ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254549)

People who want that type of service would be better served by their cell phone's data plan anyhow since chances are that it's unfiltered and may work on the platforms anyhow. (I can't speak for London's system, but Toronto and Vancouver have decent cell reception on the platforms).

this is the underground. It is quite a long way underground for most of the system, deepest station is Hampstead on the northern line which is 58.5M below ground (that would be 192ft for people who have not yet modernised their measurements system)

Seoul (2)

klaasb (523629) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254309)

In the subway of Seoul wifi has been available to passengers for years. Three public companies (olleh, offer wifi in the subway and many other public places for a price as low as 8000 krw (about 8 USD) per month.

Re:Seoul (1)

nine932038 (1934132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254371)

Really? I wonder why they'd bother. I had an unlimited data plan on my smartphone, and as far as I know, pretty much everyone else did too, and at least with KTF, I had tethering.

Re:Seoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254569)

Ever tried to get a phone signal on the London Underground?
This free wifi will let people update their twitter, facebook and bbc news feeds whilst waiting for a delayed train to trundle along.
I'm sure there'll be a guy watching porn, but he smells, so ignore him.

So What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254413)

Yes, yes, it's not horribly impressive, by any other country's standards, however please consider the fact that it wasn't done because of political and commercial questions. It's politics, not a lack of skills. I am not particularly impressed by Seoul or London's ability to install public Wifi.

Re:Seoul (1)

Njovich (553857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254489)

Oh that's really great, if you are korean, or foreigner with an alien registration card and full knowledge of korean.

Have they made it easier to access for others yet? When I tried it 6 months ago I couldn't get it to work as a foreigner.

This London system will also work for non-UK-people. Amazing technology.

(don't get me wrong, I love korea and visited many times, but I wouldn't take their WIFI networks as the shining example of how to do it.)

Re:Seoul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254637)

I used a boingo account is Seoul. It worked in the subway station, on the trains while moving, and on most buses. Korea is an amazing place. Maybe someday America will catch up.

Forget Wi-Fi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254369)

How about some A/C?

Re:Forget Wi-Fi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254389)

Here I am.

Wi-Fi? Luxury! (1)

nine932038 (1934132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254379)

Here in Montreal, we don't even have cell phone signal in the vast majority of the subway network. Hell, I'm still waiting for bathrooms and disabled access, let alone such 'luxuries' as wifi.

Re:Wi-Fi? Luxury! (3, Informative)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254419)

Err, you don't get mobile phone reception in the London Underground either (well, you do in the overground parts, obviously).

Re:Wi-Fi? Luxury! (2)

uweg (638726) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254631)

Incredible. AFAIR, Berlin underground has this since 1995 - and not only in stations but throughout the whole network.

Re:Wi-Fi? Luxury! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254833)

There's no signal on the London Underground in order to stop commuters murdering each other once their patience has been used up listening to the inane drivel, or loud self-important bullshit, that other commuters would be saying on their mobile phones should a signal be present.

Seriously.

Re:Wi-Fi? Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255161)

I know some ppl from Berlin. You're right, they never complain about wireless connectivity, but "physical connectivity", i.e. unspeakably bad train service.

OTOH, I wish that 3/4G connectivity in trains running *overground* was available. Ever traveled by train from Hamburg, to, say, Bremen? A standard commute. Mostly no internet and BAAAD voice. My s.o. sometimes needs to call me 10x in a row. Phone calls are dropped every minute.

Re:Wi-Fi? Luxury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254723)

Disabled access is a rarity in London too, and the only reason people are interested in overpriced WiFi is because there is no cell phone signal on the underground either.
This is more of a testament to the backwardness of the London tube network than anything else.

Tube what? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254483)

With eyes blurry from insomnia the title appeared to be "London Tube Steaks Finally Get Wi-Fi". That woke me up.

Share market, NSE, BSE tips, mcx tips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254575)

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Highly Recommended! (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254709)

Go to your public transit commissioner, ask them to make sure that Wi-Fi is available on subways/metros... if that fails make sure that Gig-E is run next to any cabling done by phone companies (it's expensive to run cables, running 3 instead of two [GPRS, CDMA, etc] is cheap).

Getting public wi-fi on transit systems is an important milestone in admitting that communications infrastructure should be anonymous.

It's not enough that a person and their husband/wife can speak in private, it's not enough that librarians understand that reading habits and access to information should be free, and that anonymity means more than "harboring pedophiles" we need to encourage this on a broad scale.

Running public internet next to private cellphone coverage is - cheap, obvious, and necessary.

Terrorist tool? (1)

distilate (1037896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255199)

Isn't providing wireless internet in the tube stations providing a really useful tool for terrorists?

internet triggered explosives anyone?

This is the first step in creating the Intertubes. (1)

LostCauz (121686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255211)

They're connecting a series of tubes to another series of tubes! This moment will go down in history as one of mankind's greatest achievements.

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