I live in London. You may have noticed. As such I have to use the london underground. As train systems go it’s kind of a biggie- odds are you’ve heard of it. Because of its vast scale the wizards came up with a “touch technology” card that acts as your pass to get in and out of the system. Its called the Oyster card- and they do their job very well. What don’t do their job are the muppets holding them.
As you approach an entrance or exit there is a circular yellow pad on which you should touch the card to register that you are about to get on or off at that station so you can be charges accordingly. Most of the station on the underground have “gates” with these touch pads. These are the poor mans version of those electric gates that people who have to much money feel they need to bolt onto the front of their driveway. With the exception that these ones are tiny and open at such a breakneck speed that it would put a cheaters best lap to shame. So you “touch” your card on the yellow pad, the doors swing open, you walk though, continue with your day. Its that easy. So why do some people miss-understand the “touch” aspect of the whole thing as “hold until you are a good couple of feet away”. The problem with holding the card on the reader is that then it presumes you are trying to do a “pass-back”. Thats where you attempt to give your oyster card to someone else behind you to get through as well. The oyster combats this by calling you a thieving bastard- turning its little light red and locking the gate for a few seconds. While this light is red it also means that no one else’s card (no matter how valid) will be read until the thieving git has moved away and been wrestled to the ground by dogs. This happened to me this morning (not the dogs bit)- I was waiting behind a few people at oxford circus station to exit – and I just knew the person in front of me was a “holder”. so there they go, right up to the gate- places their card on the reader, the light turns green, the gates open. They then continue to hold their card on the reader as they walk through the ALREADY OPEN gates. Why? What do you think it’s going to do to you if you let go of that card? The gates will turn to razorblades and sheer your idiotic body in two? We can only hope. Now a good foot away said person is actually leaning backwards still holding the card on the reader. Well that was quite enough for the pass back system- Light went red- gates slam shut and it continues to ignore my card for a few seconds while a nice little Que. builds up behind me tutting. SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE, HOLDER? YOU MADE PEOPLE TUT!
So I ask you now- when using the oyster reader- look for the green light. It means you can move your ass and not look back. Thank you.