Saturday, July 07, 2007

LONDON remembers 7/7

We apologize for the delay (article written and published in 7-7, 2006).

As one of the thousands of Londoners who uses public transport, I often complain for the delays, passenger acts and signal failures. After all, they all result in delaying my journey in the capital. And for the not so humble amount of 85 pounds that I pay for a zone 1 and 2 pass, I deserve a better treatment. And respect.

Ladies and gents, we will remain for a few seconds on this (Bond street) platform, I have been informed that some of the lines are closed because of a power search, said our driver on the 7th of July, 2005, nearly at 9.20 in the morning. I was one of the lucky ones, I thought. After an early pilates class in a central London gym, I was heading back to work from home that day. Central line to Bond street, then Jubilee North to West Hampstead. A few minutes later the train was on its way to Baker street. There again we had to remain on the platform for the same reason. Well, not for long. All of sudden an emergency exit operation was in force and a loud voice was saying: please evacuate the station now. Not again, I mumbled. Every day. The same delays, the same problems. And I blamed, the chancellor, Gordon Brown and its cabinet. He wants to save Africa, why not the London Underground first? A smartly dressed gentleman was swearing bad words for the same reason. At the end we all evacuated Baker street station. On my way out I saw that all lines were closed on the LU board. And I jumped on the first bus I saw.

When I got off, I overheard passengers saying that now even the buses have been stopped, not only the London Underground. Something terrible must have happened. I didn’t care. That’s life in the city, I thought. Back in my flat, I saw that the red message button of my phone was blinking. I pressed to hear and surprisingly enough the voice of a friend who works for a major British corporation abroad. I hope you are fine, give me a call when you come back. Of course I was fine, nothing had happened, just bad management of the London transport.

As I was curious, I started my computer and immediately I went online to check the London for Transport website to find out what had happened.

The site was down.

That was the first time I thought myself that maybe the situation was serious. I decided to turn on the TV for live news.


Images of the blown up bus without the top
People walking, running or crying
The grim faces of the reporters
Sad voices of television presenters in charge of covering the event.

That day, the delay was inevitable. For a few unlucky ones, it lasted for ever. They won’t use the public transport again, not because they found other means but because they died that day.

From that day, I stopped complaining. After all, I was one of the lucky ones. I remained alive.