Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The O2 Express

Yesterday saw me on the O2 Express, the new ride that takes you directly from the O2 pier to Waterloo pier in the space of 30 minutes. To my luck (I have something to write and complain about this morning) and the unlucky disposition of the O2 management, the express was an hour late on arrival. It had promised to make a show at 10:30am (my friend even called to check) and we were promised that the vessel would be there to whisk us away to Waterloo.

I was promptly there by ten (I'm one of those obnoxiously early arrivals who always gives time for the in cases of the World as they mostly happen to me I've come to realize). And with enough time to spare, bought my coffee and paper and trundled down to the pier to await my ride.

After a half hour delay, the pier controller announced the news that the express would not be arriving until 11:30am - that's an hour's delay. Luckily for them, it seemed that most of those waiting to board were in no real rush. So with nothing we could do about the situation, we all busied ourselves in the waiting room ( a neat heated waiting room - more like what you'd see at a doctor's clinic really- but this one overlooking the heap upon heap of scrap lying opposite the pier. Not very romantic.

Finally, at eleven thirty sharp, the Express pulled up to the pier and we boarded. What a beautiful clipper to be on. As with all things new, it still has a sparkle to it, and you think to yourself that there could be nothing better than this on the Thames right now. That is until you've visited the toilets.

It's just incredible. How could we be the first ride of the day out of the O2 and the toilets could manage to look so dirty? I mean filthy with caked things inside you'd rather not see really. There went my beautiful morning - hell, my entire day was ruined. Whether freshly soiled or left from the day before, the state of that toilet is a disgrace. Shame on them!

After recovering from that experience I just settled myself away from that sight and took in the all too familiar sights outside along the Thames. The Express is just what it promises. Fast. We were there in just under 30 minutes and there were no delays on the way back.

I probably will be using the O2 Express as it is convenient and on weekends and event nights it runs until really really late (see timetable here) which is quite remarkable. And with a few minor adjustments here and there, it should be the best sail on the Thames yet. Oh and by the way, if you're wondering, the toilet's disposition had not changed on the way back when I boarded the Express back to the O2. And that was at five in the afternoon. Shame on them!

The O2 Express is £4 for a single journey and £8 return, tickets can be purchased on board or online with Ticketmaster

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