Dear Mayor Livingstone,
This evening, I have walked home from work from Bond Street to Hackney Wick. It has taken me over two hours and I am tired and very pissed off.
It is 3:30AM, my bed lies, ever tempting, next to me but this cannot wait. I need to write to you now before I calm down and before I forget just how let down I feel.
I was unable to catch the N55 bus from Oxford Street to Mare Street this evening. I had missed the last eastbound Central Line train and in doing-so, also found myself unable to top-up my Oyster Card as the station was closed.
Unaware of my lack of credit, I waited the normal 40 minutes for a night bus, supposed to run every 25, quite happily. It was only once the bus had arrived that I managed to find out that I had no credit and was told to [quite bluntly] get off the bus.
Understanding why, I consented. “These things happen.” I told myself.
Annoyed at only my own lack of foresight, I began to walk East down Oxford Street looking for a convenience store in which to ‘top-up’. I quickly became more than just annoyed by what I was failing to find than just my own idiocy of forgetting to top-up.
You see, I have lived in London for at least five years, I love this city and I have gained a lot from all it has to offer me, but tonight I learnt – London is not a 24 hour city. It closes down to everyone but the drunken punter wishing to blow his or hers last shred of shrapnel-change on a kebab or McSomething.
Tonight, London failed me and, because it is easiest, I blame you.
I don’t use cash – ever (More could be understood from www.losingface.wordpress.com). That is a personal preference that has barely inhibited me until this evening. I didn’t want to walk the almost 9 miles back to East London, but I had to because I didn’t pass a single open shop, station or kiosk that was able to top up my oyster card.
This is the 21st century and that is not acceptable. In fact, it is utterly and indisputably unforgivable and as Mayor, you should be ashamed that a law abiding, tax paying, culturally contributing London resident has been so completely let down by Transport for London.
TfL has the technology to provide street side Oyster support, make them provide that technology. The 9 million citizens that live and breathe this city provide countless millions of pounds of revenue from just the [absolutely extortionate] public transport system alone, it is time to give something back to those users.
I should never need to talk 9 miles in the middle of the night to get home again, I should be able to walk to the nearest bus stop and check/top-up my Oyster Card balance quickly, easily and safely at any time of the day or night.
You are the Mayor, you are my Mayor, please ensure something is done. In a world with not technological need for cash, there should be no reason why I had to drag myself across the city in the early hours of the morning. If London is to remain a world capital and an inspiration to billions, bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century, make this great city an exemplar of modern society and make Londoners truly proud of their home.
Before/If you respond, I would like your answer and action to be built on the premise that despite my constitution, my personal preference and [current] inebriation, I am a Londoner and you are my Mayor. To me, that means I expect you to lead me confidently and with an unbridled commitment to this City and its people – tell me what you are going to do and make no qualm about your decision.
After all, this is about far more than just a drunk, 20-something male having to walk home at night. It is about your vision for a future, inspirational London that Britain can show off to the world and being proud enough of that vision to realise it against all cost and inhibition for a better, greater Capital.
If you convince me of your vision and your ambition as an informed leader as opposed to an all-pleasing, forever smiling dignitary, you will once again have my vote and I will urge my 20,000 strong student body of voters to do the same.
I look forward to hearing from you.