Up at Heathrow airdrome early this week and, after parking the ground car, I looked around for transportation to terminal 5. No bus but what appeared to be a fairground ride. This turned out to be “The Pod”. Some kind of personal rapid transit system known as ULTra (Urban Light Transit). These days I am a cynical old curmudgeon but I have to say that I was impressed. I used a touch screen outside the car to select my destination and the doors opened to reveal a something which was half dodgen and half roller coaster car. I think it would take 4 very comfortably but you could get six in it easily. You couldn’t stand up but you could put your bags in the middle.
Well made and with leather seats it ran very quietly. What fun! Looking at this youtube vid it appears that the thing is not on rails. Guided by bloody computers I expect. As I left the car park I saw other little pods pootling by in the other direction. A little like that scene on mars out of Blade Runner.
So it seems that the future has arrived. It is here at Heathrow.
Of course when I returned the next day I found a sign by the lifts telling me that the Pod was not running and I should use the bus at stand 22. At stand 22 there was a sign saying that I should use the pod. Hey ho. That’s Britain for you. We are quite capable of creating wonders of science but we can’t be arsed to make sure they work properly.