diamond geezer

 Friday, September 18, 2009

A week in the life of the River Thames

Friday 11th September
» The Thames flows though London, as normal. Everybody knows where it is.

Saturday 12th September
» As tube services close down for the night, TfL station staff start to replace the previous tube map with the new decluttered tube map. The Thames suddenly vanishes.
» Mayor Boris Johnson prepares to fly to New York on a drum-beating trip to promote London. He is not currently incandescent.
» Hundreds of thousands of Londoners flock to the banks of the Thames to enjoy the Mayor's Thames Festival. All of them know exactly where the Thames is.

Sunday 13th September
» The poster-sized tube map continues to be pasted up at stations, although it's still not commonplace (and card versions remain rare).
» A few geeky tube types have correctly spotted that the river is missing from the new map, and are also busy discussing the implications of zonelessness.
» Hundreds of thousands more Londoners flock to the banks of the Thames to enjoy the second day of the Mayor's Thames Festival. All of them know still exactly where the Thames is.

Monday 14th September
» A few bloggers are running with the "Thames-free tube map" story, but the mainstream media are as yet oblivious.
» The new tube map is not yet available on the TfL website.
» The working week commences. The Thames has vanished, but most Londoners haven't noticed. They still think it's that wet thing between the Victoria Embankment and the South Bank.

Tuesday 15th September
» The Daily Telegraph is the first newspaper to realise that draining the Thames is a newsworthy story. Also noted are the possible negative implications of removing zones from the map.
» TfL reassures Londoners that there are many other ways in which zones can be checked, for example using the maps on trains and on ticket machines. They keep quiet about the Thames, but promise to listen to feedback.
» Old man river, he just keeps rolling.

Wednesday 16th September
» All hell breaks loose as the national and regional press leap on the story.
» The river removal scandal makes it to the Daily Mail, to the front cover of an evening freesheet and to several minutes on the BBC London evening news (amongst many others).
» The sudden loss of this fluvial icon is an abhorrent disaster and a national disgrace. Public groundswell demands reinstatement.
» "Why fix something that's not broken? The tube map was excellent the way it was, and the Thames was an essential part of the design."
» "i often use the position of the rivers as a basis for which station i need to get off at, this is a really daft idea, going to have to start catching busses so I can see where i am going."
» "they'll have employed a firm of consultants to make this decision, then another one to assess the outcry, then another one to reverse the decision...all paid for by you the stupid taxpayers...to all those people who voted Blair into power all those years ago, I hope you feel an ounce of responsibility and remorse at the joke Britain has become..."
» "Further erosion of English History by the Lunatic Left!!"
.
» The new tube map is still not yet available on the TfL website (because it's safest not to let the public actually see it).
» Evil TfL operatives continue to roll out the tainted Thames-free tube map across all stations on the network, the bastards.

Thursday 17th September
» Boris Johnson returns from New York to discover that London has a PR disaster on its hands. He moves fast, via Twitter, to reassure everyone that all will be well again. "Can’t believe that the Thames disappeared off the tube map whilst I was out the country! It will be reinstated... (1:30PM Sep 17th)"
» This is the same Boris who was IN the country when the maps were first installed. [Just landed in New York. Grey skies but special. (7:23PM Sep 12th)]
» This is the same Boris who, back in August, knew enough about the new tube map to offer his Twitter followers a sneak peek at its new cover. [Sneak peek at the new cover of the pocket Tube map by Turner Prize winner Richard Long for #TfL (9:52AM Aug 25th)]
» This is the same Boris who's the Chairman of TfL, and therefore jolly well ought to know what his organisation is doing, especially when they're printing hundreds of thousands of maps to a radical new design which must surely have been discussed at a Board meeting at least once.
» This is the same Boris who's now successfully passed the buck and come up smelling of roses as the People's Champion. "I hope Londoners will imagine the Thames in place until it reappears on the maps, and will not forget their beautiful river."
» So, yes, the upshot of this mega-furore is that the Thames is definitely going back on the tube map in December. The map'll need redoing anyway because the Circle line's being tweaked. No unexpected additional costs will be incurred.
» TfL are also "looking again at the provision of zonal information to ensure that it is widely available to customers". Which could mean that the zones go back on the map, or might just mean that they go back in the index.
» And then TfL said this: "We will also see what more can be done to respond to the feedback that we have been receiving on the map becoming too cluttered to be useful." And this is actually the best news of the day, whatever the rest of the media thinks.
Friday 18th September
» The Thames flows though London, as normal. Everybody knows where it is.


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