diamond geezer

 Friday, January 06, 2017

If you're out and about in London over the weekend, are there any closures on your TfL service?

A big poster in your local station ticket hall should have the answer. Except that this weekend, the big poster's format has changed.

Previously there was a map at the top of the poster, and then a list of the individual closures underneath. Now there's only a list. This week's map would have looked something like this.

I copied this from the TfL website, where the map of closures still exists. But on the new station poster, as of this weekend, the map is no more.

At least we still have the list, and it's in bigger writing too. All this weekend's closures are listed, first in alphabetical order by tube line, followed by the London Overground and TfL Rail. Two of the references are to long term station closures, and two are long term line closures. Mixed in with these are five weekend-long track closures, one Sunday-only closure and two late night midweek closures.

Also on display is the poster below, or at least it is in my local tube station. This only shows closures on the Underground - see how the logo in the top left corner is different? And there are only five closures on the Underground, so the font is larger, and even easier to read.

We don't yet know whether the removal of the map is a temporary or permanent change. Given it's the start of a new year, I suspect it's permanent. But is this a bad change or a good change?

 Bad changeGood change
• The map was really useful.
• The map provided a quick overview you could glance at.
• The map allowed you to quickly confirm whether your part of town was or wasn't affected.
• Passengers now have to stop and read the board.
• Passengers now have to assimilate several separate lines of information to gather the full information.
  ...for example, are there any trains on the Hammersmith branch this weekend?
  ...for example, are there any trains between Notting Hill Gate and High Street Kensington this weekend?
  ...for example, are there any trains between Baker Street and Kings Cross St Pancras this weekend?
• There's no additional information, only less information.
• This is pointless dumbing down.
• The font is larger.
• The writing's easier to read.
• The map was misleading because it looked like all the closures lasted all weekend, which if you read underneath often wasn't true.
• Having an Underground-specific poster keeps all the Overground mess out of the way.
• Everyone plans their route online these days, don't they, so who cares about a map?
• TfL will have saved money by not having to draw a new map every week.
You say• The pictogram is very non-standard.
• Any diagrammatical representation is better than mere text to those without a full grasp of English.
• Most information-giving things are now going from words to pictures.
• "I have no idea if where I want to go is between two places in outer London I've never been to."
• The map allowed regular travellers to see quickly whether their lines were clear (walk past), or whether they needed to read the text (stop and look).
• Removes 'at a glance' functionality.
• Tourists were often seen looking at the old maps in a confused way thinking it showed current status.
• People were using the map for route-finding, for which purpose it was spectacularly poor.
• The map was always uselessly small.
• I never looked at the map, so losing it doesn't matter.
• Less is more.
bad change comments
good change comments

Do add your own comments to the appropriate box, and I'll add them to the table later. But it is a bad change isn't it? Unless of course you think otherwise.

Meanwhile, some further thoughts...
» Here's an image of what the posters used to look like.
» If you check this weekend's map on the TfL website, you'll see there's an extra line closure which isn't mentioned on the poster. The Overground is apparently closed on Sunday between Highbury & Islington and Shadwell, and between Surrey Quays and New Cross, until 1400. That's going to come as a nasty surprise.
» If you check this weekend's map on the TfL website, you'll see TfL Rail is also closed after 23:00 on Sunday east of Gidea Park. There's no mention in the list.
» The two late night midweek Overground closures are described on the poster in two peculiarly different ways. One says "Open until 22:45" and the other says "No northbound service after 23:00". On a poster where everything else, by default, is a closure, the first of these stands out as inconsistent.
» You can of course check for future closures on the TfL website, not just for this weekend but for the next month (on a map) or the next six months (in a list).
» The first ever line closure on the Night Tube is coming up in a couple of weeks. "JUBILEE LINE: Saturday 21 January, between 0015 (northbound), 0100 (southbound) and 0530, no service between Stanmore and Waterloo." It's not immediately clear whether that's 'the early hours of Saturday morning' or 'at the end of service on Saturday night'. No replacement buses will be provided.
» If your bit of line isn't TfL controlled, you're at the mercy of your local rail operator to keep you informed. The TfL website is supposed to have a summary page showing all the planned National Rail disruption in London this weekend, but it's been blank for two years, despite the promise of "status maps coming soon", so I think we can assume they've given up.

9am update:
» TfL have circulated a fresh poster to stations, including the additional closures they left off the first poster. Here it is.
» There are now three different ways to show closure for part of a day ("Open until...", "Open from..." and "No service after...")

10am update:
» It's been pointed out that TfL's weekly Weekend travel information email always used to include a link to a map showing planned closures for this weekend. This week's email has no such link.

2pm update (from a TfL internal document):
"Over the past year, we have been continuously working with research agency 2CV to better understand what customers think about the posters on our whiteboards. From now, the posters on our station whiteboards will have fewer words, more colour, more graphics and simpler information, with the most important information shown first. This is so that our posters stand out and quickly communicate what is most important. For example, the weekly closures poster will no longer contain a Tube map as over 90% of customers surveyed said they found it confusing rather than helpful."

"The research also highlighted the ways in which our staff play a vital role in getting messages across and how we can make their jobs easier. During the consultations, staff said that they found the new posters were clearer, stood out better and helped them direct customers better during closures."

"All of the changes are supported by trials with customers and staff at Liverpool Street, Brixton and King’s Cross St. Pancras stations."
So the maps won't be coming back. If you understood the previous version of the poster, congratulations, you're amongst the top 10% most-information-savvy tube passengers. Either that, or the research agency asked the wrong question at the wrong stations.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream