diamond geezer

 Wednesday, August 08, 2018

TfL have just launched a big campaign to encourage us to go travelling and explore more of the cultural delights London has to offer. In particular they're nudging us beyond central London to enjoy some of the treasures to be found further out, and even more particularly they're encouraging us to travel off-peak.
With the summer holidays now well underway, Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new campaign encouraging Londoners and visitors to explore everything London has to offer through the 'Wonderful World of Off-Peak'.
Off-peak travel makes sense because it's less crowded, and more importantly cheaper. A cornerstone of the campaign is that tube travel in zones 2-6 only costs £1.50 off-peak, which is indeed a bargain, and can help family budgets stretch further than journeying into the middle of town. Throw in the fact that buses and trams only ever cost £1.50, and that under 11s always travel free, and potential days out only get better. All in all, it's a cracking idea for a promotion.

But TfL have thrown so much collateral at this campaign that the message is starting to get slightly muddled.
To help people plan days out across London this summer, TfL has partnered with Time Out to create a new interactive cultural map of London - www.timeout.com/culturaltflmap - highlighting cultural attractions close to more than 300 stations across London. A simple click on the stations highlighted on the map will reveal museums, art galleries and even street art near each station and plan a journey to the attractions using TfL's Journey Planner.
This is such a good idea it's amazing nobody's thought of it before. An official webpage with an interactive tube map, where you click on a tube station that interests you and up pops one or more places of interest nearby. Why not have a go here before continuing.

Time Out are the information providers, and have "curated" the "expert content" which appears throughout. It's impressively varied, from parks to nightclubs, nature reserves to theatres and museums to sports facilities. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel's in there, and the National Jazz Archive, and the Church of St Cyril of Turau, it's that eclectic. As a source of inspiration for getting out and about, it's top notch. Just take care if you decide to act on any of the ideas, though, because there are a number of 'issues' lurking underneath.

i) Some of the places are closer to another station, not the station indicated.
For example, the Natural History Museum is shown as being closest to Gloucester Road, but everyone knows you get there via South Kensington. For another example, the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park is shown as being closest to Bow Road, but is actually much closer to Mile End. Meanwhile Tower Hamlets Cemetery is shown as being closer to Devons Road DLR, but is actually closer to Bow Road. I suspect some of this shuffling has been done to make the map look more impressive, but apply caution if visiting.

ii) Some of the places are misspelled, or wrongly categorised.
My favourite misspelling is "The Painted Hall at Old Royal Navel College". Meanwhile at London Fields, the Lido has been categorised as 'Shopping'. And Woolwich Arsenal is allegedly on the District line.

iii) Some of the places are a long way from the station.
For example, Bentley Priory Museum is listed as 48 minutes walk from Stanmore, with no mention of the big hill you have to climb to get there, nor the 142 bus that'd ease your journey. For another example, Copped Hall is listed as 50 minutes walk from Epping or a ride on the number 13 bus, but the number 13 bus doesn't run on Sundays which is the only day Copped Hall is open.

iv) Several of the places are described as wheelchair accessible, but the closest station isn't wheelchair accessible.
For example, Tooting Market is described as wheelchair accessible, but wheelchair users cannot exit Tooting Broadway station. For another example, Sadler's Wells Theatre is described as wheelchair accessible, but wheelchair users cannot exit Angel station. There are dozens of such examples.

v) The map has not "ensured that no corner of this buzzing city is left untouched".
Certain parts of the capital are very much missing, for example Kingston, Sutton, Bexley and Bromley, because the tube and Overground don't go there. Other parts of the capital are very much missing because nobody found anything of interest, for example the entire tram network, the Overground north of Hackney, and the 'cultural desert' between Ruislip and Ealing. There again, Time Out have found some belters for Elverson Road, Elm Park and Eastcote, so let's not complain too much.

vi) Some of the suggestions are a bit nuts.
For example, Croxley Green is described as a "postcard-perfect English village". It very much isn't, even though it has nice bits, and I should know because I grew up there. Amazingly Time Out have two places to recommend in Croxley, the first being The Artichoke, "a rambling historical pub with an impressive flower basket selection. It has an exhaustive drinks list and serves up hearty pub classics." I've had some very nice lunches there, but seriously, do not drag yourself out of London for this. Secondly there's the Croxley Green Skate Park, a "wheelchair accessible" facility with "state of the art concrete ramps", which is indeed a much-loved hub for local youth but again, don't rush. Perhaps Time Out should stick to London and leave Hertfordshire to the professionals.

Which brings us to the second prong of the campaign, launching officially this Friday. Perhaps you remember the lovely line map which used to appear in Piccadilly line carriages showing the line snaking across the capital with various tourist hotspots highlighted. They updated the design a few years back, and now they've done a similar map for every other Underground line. These are intelligent, and diverse, and inclusive, and generally beautifully illustrated, and you can see the full set on Flickr here.
[Bak] [Cen] [Cir] [Dis] [H&C] [Jub] [Met] [Nor] [Pic] [Vic] [W&C] [Over]

I say beautifully illustrated, but Winston Churchill never looked like a shifty Mafioso, and I'm not convinced Brixton Market is best known for its Oriental food and pizzas, and Highgate Cematary is not spelt like that, and neither Maida Vale nor Kilburn High Road are the best stations for the Abbey Road zebra crossing, and the Crystal Palace dinosaurs look much less convincing than that, and the designers seem to have given up on finding much of interest in the east of the city, but overall these are charming, gorgeous, covetous posters. As multi-artist commissions go, this is a winner.

However, the Off-Peak slogan which appears in the top right corner of each map has been overlooked in the compilation of places to visit. Every map contains at least one venue in zone 1, and most of them contain several, so the message about off-peak travel in zones 2-6 costing only £1.50 has had to be ditched. The Circle line poster talks about "unlimited pay as you go travel for no more than £6.80 in zones 1-2", the District line poster mentions £8.00 for zones 1-3, the Hammersmith & City line says £9.80 for zones 1-4, the Bakerloo line is up to £11.60 for zones 1-5, and the Piccadilly line has to mention £12.50 for zones 1-6 on the off-chance you might want to go to Heathrow Airport. These are maps governed by the rules of daily capping, which isn't reduced for off-peak travel, so have ended up making tube travel look really expensive rather than appealingly cheap.

What we seem to have here are two different campaigns in collision, a "Wow there are so many places to visit by tube!" and a "Blimey in the suburbs it's only £1.50 to travel off-peak!" These are both great messages, but by including zone 1 venues one message has managed to invalidate the other. Whatever, there are indeed some brilliant places in London to visit cheaply by public transport, so keep your wits about you and get out there.

<< 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
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