diamond geezer

 Wednesday, February 01, 2012

They've updated the timetables on the DLR. They said they would, in a "simpler, easy to read format", and at the start of this week they did. And yes, as feared, dumbing down has indeed occurred. There's no longer any pretence that this is a timetable at all, apart from giving the times of the first and last trains each day (which are the least likely trains you'll ever catch). The interval between services is given as a vague range ("Trains run every 4-10 minutes"), but with no indication of which gap occurs at which time of the day and on which day of the week. Rather than revealing "Trains to Canary Wharf depart 0529 and then every ten minutes until 0039", which would be useful throughout the day, passengers at all stations are now lumbered with intermediate temporal woolliness. The much simplified map will be greatly appreciated, I'm sure, and shows clearly how long it takes to reach stations further down the line. But only stations accessible via direct trains are now included, and there's no pictorial hint that trains may not serve all destinations at all times. At stations with complicated service patterns, for example anywhere on the bifurcated line to Stratford International, a tiny easily-overlooked footnote is now the only clue that some services run peak hours, off-peak or weekends only. And rather than one poster per platform, each station now has a single timetable sheet listing services in both directions, which means ploughing through additional extraneous noise to find one-way information. To be fair, DLR timetables have been redesigned to look nigh exactly the same as those which grace tube platforms, and which Londoners have used with minimal moaning for the last few years. But on a railway like the DLR which runs regular services pretty much perfectly to time, usually at the same minutes past each hour, this latest development is unnecessarily bland. Simpler, agreed. Easier-to-read, partly. Massive over-simplification concealing potentially useful scheduling information from the travelling public, alas yes. Because this is the week when the DLR's passenger-facing scheduling information slipped behind a curtain, replaced by a very deliberate emphasis on live-running updates only. If you're connected, check in and confirm. And if not, hell, just turn up and wait.

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