diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 15, 2013

WATERLOO & CITY: New timetable

A new timetable begins on the Waterloo & City line today. Which might seem a bit stupid, because the Sunday timetable on the Waterloo & City line looks like this.

Waterloo & City line timetable 
Sundays (& public holidays)
all dayno trains

But there are changes on other days of the week, and they're for the better.

Here's the new weekday timetable for the W&C.

Waterloo & City line timetable 
Mondays to Fridays
06.15-09.30every 3 mins
09.30-10.30every 3½ mins
10.30-16.15every 5 mins
16.15-19.15every 3 mins
19.15-21.30every 3½ mins
21.30-23.30every 6 mins
23.30-00.30every 10 mins

The bit that's changed is the yellow bit. Previously the Waterloo & City line used to wind down after 9pm and stop completely around half past. The closure of this one-stop line inconvenienced few, because by mid-evening the rush of City-folk returning to Waterloo is long gone. From tomorrow, however, TfL is keeping the line open until after midnight. This at last offers late-evening revellers the opportunity to ride between Bank and Waterloo, with last trains matching times typically seen on other lines. Trains will run at least every six minutes until eleven thirty, then at ten minute intervals until end of service. Excellent news, huh?

Even better, here's the new Saturday timetable for the W&C.

Waterloo & City line timetable 
before 08.00no trains
08.00-18.30every 5 mins
18.30-23.30every 6 mins
23.30-00.30every 10 mins

The bit that's changed is the yellow bit. Previously the Waterloo & City line stopped dead at half past six in the evening, meaning that anyone turning up in the evening found locked gates. Now it's going to run all the way through to half past midnight, that's an extra six hours. Trains will run as frequently as every six minutes (or every ten minutes for the last hour of service). Again this is excellent news, recognising that Londoners do travel via the City on Saturday evenings and providing additional journey options.

But you could question this decision. The Waterloo & City line is the least used on the Underground, not just because it has only two stations but also because it's rush-hour oriented. Travel in the opposite direction to the commuter rush, or at any time outside peak hours, and trains are rarely busy. Even though the line's been marked on tube maps for years, people just don't see it, or use it, or need it, to speed up their journeys around the capital. Indeed according to official TfL figures, on average only 4064 customers currently ride the W&C on a Saturday. That's an average of 400 passengers an hour, which makes the service even less busy than the cablecar. Why are TfL subsidising a Saturday evening service that almost nobody will use? And what's the point of running a late-evening weekday service for a handful of late-working bankers? When TfL are busy cutting corners on ticket offices and making buses cashless, why splash out extra resources on this white elephant service?

TfL's press release offers no answers. It concentrates on simultaneous improvements being rolled out on the Central line, which include more trains at the height of the rush hour and (thank heaven) more frequent trains on Saturdays and Sundays. This is truly excellent news, reducing the overcrowding often experienced on the Central line at weekends. But as for the Waterloo and City, Boris's spirited hyperbole seems somewhat misplaced.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'The Tube is already more efficient than ever before, zipping passengers across our city to their homes and workplaces like a well-oiled machine. Now we are increasing services on the Waterloo & City and Central lines, giving passengers what they have asked for and helping to further ease congestion.'
This month's timetable upgrade on the Waterloo and City line won't ease congestion, because late in the evenings and on Saturdays there isn't any. Indeed there's surely no business case whatsoever for the change, only a public-spirited desire to provide a better more logical service. And I'd say that's an excellent reason, and one to be warmly applauded. No longer will Londoners have to stop and think "ooh, I wonder if the Waterloo and City line is open at the moment?" That decision can now be summarised by this very simple timetable.

Waterloo & City line timetable 
Sundaysno trains

Never on Sundays. But on any other day of the week, the Waterloo & City line is open for business.

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