diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 08, 2015

TfL's signwriters haven't been making a good job of re-signing the Overground.

This was Theobalds Grove in May.

I happened to be passing at the time, which was unfortunate, and the resulting photograph reverberated around social media for a day or two. The Hertfordshire Mercury was of course very interested, and TfL were embarrassed enough to provide an apology, which the Evening Standard duly printed.

A Transport for London spokeswoman said: "We are aware that a small number of misspelt signs were put up for a short period of time at Theobalds Grove today. They have been removed and are being replaced with the correct signage."

But had anyone learned a lesson?

Seemingly not, because this was Walthamstow Central yesterday.

Dan happened to be passing at the time, as presumably were thousands of other people, and he took this photo which was widely mocked on Twitter. The Walthamstow Guardian was of course very interested, and TfL were again embarrassed enough to provide an apology, which the Evening Standard duly printed.

Jon Fox, TfL’s Director of London Rail, said: "We are aware that a small number of mis-spelled signs were put up at Walthamstow Central today. They will be replaced tonight with the correct signage.”

It takes a special approach to project management to make the same type of glaring public mistake twice on the same Overground rollout programme, a couple of months apart. The incorrect vowel at Theobalds Grove and dropped aitch at Walthamstow Central strongly hint at a slapdash approach to signwriting, or an absence of quality management processes, or more likely both. I mean, how can any team erect a station sign somewhere as well known as Walthamstow and not realise its spelling is incorrect?

Oh, and do take another look at TfL's two apologies reprinted above. Management now have a standard public response when this kind of thing happens, first admitting to being "aware of a small number" of problematic signs, and then confirming that "they will be replaced". But in the first apology they've described the incorrect signs as "misspelt", and in the second as "mis-spelled". If they can't even spell that word consistently, what hope is there?

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