diamond geezer

 Thursday, April 04, 2019

Today we're at Stratford station, where a platform change was implemented in July last year.

Inexplicably passengers are still hearing about that platform change TWENTY-FOUR times an hour, NINE months later.

Is this London's Most Pointlessly Excessive Station Announcement?

The platform change affects the three Jubilee line platforms, and particularly platform 13.

Previously when you turned up to catch a Jubilee line train, you couldn't be certain whether the next train would leave from platform 13, 14 or 15.

The next train might be leaving from platform 13 or 14 or 15, and to discover which you had to squint at a tiny display, and maybe run down the platform to cram into the first carriage, and if you missed it you might have then to trek across to a completely different non-adjacent platform. This could be a right pain.

The problem was solved with the introduction of a new timetable which stopped trains terminating in platform 13. Now trains only arrive or depart from platforms 14 or 15, and these are immediately adjacent, so departing passengers always go to the same place and it's much easier to tell which train is leaving next.

Technically there are certain times when platform 13 is still used. These are early in the morning, late in the evening, on Sundays after 7pm and when the Night Tube's running. But most of the time it's definitely closed and every train uses platforms 14 and 15 instead.

If you turn up at the Jubilee line platforms, you will not head for platform 13. This is because...
a) there's no train in platform 13.
b) the next train indicator tells you to go to platform 14 or 15.
c) a sign at the end of the platform 13 tells you platform 13 is not in use.

It's not rocket science.

But staff at Stratford station still insist on playing a message telling passengers about the change astonishingly frequently.
"Jubilee line customers please note that platform 13 is closed from early morning until late in the evening.
Please make your way to platform 14 or 15 for Jubilee line departures.
Once again, platform 13 is closed.
Please use platform 14 or 15 for Jubilee line departures."
The message was recorded in a cheery blokey voice, once heard never forgotten.

The message plays across a large proportion of the station.

It plays in the subways.
It plays on the main concourse.
It plays on the lower DLR platforms.
It plays on the upper DLR platforms.
It even plays on the Jubilee line platforms themselves.

Nobody on the Jubilee line platforms needs to hear the message. They do not need advice to "make your way to platform 14 or 15 for Jubilee line departures" because they are already there.

The message plays every five minutes throughout the day.
The message plays TWELVE TIMES AN HOUR.

This is the same frequency as the message about travel disruption and engineering works.
This is more frequently than the message about contactless travel.
This is more frequently than the message about health and safety.
This is more frequently than the message about security.

And because the announcement includes the same information twice, that's a total of TWENTY-FOUR mentions an hour, which is overkill even for something important, which this message no longer is.

I've tried to work out why an announcement first recorded NINE months ago is still being played.

Regular travellers don't need to hear it because they already know what they're doing.
Semi-regular travellers don't need to hear it again because they must have heard it by now.
Occasional travellers don't need to hear it because there's a sign at the end of the platform to nudge them elsewhere.
Even travellers turning up for the first time don't need to hear it because it should be bloody obvious there isn't a train on platform 13.

Twenty-four times an hour.
Hundreds of times a day.
At least a thousand times a week.
Tens of thousands of times since July.

Why wasn't this unnecessary information silenced months ago?

Is this London's Most Pointlessly Excessive Station Announcement?

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