diamond geezer

 Wednesday, June 19, 2019

If you've waited at a Central London bus stop recently, you may have noticed that bus spider maps are changing.

A major rollout of these new-style maps occurred last weekend alongside significant changes to the central London bus network. With more than 20 routes no longer going where they used to, a heck of a lot of spider maps suddenly needed updating.

n.b. Most spider maps elsewhere haven't changed.
Here are some examples of the old style: Victoria, Bow Church, Gants Hill, Hainault
Here are some examples of the new style: Trafalgar Square, Baker Street, Aldgate, Southwark

Here's the old style map at St Paul's.

• Full length of every route shown
• Route numbers at end of route only
• Approximately geographically accurate
• Only shows routes serving the immediate area

• Central box focused on immediate area showing every stop (but no routes)
• Yellow tinted area including every bus stop up to one-and-a-half miles
• All bus stops named
• Outer area shows main stops only

• Route finder alongside map (for matching routes to stops)
And here's the new style map at St Paul's. (pdf)

• Routes shortened at edge of map
• Route numbers shown alongside route
• Approximately geographically accurate (as before)
• Shows routes which used to serve the immediate area

• Central box focused on immediate area showing every stop (but no routes) (as before)
• Map shows every bus stop up to approximately two-and-a-half miles
• Only significant bus stops named
• Arrow indicates route continues beyond two-and-a-half miles

• 'Where to catch your bus' shown on map at end of each route
• In place of the Route finder, a box entitled 'How to use this map'
The two styles are really quite similar, but also really quite different.

Probably the biggest change is that the new maps no longer show the entire route. On the St Paul's map, every route gets chopped off around the 2½ mile mark, assuming it goes that far.

Spider maps pasted up in bus shelters also include a Destination Finder, a long index showing points served, and this includes locations off the edge of the map. For example, Holloway, Seven Sisters and Stratford no longer appear anywhere on the St Paul's map, but they are in the index. Most bus passengers make short hops rather than long journeys, so you could argue that focusing on the immediate vicinity makes sense. But it makes taking a long distance journey harder, because a quick glance no longer tells you if any bus'll take you where you want to go.

The other really significant change is the loss of the Route Finder alongside the map. Previously if you knew you wanted to catch a particular route you could quickly check to see which local bus stops it stopped at. Now you have to find the route on the map and follow the coloured line to the end to find a small box in which the bus stop codes are listed. It all gets very cluttered in places. I'm unconvinced it's a step forward.

One further change is that spider maps now include routes that don't stop in the area, but used to. TfL have been sensitive to the charge that reshaping routes breaks connections, so are keen to explain how to continue your journey as you would have done before. For example, on the St Paul's map routes 242 and 388 are shown (in black), despite being cut back last weekend so they now reach no closer than Liverpool Street or Shoreditch. Extra text boxes have been added to explain the changes - relevant this month, but increasingly anachronistic as the months roll by.

Aside: I caught a couple of buses from St Paul's earlier in the week, and was surprised to hear several additional audio announcements advising how and where to change buses... Change at the next stop for a same-stop interchange to routes 76 and 100... Change here for route 25 towards Bank from stop SY in Cheapside... that kind of thing. I hope they're only temporary, because their scattergun irrelevance will likely drive regular travellers mad.

Overall the new spider maps are much busier than the old, with information more densely-packed. Shifting priorities mean long-distance information has been ditched in favour of more medium-range detail. Concealing bus stop information at the ends of lines rather than in a central table has made consulting the map slower than before. But on the (very) bright side, at least the new spider maps are still approximately geographically correct, rather than the godawful straightened-out diagrams TfL had previously been trialling around Hayes and Barkingside.

Overall I preferred the old style spider maps, and I know I'm going to find the new ones frustrating when trying to make a long journey from an unfamiliar location. I'd also query how straightforward they'll be for general use, especially by irregular travellers and tourists, given the sheer density of information. Any map which requires an instruction box this complicated can't be doing its job properly...

But hey, it could have been a lot worse, they could have scrapped them altogether.
(No need to leave a comment bemoaning the disappearance of the all-routes printed maps, let's take that as a given)

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
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