diamond geezer

 Thursday, August 22, 2019

I was at Tower Hill station and needed a tube map, so I picked one up...

...except it wasn't a proper tube map, it just looked like one.

It was a Getting around Central London map, dated June 2019 - an official TfL publication printed with the tourist in mind.

Opening it up I found an enlarged tube map with a bright blue stripe across the top and the edges of the capital chopped off. Along the way I passed a brief exhortation to Catch a London bus. And unfolding the sheet fully revealed a Santander Cycles and Walking leisure routes map and a London River Services map.

The tube map is unusual. It purports to be of Central London, but stretches a heck of a lot further east than in other directions. To the west roughly Hammersmith... to the south approximately Stockwell... but to the east all the way to Upminster. It's hard to imagine tourists wanting to go to Newbury Park, Chadwell Heath or Hornchurch, but here they are. Wembley and its stadium, meanwhile, have been deliberately erased.

The tube map is nice and big so is much clearer to use than the usual squinty thing. But if you look more closely along the top edge of the map, following an inch-wide strip running to the north of Camden Town, there is an appalling litany of errors. It may even be the worst attempt at an official tube map TfL have ever produced.

• Kilburn station has no name, and the wheelchair symbol is headless
• Beyond Kilburn, no stations
• The dotted line at West Hampstead fails to connect the two stations
• 'Finchley Road & Frognal' has been written over the top of the orange Overground line
• Belsize Park is named, but has no station
• Gospel Oak is missing
• Upper Holloway links to a station (Archway) that is not named
• Upper Holloway is not on any line because the Goblin is missing
• One of Highbury & Islington's step free blobs is missing, so the East London line does not terminate properly
• Canonbury appears, but only on one branch of the Overground, and is not named
• Seven Sisters appears, but is not named
• Blackhorse Road appears, but is not named
• Walthamstow Queens Road is named, but has no station
• Stratford International's step free blob is misplaced, so the DLR line does not terminate properly
• Wanstead and Gants Hill appear, but are not named
• The 'F' of 'Forest Gate' crashes into the blue TfL Rail line
• Emerson Park is missing
• Upminster Bridge is missing

It's as if the majority of the map has been drawn by a professional but the top 3cm has been redrawn by someone on work experience.

In better news sixteen river piers have been included, each with a special blob on the bank of the Thames, which is something I've not seen on a tube map before. Each pier is labelled so you can check its name in the key, and each is linked via a dotted line to its nearest tube station. The use of boat symbols is inconsistent, however. Canary Wharf has a boat symbol but isn't linked to a pier. Pimlico is linked to a pier but doesn't have a boat symbol. Needs further thought.

Unfolding fully to view the Santander Cycles and Walking leisure routes map, this only covers a letterbox-shaped strip of central London from Kensington Gardens to the Tower. The Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre is on the map. The British Museum is not.

This particular longitudinal slot has been chosen because the map exists solely to showcase TfL's new cycling Leisure routes in the hope that tourists will stump up £2 to hop on a bike and follow them. The sightseeing route is essentially the Serpentine to Blackfriars via Buckingham Palace and Westminster, divided up into the Hyde Park Loop, the Royal Loop and the Thames Loop. Meanwhile around the periphery are the Park Explorer, Cultural Explorer and Tower Explorer sections - nebulous entities which exist to funnel riders into the main loops.

The cycle and walking map isn't really designed for walking, alas, because routes that are ideal for bikes aren't generally optimal for pedestrians. Any sane tourist would walk through St James's Park, not round it, and follow the actual South Bank rather than the backstreet one block behind. But as a primer for how and where to cycle through central London relatively safely these Leisure routes could be damned useful.

As for the London River Services map, this is nothing unusual but should still be invaluable for the target audience. Fares aren't mentioned, namely the whopping premium you're paying to enjoy a river view, but the summary of what sails where and when is helpfully comprehensive. I was intrigued to see that a new pier called Royal Wharf is 'expected to open summer 2019', just upstream of the Thames Barrier, because it very much hasn't opened yet. I went down yesterday to see how the construction of London's longest pier is getting on, and can report that so far only the first gangway has been completed. The second (longer) arm is absent, the pontoon where boats will moor is currently just two stumps poking out of the water, and bankside access is currently blocked by a building site. So maybe next year.

And yes, the Dangleway gets a prominent mention on the back cover. The big message is to "Book online to receive a 20% discount', even though nobody with an Oyster card or contactless card actually needs to prebook, they can simply turn up and swipe through the barriers. But TfL prefers not to mention this because this way they get your money even if the weather's crap, plus they can also try and upsell you a return ticket and a visit to the Emirates Advertorial Experience.

In summary, the Getting around Central London map is a marketing tool, plugging TfL's paid-for services in the hope that visitors to the capital will use as many of them as possible. A trip on the river, a dangle, a hired bike, a bus ride and a tube journey could tot up to £20, helping to fill Sadiq's budgetary black hole, so it pays to leave this full colour promotional leaflet lying around in ticket halls. As a Londoner you won't need a copy, but it might be fun to grab one anyway so that you can claim to have TfL's worst ever tube map in your collection.

<< 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
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