diamond geezer

 Thursday, October 12, 2023

Inconsequential transport news

Escalator safety has always been a thing, but TfL have a new focus on keeping children's feet away from the edge. This follows two injuries at South Kensington last year and a nasty incident at London Bridge last month. But I'm not sure this poster was the best way to get the message across.

The graphic shows a child standing beside an adult, well away from the teeth at the edge. But it also breaks the cardinal rule of "standing on the right", indeed if every parent chose to behave this way it'd block walker-uppers and walker-downers across the capital. One safety message shouldn't contravene another.

I spotted that poster last week beside an escalator at King's Cross St Pancras and also at Stratford, so it's not just one overzealous stationmaster offering dud advice. Also I assume it's the child on the left blocking the flow but we don't know which way these offenders are travelling so it could be the adult in the wrong instead.

Then yesterday I saw a new version and it's as if somebody somewhere has seen the light. Suddenly the child is standing somewhere central, neither at risk from the edge of the escalator nor blocking the way of passers by. If they're both standing on the right that's an improvement, but if they're both standing on the left (coming up) that's actually worse. I wonder if this will turn out to be a short campaign or whether these posters will be a long-term sight beside our escalators in the future.

Route 108 has some new vehicles, electric leftovers from withdrawn routes 507 and 521. It's only the occasional vehicle so far, and they hardly have any seats so they're hardly ideal, and I've told you all that before. What I didn't mention is what I've since seen on the display screen as the bus approaches Stratford station.

Most London buses don't have a screen like this, it's only here because this used to be a pioneering commuter service and it's capable of showing all sorts of additional information. In this case the screen shows the other travel modes you can catch at the next stop, Stratford City Bus Station, three in words and the rest in symbols. Five of these are standard and correct - Underground, DLR, Overground, National Rail and Elizabeth line. And the other one is nuts.

It's the Eurostar symbol, and not even the current Eurostar symbol, it's the logo they replaced in January. What's ridiculous is that Eurostar trains don't stop at Stratford, they never have. The original plan was that they should, back when High Speed One was built, but that was promptly deemed uneconomic and facilities were duly mothballed. More importantly Eurostar couldn't possibly stop at this Stratford station because they built a completely separate station called Stratford International... so what on earth is this symbol doing here?

Route 108 goes nowhere near St Pancras, the only Eurostar station in London, so it can't be a mix up with that. Stratford station doesn't have a direct link to St Pancras, only Stratford International does, so it can't be that. And route 108 actually terminates at Stratford International, so even if there's been an insane mixup between the two stations the duff symbol should be there and not at Stratford. It's of little consequence. But it makes absolutely no sense.

Have you wondered what the Hallowe'en special is at the Dangleway this year? Well wonder no more. It's the IFS Cloud Cable Car Spider Squad Experience. Trick or treat?

There are two options. One is a return trip across the river plus an immersive experience inside a spider-infested workshop. Fight your fears as you try to spot the spiders' nests without getting caught, but watch out their venom is deadly, or so it says. This option costs £35 per adult and £22.50 for a child, or £90 for a family of five. Or there's a cheaper version where you only do the spider-spotting, you don't ride the cablecar, and for a family that's £45. According to the spidery writing on the side of the North Greenwich terminal it's suitable for those aged 12 and over, but this advisory message is not mentioned if you book online.

The experience is only available from October 21st-31st inclusive, because this attraction has been perfectly targeted for half term. But the terminals are already plastered with sticky spiders bringing a premature Hallowe'en vibe to the aerial crossing, so if you want a minor Spider Squad experience you can head down already. Don't come next week because the Dangleway will be shut for annual maintenance, reopening on the 21st. And if you suffer from arachnophobia maybe give the Dangleway a miss and come back in November, or anytime, please.

Sometime in August a central London bus stop disappeared. That's Apothecary Street, which was formerly bus stop K on New Bridge Street and is now a blank space on the pavement where a pole and shelter used to be.

A reader emailed to say it used to be her stop when going home from work but when she got back after three weeks' holiday it had completely vanished. And yet there's no clue why. According to the local Blackfriars spider map it still exists. According to the TfL website it still exists, and no pop up message appears to say it might be closed. If you catch route 63, which used to stop here, Apothecary Street still comes up on the display even though it isn't there. I tried that and dinged the bell to alight, but the driver didn't even slow down and carried me on to the next stop on Blackfriars Bridge.

It's a complete mystery. The pole is properly gone, replaced by tarmac infill. There are no obvious building works hereabouts. The bus stop across the road (Bus Stop J) still exists. Citymapper still lets you plan journeys to and from it. The stop has been removed from the sequence for route 40 but not for route 63. According to the Streetcare app the only recent issue is that someone reported minor graffiti here in June and that was cleaned off. My reader even emailed TfL to ask what was going on and they said they'd get back, but that was four weeks ago and they haven't. So who knows?

And this isn't actually inconsequential, it means a longer walk to catch a bus. But the other news was mostly irrelevant, sorry.

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