How many times have you been at an Underground station in the heat of the summer, places to go, people to see? Wishing that the person standing behind you would take a few steps back? Honestly, touching your bum once is maybe excusable but three times will land you in court. When suddenly over the crackling speakers that universally nasal voice informs you without a hint of sympathy that your train is delayed/cancelled/abducted by Moon People! Frustrating isn’t it?
Next time it happens, though, bear in mind that the station you’re standing on may well be getting on for 150 years old, built for a city less populated, and not so demanding.
Compare that to the estimated 2.93 million that use the entire network on a daily basis…
When it first opened in 1863 the Metropolitan Railway, what we now know as the Metropolitan line and the Hammersmith & City line, served only 26,000 daily commuters. Compare that to the estimated 2.93 million that use the entire network on a daily basis and you can’t help wondering how it all doesn’t collapse under the weight of all those briefcases.
When you consider that around a billion journeys are taken on the Underground per year, and that the vast majority of it is open seven days a week, it is almost miraculous that the there are so few delays.
Transport for London has the unenviable task of making sure the 270 stations are served by a timely service…
Transport for London has the unenviable task of making sure the 270 stations are served by a timely service that is set to be in even greater demand when the Olympic Games come to town next year.
TFL’s upgrade programme has seen improvements across the lines and now trials are being conducted into an air cooling system, plus underground Wi-Fi and mobile phone coverage.
…faster with less bum touching.
Newer signalling systems are being fitted on the Jubilee Line which means more trains can run on the line per hour; this has been delayed, but with 22 miles of track to cover it’s not too surprising there have been difficulties.
With TFL spinning all these plates across the 250 mile Underground network maybe they can be forgiven for making us a bit late in the short term if the service is generally improved for the future. If everything goes to plan then we will soon be able to get further, faster with less bum touching.