Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

For want of a sign

Posted in Customer service, London, Metro by Chairman Pip on 29 March 2012

There was something that caught my eye in the evening paper yesterday, in relation to The Tube, a programme on BBC2 that has been garnering high praise showing, as it does, the people that keep London’s great transport marvel running as smoothly as it does. Richard Godwin’s column included a line from a driver on the merits of the Piccadilly Line:

Every time every other line goes up the wall, they’re doing weekend engineering works, what line is always running to carry the burden? The Piccadilly. The premier, perfect Piccadilly. The Piccadilly line, if it was a mate of yours, it’d be a mate where you’d say ‘He doesn’t say a lot, he’s very cool, but when the shit hits the fan, he pulls it out the bag every time’.

I’d never really thought of the Piccalli like that to be perfectly honest. But it is symptomatic, apparently, of just how well those people that work on the Tube get on with things. So why then did we get a second piece concerning the Tube in the very same evening paper last night?

“Oyster card-holders ‘fined’ £4.60 a time for walking through Paddington station”

This is the story that people going to the Hammersmith & City platforms at Paddington are, for some reason, entering the station using the Praed Street entrance, then having to exit that part of the tube station, walk through the main train shed and up to another set of barriers to enter what is the Bishop’s Road part of the tube. The Oystercard system allows a set amount of time to make that walk, before it then charges you the maximum fare, in this case £4.60p. So, if you dawdle, you’re getting charged. Naturally people are complaining about this, but it occurs to me that there is a simple way around the problem. If you need the Hammersmith & City line at Paddington, don’t go through a barrier at one of the Praed Street entrances. Just walk through the main entrance to Paddington station, where there are no barriers. This is where the staff at the tube station should be showing their helpfulness. Is it beyond the realms of possibility that they could produce signage that could be put up in both the Circle/District and Bakerloo entrances that says “For Hammersmith & City line, please go through the main line station”, making it very clear that you could get charged for swiping in and out and in again. How hard can it be?



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