Saturday, 14 May 2016

Transforming Troglodyte Travel (1)

Surely a Better Way?
Crossing London is often stressful and rarely pleasant. London's underground is nearly always busy, hot and full of people in a hurry. When fbb goes to Sheffield (a not uncommon occurrence these days) he usually travels from Waterloo northbound on the Northern Line in the rear of the train. A quick nip down the short linking passage takes him to the Piccadilly line, also rear of the train, to alight just right for the escape from Kings Cross Underground.

Then there is the monstrous trek through tunnel and passageway the via the full length of Barlow's glorious train shed ...
... to get to the sheep pens (with no seating) and await release on to the platform for East Midlands Trains' zoom up north.
As the effluxion of time takes its toll on fbb's overburdened physique, the troglodyte trek becomes more tiring.

So why not go by bus?

The wonderfully self-proud Transport for London doesn't make it easy for the untrained occasional visitor. Notwork Rail, operator of Waterloo Station helps not a jot. The assumption is that everyone will be in a mad rush and go by Underground or taxi. By Bus? You must be mad!

Here is the sign above-head as you exit the station platform.
The white print directs folk to station facilities and taxis; the yellow text shows the way to each of the many exits. NO MENTION OF BUSES.

If you know the secret and go on-line and look for the "Local Maps" in the "Station Facilities" page, you would normally find the location of "buses" - if any. But for Waterloo this graphic only adds confusion.
Every red blob is a bus stop, unlabelled and unloved.

You may be lucky to find a sign on the station concourse directing you to "buses"; but be not deceived, there are several ways to different "buses". BUT YOU HAVE TO KNOW.

Even if you do know, there is always the slight fear that something may have changed. Here is the unhelpful sing that fbb will be following.
There are up and down escalators and they are usually working. Good.
There is a gloomy badly lit tunnel. Not Good. Off-peak, it is usually deserted; again slightly worrying. Then at the end you rise majestically into the light of day, but without escalation. Very Poor.
If you are brave enough to linger in the gloom your eyes might alight on a poster like this.
It is a London Transport "Spider" map. At the centre of the spider's web is the crawly beast's lair, namely lettered stops around Waterloo Station.
In an outburst of un-coordination, the road Tennison Way (lettered as exit 4 from the main concourse) is not mentioned but there are an unlabelled line of dots which might be the subway link. But hooray; there is an index and a map. The latter shows a route 59 to St Pancras ...
... and the index confirms the detail and guides you to the correct stop.
And fbb has just missed one! Bot do not worry, there'll be another along in a minute.

Of course, because it's London, you have no idea how long you might have to wait because there are no timetables. Robert Munster reveals the secret that Transport for London don't want you to know.
It is every 6/7 minutes or about 9 buses every hour. fbb waited for four minutes!

More about the journey tomorrow.

Whither Webber's Web?
Despite the demise of Webberbus after business on Thursday, their web site was still in full swing yesterday evening ...
... complete with all their (non-existent) timetables.

First's Ferro-equinological Fiesta
And more First Group positive news. The media revealed yesterday that the group's rail division had won the battle of the paths. To the dismay of Virgin and the chagrin of Alliance Rail, First will operate five "open access" trips daily between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh.

FirstGroup claims it will keep average fares at less than £25 and will offer free wi-fi on its trains. It says its services will mainly rival the budget airlines such as Ryanair.

Steve Montgomery ...
... managing director of FirstGroup’s rail division, said the company was “delighted” with the ORR’s decision, which he said would see the firm increase the number of people on the railways by taking customers from airlines and coach.

So far, the group's bus boss has made no official comment!

 Next 59 blog : Sunday 15th May 


  1. Andrew Kleissner14 May 2016 at 06:46

    I know that you're nota great fan of having to look things up online, and I certainly agree with you about non-existent or poor signage.

    However, if you use the Journey Planner on the TfL website, telling it that you want to go from Waterloo to St. Pancras stations and deselecting all the options except bus, it will come up with the right answer (including giving you the bus stop letters). Equally, entering "Waterloo" into the "Maps" page will give you the details of where the stops all are. I think that's pretty good, and I know that TfL are good at updating such things as road closures and diversions.

  2. True, Andrew. But that is no excuse for poor signs on the station. Even with the on-line knowl;edge it is not easy to translate that into reality. Tomorrow's blof will show how SNCF does it in Paris.

  3. Isn't the barrier line picture of the entrance to the basement platforms used by Thameslink, rather than EMT's upstairs?

  4. Whoops, Shieldsman. It is! It's me weary old eyed and even wearier brain playing tricks again. Thanks for the correction!