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Goodbye, Thames

I'll miss the Thames. Its pale blue meanderings gave sense to the bright tangle of Tube lines on the Underground map, kept it real and oriented. Now, without it, it's a scattering of dots and lines, ungrounded. It also looks revived, shaped by an older design sensibility. (Which makes sense, since it was not an original feature of the design.)

It's also disingenuous to take the zones off of the map. Perhaps TFL is hoping to up the odds of tourists buying the wrong kind of ticket and thus be charged penalty fares?. (Map change article.)



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
Nope, they're putting the Thames back on! They've backed down!

Also, not all Tube maps have the zones marked - you specifically need a zone map for that.
Sep. 18th, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
The default pocket ones have had the zones marked since about 2002.
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
I was literally just reading something on the BBC that says they're putting the river back on again, because so many people complained.
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
Zones are a surprisingly recent feature to appear on the standard tube map: 2002, apparently. I agree though that they and the river should be put back on. I also strongly dislike the decision to make the National Rail logo blue instead of red: it looks plain odd like that.

But I can appreciate the thought that went behind it. Particularly in the last few years the tube map has had all sorts of clutter added to it. The East London Line replacement bus information, the random aeroplane signs at stations that you can catch a mainline service to an airport at (but without specifying which airport, making them more or less useless), the attempts to show the service patterns at Kennington and Earls Court, the use of little numbers to indicate the Canary Wharf DLR/tube interchange etc, the daggers everywhere (every ELL station is daggered, all with the same note), the inline notes at some NR stations (Moorgate and Old Street) that there is no weekend service, but not at Cannon Street that there is no Sunday service... So some cleanup was welcome. The one thing the new map didn't do was try to come up with a more aesthetic device for step-free access (which is of questionable utility, because that map doesn't tell you where you can change between lines step-free even if you can't get to the surface.)
Sep. 18th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
One of the commenters to the BBC article somehow got quoted on the follow-up article, I think because he was probably the only person supporting the new map. "It is so much clearer," he said, "and if people want a map with zones, they only have to look at the London Connections map which is displayed alongside."

Because you know using 2 maps when 1 would suffice makes so much sense.
Sep. 18th, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)
Yay for putting it back. I looked at the new map, and was really annoyed at how much I needed to think in order to orient myself. I kind of like the zones, too, although never worry too much about them because of my trusty Oyster card.

But the lack of the Thames? It makes the map less useful to people like me, who need several different landmarks for visualizing where I am.
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
Hmm, over in Seoul, South Korea, the subway maps have no topological references at all. This is for security reasons. Perhaps the transport folks in London are doing it for the same reason but aren't admitting to it?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )