TFL and some Graphic Grumblings

It’s no secret that we at London Locomotion enjoy some commuter complaining. It’s a time to revel in our community, to stand arm in arm with our fellow tube-goers (like we have a choice) and say: “Hey TFL, go eff yo’selves!…luv ya really xxx”

But it seems that, when push comes to shove (as it always does), we commuters eschew the official channels of complaint. According to TFL records, they receive very few complaints about the London Underground. Like, very, very few. In fact, 2012 saw just was 2.27 people per 100,000 complaining for the full year. Now, call us crazy – loco even – but this just seems pitiful. Come on, commuters, think about the delays! The smell! The rats! Rise up and complain, for god’s sake!

In the meantime, here’s a pretty graph to show you how ungrumbletastic our community really is. And if that doesn’t stir you, think about this….CYCLISTS moan more than us. And they’re supposed to be hippy happy all the bloody time.

Meanwhile, as a means of inspiration, here are the top reasons for complaint made to TFL about the Tube. ‘Other’ takes the biggest slice. I’m hoping that includes at least one person complaining about the lack of tube-complaining.

London transport’s passenger growth – in numbers

The Office of Rail Regulation has revealed passenger numbers for the year up until March 2012, and they read a healthy growth at almost every level of the network. Passenger numbers for the 17 Network Rail-owned stations, of which all but six are London termini, are up by almost 5%, and every single train operating company using London has had an increase in passenger numbers:

Train operating companies

What interests us the most is the massive growth in passengers of London Overground:

Passenger Number Increase

Heavy investment in London railways will deliver overwhelming untapped demand, it appears, and these statistics don’t even cover the last twelve months when the orbital extension opened. We’re promised longer Overground trains as passenger numbers balloon, and it’s led Boris to want to extend TfL reach into Southeastern’s Kent commuter belt.

Crossrail 2 fans should take heart from this affirmation that growing London’s transport infrastructure looks like it will find a willing – and paying – audience.

I’ll leave you with the Guardian’s pretty amazing map of every train station in the country’s passenger number change. We counted that only 17 of London’s 366 railway stations lost passengers, including Finsbury Park – which lost a whopping 12% of their passengers – Elephant & Castle and Cannon Street.

Royal Baby (and co) On Board

Aside

Commuters got a royal treat today when they found themselves sharing the tracks with Kate Middleton, the Queen and Prince Phillip.

The big three were visiting Baker Street Station as part of the tube’s 150th anniversary celebrations. They were led down to Platform 1, the northbound Metropolitan line, where they were shown a new S7 train – named, so fittingly, Queen Elizabeth II. As well as its royal moniker, the cutting-edge train has other impressive attributes, including high-tech air-conditioning and walk-through carriages.

Later, the Royal Party were shown a restored ‘Jubilee’ coach, dating back to 1892. And to end it all, London Underground’s chief operating officer Howard Collins presented the Duchess with a ‘Baby on Board!’ badge, given to pregnant women to encourage the rest of us out of our seats – and to save us the embarrassment of offering up a chair to a slightly overfed woman.

So tell us, did you spy these eager commuters? And did the Queen have enough credit on her Oyster?

Kate being presented with her 'Baby on Board' badge

Kate being presented with her ‘Baby on Board’ badge

(Photo: Daily Mail/PA)

The Sweetest Thing

Margaret McCollum. Photo: Now Here This

This is almost certainly what U2 were talking about.*

The voice of Oswald Laurence has returned to Embankment station to warn us all to “Mind the gap” – after his widow was disappointed not to hear his voice when she used the station in November.

Laurence used to voice the announcements for all northbound Northern Line trains, but they were phased out, until the only place you could still hear his voice was at Embankment station. 

His widow, Dr Margaret McCollum, travelled via Embankment on November 1, expecting to hear her late husband’s announcement, only to realise that TfL no longer used it.

After she approached TfL to find out why, TfL gave Dr McCollum a recording of the announcement, and then went one better, promising to restore Laurence’s voice to Embankment.

Yet further proof that the London Underground is just packed full of romance.

*DISCLAIMER: This is almost certainly not what U2 were talking about.