It must be a job trying to work out how the hell to keep the tube running without the whole thing collapsing into the ground in a big swill of people who finally heard ‘mind the gap’ once too often, literally pushing them over the edge where they fight, paw-on-fist with all of the mice, rats and ghosts in an untamed sea of raw, angry humanity.
Every time I step onto a Central Line platform I feel that this could happen but, thankfully, we’ve not got there yet – and the head honchos at TfL are trying everything in their power to make sure we don’t reach this point. Standing on both sides of the escalator, restricting entry to stations at busy times, urging people with megaphones to occupy the whole length of the platform. However, their latest ruse has left a lot of people scratching their heads.
They have laid down patches of bright green vinyl on the southbound platform of the Victoria Line at King’s Cross station in central London – as seen below:
You’ll immediately notice that the green patches lead up to the doors of the Tube.
Naturally, you’re thinking: it’s green for go, it’s directly in front of the tube doors, that means that’s where you’re supposed to stand, right?
Apparently it’s designed that passengers should not stop in the green lane – the idea being to ‘encourage’ people to spread out along the platform, and not hang around near the platform entrance or next to the train doors.
Yes, that’s right, apparently you’re not supposed to stand near the train doors. We’ve been doing it wrong all these years.
TfL spokesperson Ruben Govinden said: “We’re trying to encourage platform users to maintain a consistent behaviour. What people are told at the moment is ‘please move down the platform’ – they’re used to being asked that, so what we’re doing is looking to see if we can add a visual cue to that as well.”
According to Govinden, it’s currently just a trial, to see if it works and to gather feedback, which may include feedback on the choice of colour – green being chosen, he says, because “green is for go” – people are meant to walk on the green lanes, not stand still on them.
Getting people to spread out along the platform is an admirable aim – although I don’t want too many people doing it or I wouldn’t be able to get my nice empty carriage on the end any more – but this… doesn’t make any sense. All this is going to do, surely, is to alert people, via the green strips, to where the doors open and they will all stand there waiting… exactly as they do already.
Oh well, at least the man vs rodent scrum will be an entertaining watch.