Friday, 12 October 2012

Abbey Road

Hi foreign readers, and specifically occasional tourists to London.  Did you know that Transport for London loves you (yeah, yeah, yeah)?

People who know me personally are likely surprised it's taken so long for me to shoehorn The Beatles into my blog, but I was just biding my time...

I was looking at that picture that's been doing the rounds recently, you know - the one which allegedly has 75 tube stations cryptically (or not, in some cases) contained in the image?  I got 48 unaided, in case you're interested, and have not managed to find all 75 yet.  Anyway, while comparing to a tube map to try and get the last 32, I noticed a DLR station I'd never seen before: Abbey Road.

We all know the image credit by now, right?

'That's weird,' I thought to myself.  'That's not where Abbey Road is.'  Of course, I knew there was likely to be more than one Abbey Road in London, but I figured the famous one was just so famous that no-one would name a whole station Abbey Road unless they were inviting confusion.  And, indeed, this has proven to be the case.  Tourists are falling all over themselves to travel to an inconveniently-reached station miles away from the site for which they are looking.

Not only are tourists wasting their time and money with these trips, but of course those businesses that have set up around Beatlemania in the pictured Abbey Road are, of course, losing out on business.  Luckily, we can count on TfL to handle the issue sensitively, right?
"A spokesman for Transport for London said it would not be changing the name, adding: 'TfL does all it can to make navigation around the capital as easy and straightforward as possible and it is unfortunate that some visitors sometimes get confused by the odd duplicate place names.
"'It is also a reminded that when visiting one of the world’s largest and varied cities, nothing beats some in-depth research.'"
So, TfL does 'all it can', does it?  But it won't be doing anything about the problem, like, say, changing the name, which would instantly put an end to the issue.  Yup, that certainly sounds like TfL's definition of 'all it can'.

There's some appalling grammar in there (and I honestly am not sure whether to blame the TfL spokesperson or the Daily Mail - both are deserving of ridicule and have yet to answer for their crimes against humanity), but that second sentence essentially means 'tough shit'.

While you might think TfL just doesn't want the headache and is trying to shift the blame, I actually think something far more cunning is going on.  I believe TfL deliberately named the station 'Abbey Road' to mislead Beatles tourists in the hope they would have to make more journeys and, therefore, spend more on extortionately-priced travel on the system.  It's good for business after all.  And who cares if it's bad for other London businesses or for their own customers, right?

So, if you're planning a trip to Abbey Road, be warned: one is for Beatlemaniacs, one is for... well... obscurity?  Supporters of a terrible football team?  Cockney rhyming slang?  Oh, and be wary of any stations popping up called Penny Lane...

Lastly, a quick update for yesterday.  Just a two-minute delay on the trip home, on the train from Waterloo to Hampton Court.  Just a fiver, but my faith, or rather lack of faith, in TfL has been restored.

I'm working from home today, so not likely to update on the transport situation again.  Happy Friday!

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