Thursday 15 May 2008

A good service on the Jubilee Line

If only there had been a good service tonight. I was depressed when Boss-one phoned the office on his way back from a meeting to tell us he was going to be delayed because there was trouble with the Jubilee Line (seriously, when is there not). This was at 3pm, two hours before it was time to go home.

Trouble took the form of suspension between Waterloo and Canada Water due to a signal failure at Bermondsey. Popular place for signal failures... take note Tubelines, and get it fixed!

By the time I left at 5pm the website had downgraded to 'minor delays'. By the time I got to Green Park some ten minutes later there was a 'good service'. Now I think that I've mentioned before that London Underground have some interesting definitions of service levels. As it always amuses me it is always worth reiterating. A good service means 'no noticeable impact on your journey' - thus I feel I should arrive at North Greenwich 23 minutes after I leave Green Park. Minor delays mean 'noticeably longer journey times, but stay with your planned route' - fair enough, but it takes no account of the over-crowding caused by the 'noticeably longer' journey. Severe delays are interpreted as 'significantly longer journey times, consider using another route'. After that comes 'Suspended' - speaks for itself really, but differentiated from a 'Planned Closure'.

I had to disagree (as I often do) with the assessment of a 'good service' last night. I arrived on the platform at Green Park to find that, actually, I couldn't arrive on the platform because it was already full to bursting. I took my usual alternative of going along the line in the other direction. Three stops up is St John's Wood. An ideal point for crossing to the eastbound service. There is no interchange at St John's Wood so it is a relatively quiet station, and there are through tunnels from westbound to eastbound. Lots of other people had the same idea, but happily there was a train waiting at St John's Wood and it was pretty empty. It took an hour from leaving Green Park to get to North Greenwich, even given the twenty minutes spent going in the opposite direction that is still a one hundred percent increase over what would be expected. Good service? I don't think so.