Does this map look mad to you? Good. So it should. This is the map of every London Underground, Overground, DLR and mainline train services ran by Transport For London. This is mad, utterly mad. And I adore it’s efficiency.
I recently spent a couple of days in London with an oyster card. After spending all my life with Manchester’s poop light rail The Metrolink and buses that cost eleventy billion pounds to get between anywhere. I heard horror stories of London’s hateful public transport, about it’s filthy, overcrowded trains and buses. And whilst it can occasionally be like that, it’s ridiculously efficient.
Oh and Oyster Cards! What a genius idea Oyster Cards are. A card you swipe in and out on every journey you take and a computer works out the cost of the route. No need to carry around change for the odd tube or bus ride. Saves time, money and pocket space.
When you get into London and onto the roads, there are buses EVERYWHERE! Literally everywhere. Taking you all over the place, suburbs included in that. If you want to get around the city quickly, get a bus. With the Oyster Card it’s £1.50 for any bus route. Transport for Greater Manchester need to get this sorted!
The Tube is in the same vein of efficiency. I travelled on London Underground several times using all manner of routes to switch around, and never had to wait more than 30 seconds before a long row of carriages pulled up. Carriages large enough and plentiful enough for everyone on the station to get on. They could do with more seats to reduce the standing crush, but commuters are used to that by now. Another plus is that Tube Stations are never more than half a mile away in the populated tourist centre so it’s simple and quick to get from one hotspot to the next. Speaking of hotspots, they do need a simpler method to connect to their free WiFi.
Santander Cycles (Previously called Barclays Cycles and informally known as Boris Bikes) is a genius idea from the madman Major of London Boris Johnson. A cycle hire scheme, with bikes stored all over the town, stations every half mile, and £2 for 24 hours of use. Absolutely bloody brilliant. One of the best parts about them is that London loves them! Ignore the horror stories about London cyclists being run over frequently, drivers on the road have had years to get used to them and seen enough of them to know that they need to drive giving ample room to the bikes. If you’re sensible on the road, the other party will be too.
So my message to all cities with a crap transport network (I’d hazard a guess it’s the majority) base your plan on London’s. Quick rapid light-rail networks, frequent bus routes and cheap bikes to hire. Sorted.