In a TFhelL minute

12Jun09

Owwweeooo things ain’t gonna change.

Minutes – exactly sixty seconds long except in New York (where they are reputably shorter, or at least busier) and on the London tube. The Jubilee Line has particularly long minutes. If you’re unlucky enough to use it regularly (which isn’t me any more since I escaped Canary Wharf at the end of last month – yeah) then you may have noticed this already. It goes something like this… arrive on platform at 1725 to see train pulling out, information board says next train in 2mins. Train doesn’t actually arrive until something like 1728, and pulls out at 1730, so 2mins just turned into 5. And that’s when it’s a ‘good’ service (service is never just average, or a bit poor – it’s either ‘good’, bad ‘minor delays’ or properly broken ‘major delays’).

Somebody showed me the other day that there’s a much more reliable aspect to the passenger information system on the iPhone, which says where the next trains actually are rather than punting a hopelessly optimistic guess at arrival time. But I don’t expect that this works too well underground.

With apologies to Don Henley, Danny Kortchmar and Jai WinDing



2 Responses to “In a TFhelL minute”

  1. That’s because the annunciators report the expected transport time that the train will take in between stations on its journey to you. It doesn’t include any stopping time at a station, and doesn’t include any delays.

    So if a train is just pulling in at Liverpool Street and you’re at bank, and it takes 60 seconds in general for a Central Line to go in between Liverpool Street and Bank, from the moment the train comes into Liverpool Street it will show as 1 minute, even if it spends 2 minutes in slowing down, opening doors, closing doors, and reacceleration.

    Common misconception, and the stupidest part of the annunciator system.

  2. Googled our own name and found this page. Awesome, right?

    We’re working on a similar problem for buses, and are now slightly intrigued by the tubes. It seems that building a mobile application for underground stations are slightly counter-intuitive. Hehe.


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