Thameslink will be temporarily added to the Tube map to give customers more options during the pandemic – putting Charlton on the map for the first time.
Services within Zone 1 and Zone 6, as well as Dartford and Swanley, will be reintroduced to Tube maps from next month to aid social distancing on public transport and reduce the number of car journeys in the capital, Transport for London confirmed this morning.
The service will also provide alternatives during the planned closure of the Bank branch of the Northern Line during 2021 while upgrades are completed.
Julie Dixon, Head of Customer Information and Partnerships at TfL, said: “In light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, and next year’s Northern line closures required to complete the Bank Upgrade works, Thameslink services have been temporarily included on the Tube map to help customers move around the city.
“This has been a complicated addition to make to the map, but one that we feel will benefit Londoners as part of our work to promote safe, clean and reliable public transport use across the city.”
The temporary change is expected to be in place until December 2021, but there are already calls to make the change permanent given the step-free access availability at many stations on the service.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said there would be “long term benefits” to showing Thameslink services on the Tube map.
Pidgeon said: “At peak times Thameslink’s frequency is set to reach 24 trains an hour, offering a similar service to most London Underground lines. The stations, with the exception of Elephant and Castle, are also fully accessible for disabled people throughout central London.”
Alison Moore, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, echoed this sentiment, calling the change an “essential addition” to the Tube map.
Moore said: “The Transport Committee recommended that Thameslink be added to the Tube map to help Londoners with disabilities because these trains are designed for accessibility first and foremost. It is time for TfL to keep Thameslink on the map permanently for better accessibility across the city.”
Although the updated Tube map will provide more options for travelling around London, people are still being advised to only travel when necessary, given the rise in Covid-19 infections and London’s move into Tier 3 restrictions.
Both TfL and Thameslink are reminding customers to plan ahead and travel at quiet times when possible.
Central London Thameslink services appeared on the Tube map when they were introduced in 1988, but were taken off in 1999.
Joe Talora is the Local Democracy Reporter for City Hall. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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