December 2015 saw the opening of the striking new glass entrance at Tottenham Court Road and the return of the Central Line to the station after a 12-month hiatus.
Ok, so the tiling isn’t quite complete. Some of the finishes are exposed and the signage is not perfect. But do customers care about grouting and tunnel linings…or do they care about minimising delay and congestion, and a desire to see enhancements as soon as possible?
The latter we think.
TCR instantly has a different feel. Compared to the previous station, the colours are more vibrant and it feels a safer space. London Underground’s Design Idiom references safety, lighting and perception throughout, and while TCR precedes this new design guide it appears to share similar principles and thoughts.
These changes mark just the first few steps in a long programme of improvements. Entry, exit and interchange will be enhanced – both in terms of capacity and directness. A second glass entrance will soon open onto a new public plaza beneath Centre Point and in 2018 Crossrail trains will start to serve the station. With a good wind, Crossrail 2 trains will do the same from 2030 – forming a unique LU, Crossrail and Crossrail 2 interchange and serving as a vital compass point transport interchange similar to the role Farringdon will shortly play for LU, Crossrail and Thameslink services.
Bringing upgrades into use at their earliest opportunity is, we hope, a conscious and strategic decision to deliver customer benefits as soon as possible. This is something we support – and something that should be rolled out for current works at Bond Street and Victoria and for the approaching Bank and Camden Town upgrades wherever possible.
So, a year of inconvenience – many would say more! A year in which TCR users and nearby stations, such as Oxford Circus (as the BBC helpfully points out) have been hard hit. And a year or so ahead in which the immediate area at street-level continues to be a confusing sea of hoardings and restrictions.
All far from ideal, but also all unavoidable if we are to realise the step change in transport capacity and resilience London needs to provide.
At Movement Strategies we believe in better assets, better performance and enhanced operation. People – and in this case LU’s customers – are at the heart of this. Bringing benefits to them through early use of well-planned design is something we applaud.