Transport for London gets lost on the river

It’s good to see Transport for London advertising riverboat services, and with ads on bus stops all over south-east London, it’s easy to get up to the Thames and try one. Here’s an ad on a bus stop around the corner from me, in Victoria Way in Charlton.

But… Canary Wharf to London Bridge? Someone’s made a bit of a cock-up by placing these ads in places where only the determined would want to make that journey.

After all, if you wanted to go from Charlton to London Bridge, you’d get the train. It runs every 10 minutes and takes 15 minutes. And if you wanted to go from Charlton to Canary Wharf, you could get the train then the DLR or the bus then the Tube. It’ll take about 25 minutes at most.

Yet this ad’s all over south-east London – I first saw it in Lewisham, where much the same applies. Were they expecting people there to get the DLR to Canary Wharf, then tramp across to the pier to get a boat? I hope not.

Surely these ads should be promoting south-east London’s own riverboat services? After all, TfL and Greenwich Council ponied up £269,000 last year to subsidise the Thames Clippers service to Woolwich, which still gets very little in the way of publicity.

Instead, it’s given us a generic ad which will make people just think “oooh, that’s nice… the train’s quicker, though.”

TfL’s publicity used to be rightly acclaimed (here’s the “moonwalking bear“, complete with dead link to the TfL site). Hopefully this is just a one-off cock-up, rather than a sign that the recent cuts in the budget have cut brains as well as cash.