Tuesday 2 December 2014

Cross-making taxi rank at KX

King's Cross is now a snazzy new station. Everything has been changed and spruced up. Most of it is good to look at and easy to use - a successful piece of design. Most of it; but there's an exception. The taxi rank is a terrible, useless, amateur piece of design.

The passenger queue is a system that has long been abandoned elsewhere. Without constant supervision, its multiple lanes lead to inevitable accusations of queue jumping by frustrated passengers, often without the offending person knowing they are doing it. Tempers rise, fists are raised, heads are shaken.

If the passenger in the frontmost queue has any difficulties getting into the cab, if the driver has to get out and help, even if there's a full complement of fares trying to get in, all the taxis behind have to wait. The queues lengthen again. People walk off down the street to get into a cab in the long waiting line; but they are disappointed because the cabbies aren't allowed to pick them up there. They walk back and are refused their previous position at the front of the queue. Anger ensues.

Impatient passengers step out to meet the long awaited taxi, who stops for the fare a few yards before the designated pickup point. Result: there is now one fewer taxi in this batch of pickups. More frustration, more anger.

There is a second lane beside the taxi pickup lane, but it is never used. If there were slip roads out from the pickup lane, this second lane could be used to overtake and leave by taxis currently stuck behind a slow pickup, thus keeping the flow moving.

If there were actual markings on the pavement and the road for passengers to stand in and for taxis to stop at, there would be more equality.

If, as at Paddington, everyone joined the same queue, there would be no perception of queue jumping; instead, passengers at the head of the queue would go and stand in the next empty passenger circle, and the cabs would pull up in the right place.

The system, as it stands, would work better if the cabs simply picked fares up from a queue at the side of the road, as has happened for years and years and years.

If the so-called designers had bothered to talk to taxi drivers, this would never have been built. But they didn't, and so there's always a subject that you and the taxi driver can agree on when you get into a cab at King's Cross.

Monday 24 March 2014

dig it

Wastefully Wistful

It seemed so easy at the time: sign up, sign in, sign on; and there you are: a new messenger for the new world.

One problem soon emerges. Messengers need messages. Always easy to find one if someone digs hard enough.



But that sounds like work.

Same old.