This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind
Wednesday, 8 April 2020
Sky News Tube Ignorance EXPOSED
Back in 2000, I was a weekday commuter on the Northern Line, from Tufnell Park to Warren Street. At just before 0810 hours, I would squeeze on board the end coach and grin and bear the crush before falling out at my destination. Had I been attempting to board a City Branch train, I would not at that time of the morning have got on board.
That’s because there was no space. None at all. But Northern Line pundits knew there were Tube commuters worse off than them: the Central Line was of a degree worse. Commuters changed their itineraries just to avoid it. Nowadays, those bound for the West End from Stratford use the Jubilee Line instead. And that’s bloody grim as well.
A Central Line tube train
This information was not allowed to get into the Sky News script yesterday as they declared “The Central line was crowded with people as it stopped at Liverpool Street during morning rush hour on 7th April, despite #coronavirus restrictions being in place”. You got on board and had room to move your camera around? Luxury!
OK, there is flagrant abuse of social distancing rules going on, but you can’t do otherwise on board a Tube train, not unless you have some means of suspending the rules of physics. So the ridicule was not backward in coming forwards, typical responses being “this is literally the quietest i’ve ever seen a Central Line train at rush hour” and “This is empty. Rush hour on the Central line is like being a dot in a Jackson Pollock painting”.
There was more. "Sorry but people who think that is crowding on the Central Line have clearly never been NEAR the Central Line during rush hour or any other time tbh … That’s not even busy. Normally you can barely breathe on the Central Line … This is honestly the quietest I've ever seen a central line train at Liverpool st. Unless the tube is shut down it's not going to get any quieter”. Which should really have been the point of the coverage.
The thought entered with some observers that the Sky News people might be from out of town. “Have U been on the Central Line during rush hour because this is not ... crowded … Central Line at rush hour? This IS empty. Some of you have never got the tube and it shows, and these people are going to work not the park to sunbathe … If you think this is a packed central line I’m gonna assume you’re not from London”. Quite.
Indeed, if you look carefully, some seats have been left unoccupied in an effort to create distance. On a normal rush hour morning, you would not be able to see that, assuming of course that you could get on board in the first place. So it was no surprise when one Tweeter responded “We’ve ran out of actual news to share so we sent someone with a camera during rush hour to film key workers on the Central Line so people can label them as thoughtless and stupid so we can keep our interactions and traffic up”.
Yes, you cannot socially distance properly on board a Tube train. And yes, some employers could have more employees working from home. But the idea that the Central Line train Sky News filmed inside was “crowded” is for the birds. For most London commuters, the journey to work and back is one grim experience.
And once we are through the current crisis, it will be grim once more.
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