“Good Service”

In the entrance hall to all tube stations you’ll find a notice board telling you how each line is currently running. It’s worth noting that when the sign says a line has “good service”, what they actually mean is that it has “the expected level of service”.

It’s a subtle, but important, distinction.


  1. The other extremely irritating thing is that every five minutes they tell you that you are experiencing a “good service” over the public address system. It does beg the question of how “good” it really is, if you keep having to be reminded of the fact.Yes Chris, it did used to be “normal” which of course could have meant “as bad as usual”.There is another mind game they played some years ago. They used to give performance figures for each line on a bar chart in terms of how many percentage points below or above the target they were. So for instance, if a line was 5% below target, it would be shown as a bar of height 5. This scheme tended to show up particularly bad lines prominently, e.g. a 10% underperforming line would have a bar 5 times as big as a 2% underperforming line. But now they depict the per-line service as an actual percentage of the expected performance, so in the case above the bars would have heights 90 and 98. This chart gives you virtually no useful visual information because all the bars are high numbers and they are all look about the same height proportionally. But of course it has the advantage of giving the impression that everything is good because all the bars are now “big” and you can’t single out the really badly performing lines.Surely this couldn’t have had anything to do with the privatisation that was about to take place, and prevent us easily comparing the performance of the different operating companies – could it?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.