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Happy 3rd Birthday to us!

28th July 2015
 
iOS 7 icon

iOS 7 icon

Happy birthday to us! Happy birthday to us!

Station Master has been on the App Store for 3 years today and we’ve come a long way since we woke up on a Saturday morning to find our original version 1.0 had been approved by Apple (after 10 long nerve-racking days of waiting) and was finally on sale just as the London 2012 Olympic Games kicked off.

Since then we’ve added iPad support, 3D station maps, enhanced accessibility information, carriage graphics and kept our data up-to-date as the network has changed over time.

We also won an award for best App for accessibility / step free information from TfL too!

Last year we added two new Apps to the Station Master family; Exit the Tube with just the exits from Station Master in it, for those of you who want even faster access and Oyster Errors that tells you what those funny numbers mean that sometimes come up when you fail to touch in or out correctly.

Not resting on our laurels, this year we introduced our Visual Tube Status App complete with Apple Watch App and our Disused Tube App to the Station Master group of Apps.

Thanks too, to everyone who got in touch to tell us where things had changed or where they needed tweaking here and there!  We’ve always taken your comments on board and updated our information based on those comments.

So, to celebrate, until midnight tonight, we are giving you a chance to get your hands on BOTH Station Master and Disused Tube for a 3rd birthday half-price of just £1.49 each!  And if you’ve bought both the Apps already, why not gift them to someone or spread the word!

Click the links above or see our Buy Now Page on the website for more information!

Cheers!  The Station Master Team.  (Matthew and Geoff)


Hackney to Hackney

27th July 2015
 

It’s taken a while to build, but the new footbridge connecting Hackney Downs to Hackney Central station is now open.  The entrance is on the soutbound platform – at the front end where trains from Cheshunt stop, down a long passageway, round corner, and then down some steps/lift to the back end of the eastbound platform of Hackney Central for trains heading to Stratford.

Passageway

Passageway

You can of course use the steps/footbridge at either station to connect to other platforms, and it’s certainly quicker than going out onto street level and walking along and changing there.  We note there’s also a lift (at the Hackney Central end) to make the change in height accessible, but there are no lifts at Hackney Down station, meaning the the Chingford/Southbound platform is the only one that you can access step-free.

Signs

Signs

There are also plenty of pink Oyster pads for you to tap on, to make sure that you pay the cheapest fare if you’ve come this way.

This way

This way

The signs are a little confusing at Hackney Downs, also there is some orange coloured Overground branding, it’s not complete yet so there are a couple of conflicting old signs that still point to the way out of the station whereas you can now take the new footbridge.

 


Tube Divide

21st July 2015
 
Tube Divider

Tube Divider

We got sent this picture by a nice chap called Peter from Holland that we met last week, who loves the Tube so much that when he was having some re-modelling done in his house, he constructed a custom made room divider.

“I found the official colour codes on TfL’s website and asked a local paint shop to produce 12 cans of paint using only the codes. It had to be perfect! And is nice to wake up to in the morning.”  Thanks Peter!

The TfL ‘Colour Standard’ document detailing all the correct RGB values for the colours that they use, can indeed be found online here.

 


3D Tube Depth Map

19th July 2015
 

This got tweeted by Will Harvey back on May 22nd this year – but strangely it’s picked up more RT’s in the last few days than at did at the time of posting, and thus is ‘doing the rounds’.

It’s a 3D model of the Tube Map – with Depth showing how the lines run to what depth and appeared at the 3D Printshow.

3D Depth Map

3D Depth Map


Using Apple Pay on the Tube

17th July 2015
 

Station Master’s Geoff & Matt went out with a video camera, an Apple Watch and an iPhone to see how Apple Pay works paying for your travel using your mobile devices. Here’s the video we did for Londonist …


Max Roberts on 1000 Londoners

16th July 2015
 

The completely brilliant 1000 Londoners video project have caught up with Max Roberts, to interview him and ask him about his alternative Tube Map designs …


Hackney Link

14th July 2015
 

It’s taking its time … but it does look like it’s almost ready to open.  The new footbridge linking the two Hackney stations on the Overground that is.

From the back of the eastbound platform at Hackney Central there is now a way through to the southbound platform at Hackney Downs .. only it’s still gated off at the moment, and we can’t but help fear that it’s waiting for a piece of red-tape to be signed off, and we could be in another situation like Walthamstow Queens Road, where the new exit was complete, but it took months for TfL to open it up.

New Hackney Footbridge

New Hackney Footbridge


Contactless Card Not Authorised For Travel

10th July 2015
 
Contactless Card

Contactless Card

We like TfL’s Contactless Payment System (we were there at the launch) and since day one it has worked flawlessly for us.

Until now, where we’ve uncovered a seemingly unfixable (by TfL’s technical team anyway) flaw in the whole system.

This Station Master changed banks recently and with it came a new set of cards, which were dutifully added to TfL’s online portal and all was fine.

However, when (for reasons-that-aren’t-important-to-this-story) one of the cards was replaced with a card with an identical 16-digit card number (known as the “PAN”) but with a different expiry date, things started to unravel.

While the new card was (delayed) in the post, TfL were not able to authorise a payment and marked the card as “Unable to travel” adding it to what they seem to refer as the “CNAFT” (Card Not Authorised for Travel) list.

With the new card in hand this Station Master paid off his travel and as instructed by TfL staff added the new card (same PAN, new expiry date) online (as they can’t update expiry dates).

CIrLmdvXAAA9_RU.jpg-large Here’s where the major flaw in TfL’s system shows up. The CNAFT seems to work ONLY on the card’s PAN and not the expiry date. So, while we have a valid card on the system, the “Unable to travel” card with the same PAN is being placed on TfL’s block list.  This results in our valid-everywhere-else contactless payment card being refused for travel.

We’ve spent many hours on the phone with TfL’s frontline contactless guys, who to be fair to them and to their credit do understand the problem perfectly, but don’t have the ability to remove cards from the system.

Their technical people also claim they cannot remove cards from the system and the solution is to “get a new card number” which quite frankly is not an acceptable solution.

Our latest series of telephone calls to TfL this week has resulted in an acknowledgement that they need to come up with a solution to this, but none has been forthcoming, and our account is in the state shown above.

Whilst writing this blog post we received a call from Shashi Verma’s office, who explained that TfL were misled by the banks who had told them they would never issue cards with identical PANs and that they had fixed the Tube readers with a software update to read the expiry date and that they were still working on a solution for the bus readers (with no known date for a fix).

That of course doesn’t help us when travelling on the bus to get to the Tube!  So we’ve sent them away asking again why can’t they remove cards from the online system, which would seem the logical solution to our problem…

The response to which came back that the technical team are (grudgingly) going to (we have to say “attempt to” given their efforts so far) remove the problematic card from our account, but we are told this could take up until the close of play on Wednesday (15th July).  Thanks. That doesn’t help us in the meantime however…


Strike Walking Map

9th July 2015
 

So there’s a ‘Walk London’ map doing the rounds on the internet today on strike day, giving suggested walking times between various places – but we’re not entirely sure that it’s accurate (or helpful!). You can’t walk from Holloway Road to Caledonian Road in 3 minutes, and then if you commuted regularly between Belsize Park and Leicester Square, you wouldn’t added up the times between the stops, because you wouldn’t walk on the street the route that the tube takes underground, you’d go in a more direct line through the back streets of London.

Still, here it is …

Courtesy of Walk London

Courtesy of Walk London


Ten Years On …

7th July 2015
 

Today is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist bombs that hit London – and the Underground network, back on the 7th July 2005.

TfL have announced that there will be a one-minutes silence across the network at 11.30am – Not quite sure how that’s going to work on trains in tunnels, but we’re sure it will be brilliantly observed at all stations across the network.

The BBC news website has been posting some amazing stories and coverage from people still obviously affected by the event ten years ago.

Memorial

Memorial