September 17, 2009 / 3:11 PM / 10 years ago

Thames gets reprieve on London's tube map

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The River Thames is to be reinstated on London’s iconic tube map after a new design which left it out was greeted by a wave of outrage.

A general view of London Bridge overlooking the River Thames is seen ahead of the G20 summit in London, April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Adam Oliver

Designers had airbrushed out the blue ribbon representing the river in an attempt to de-clutter the map, first produced by draftsman Harry Beck in 1933.

But Transport for London (TfL), which operates the capital’s transport networks, had reckoned without Londoners’ deep affection for their local waterway.

As news of the revamp leaked out, it was inundated with complaints, both from the general public and from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

“Can’t believe that the Thames disappeared off the tube map whilst I was out the country! It will be reinstated,” Johnson said on an official Mayor of London Twitter feed after returning from New York on Wednesday.

Action was swift.

“Transport for London (TfL) today announced that it has listened to Londoners and would be reinstating the River Thames on the world-famous Tube map,” a statement read on Thursday.

Johnson’s dismay at the change may have been partly due to the fact that he plans to make the river a more prominent part of London’s transport system.

Other objectors noted the ill-fated new design had also left out the zonal markings which dictate how much passengers have to pay for tube journeys.

TfL said a decision on whether to reinstate those too would not be made until December.

“The overwhelming public reaction is that the Tube and Thames should be reunited, so that’s exactly what we will do,” a TfL spokesman said.

“New maps showing the Thames will be reintroduced from December, the date of the next scheduled revision of the map.”

Editing by Steve Addison

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