Ethnographic Review of Canary Wharf Platform London.

2016-04-25T14:17:21Z (GMT) by John Harding
<table><tbody><tr> <td>Part of a conference paper to ID@50 at University of Bath June 2016. <br><br>Provides video evidence for an explication of boarding and alighting are similar activities. Taken on 17 November 2015 @ approx 19:30<br><p>How are passengers suggestible?</p> <p>To answer this question, we unfold the <u>surprising similarities</u> in the way passengers move between things that are <u>very different</u>. Differences include being on the train, boarding or alighting, moving on escalators or lifts, and being on a concourse in a crowded underground station.  People stand and sit comfortably on the train. As the train decelerates the brakes start to squeal and momentum pushes us towards each other; grasps for handholds stops us falling over. The recorded announcement of a female’s calming and reassuring voice states… <i>'The next station is Canary Wharf. Change for the DLR.’ </i>In the last moments before the train stops, the platform is crowded with people standing in queues. Arriving in the 'evening peak' hour at about six o’clock, crowds of people have left their offices and are now travelling mostly back to Central London. Our train is travelling in the peak westbound direction towards London Bridge, Westminster and North London. We feel apprehensive as the train doors open and have to move quickly and jostle from our previous quiet and relaxed position into a melee as our ‘fight or flight’ instincts kicks in. Fortunately, staying calm, many passengers wait on the platform in fairly neat queues allowing us to exit (see Figure 1) before they all rush in (see Figure 3). A space in front of the opening platform edge screen allows us to flow walk past people calmly waiting carrying or reading books, playing with phones and electronic gadgets, or standing quietly. Queues extend the whole way across the platform leaving space to walk. Half way across the platform, turning and looking back towards the train, few people alight. The half-empty train quickly fills up and leaves the station without delay. The platform empties slightly, and then quickly refills again like a constantly leaking bucket under a dripping tap. The next train arrives a few minutes later. Turning around we see the platform from the perspective of the boarding passengers. Long queues of passengers wait patiently without panic or rushing to board the train home. This all feels like a ‘normal’ London commuting context. People wear shoulder bags and small back packs. Continuing our journey across the crowded, eighteen metre-wide platform, passengers wait to board the eastbound trains towards Stratford. Looking upwards, an escalator takes people to the concourse, while an adjacent escalator takes people downwards. A LUL platform customer assistant wears bright orange 'hi-vi' vests, and observes passengers waiting to board the eastbound train. Small gaps between and the alongside the escalators allow space to zigzag past passengers walking in the opposite direction. The station platform opens up into a wider waiting area and feels more comfortable and less stressful; a momentary pause. Constant flows of crowds enter the station via the escalators. A slightly harassed LUL customer assistant announces in his London accent 'the next train will arrive in one minute'. The time is 6pm in the evening and it has probably been busy like this for an hour already. </p> <p> </p> Zigzagging the length of the platform we approach a single lift to concourse level. Analysis of moving between floors provides <u>surprising differences</u> in the way passengers use similar<u> things</u> such as escalators and lifts. The lift is a 16 person lift, meaning the lift car is four square metres. It would be an extremely tight fit for sixteen people, and we see only four or five people at a time (see Figure 4). This part of the platform is quiet and nobody is waiting. This is unsurprising as many people are leaving the Canary Wharf to go home in the evening. We wait for the lift and see a parent with two children in a buggy and two passengers exit. Entering the lift an almost undecipherable electronic voice tells us the doors are shutting and 'stand clear of the doors.' The feedback noise in the lift is disturbing, loud and discomforting. Ascending slowly to the concourse level in a glazed lift, stainless steel mullions and transoms fragment and confuse views. </td></tr></tbody></table>