13 October 1988

Time is an illusion, subway time doubly so

I do hope that everyone else has noticed LRT’s big lie.

I’m talking about the big lie in flashing lights on every station platform… ”EUSTON 2 mins”, “HAMMERSMITH 4 mins”, and so on.

From asking people, I’ve come to the conclusion that most people believe that the electronic displays at LRT stations actually indicate the time at which the train is to arrive. This is not the case.

The indicators are remotely controlled by a system of switches. If a train is running late, then LRT slow down the rate at which the times change, so that the trains always seem to be reasonably prompt. For example, one board at Baker Street indicated that the next Circle Line train would be arriving in three minutes. I timed from the transition of the display from “4 mins” to ”3 mins”, up until the “*** NEXT TRAIN ARRIVING” message. It took seven minutes.

No doubt you think I’m over-reacting, but I’m shocked by this. It’s a bit like brainwashing; people see that the trains are on time; so they believe that the trains are on time. Unfortunately, the information which they use to judge their belief is being manipulated and fabricated in order to fool them. George Orwell would have loved it.

© mathew 2017