500,000 TFL maps recalled

By Max Goldbart, Wednesday 09 August 2017

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Transport for London (TFL) was forced to recall almost 500,000 tube maps and posters last summer after printing a large batch with a mistake.

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More than a million pocket tube maps a month are picked up across the London Tube and rail network. Image: Flickr

A Freedom of Information request from the Daily Mirror found that 474,280 incorrectly printed tube maps had to be pulped. Of this number, 460,800 were pocket tube guides, almost 4,000 were posters, 8,000 were larger print maps for the visually impaired and 1,500 were ticket machine maps.

The maps were printed with Morden station placed in the wrong zone. Instead of being in Zone 4 of the map it was too far south in a grey tram zone where “special fares apply”. 

A spokesperson for TFL said that the minor error was identified “part-way through the initial printing in May 2016”.

"These were subsequently recycled (the pocket maps are printed on 100% recycled paper) and through the procurement efficiencies that we have been making, we were able to recover these costs and still produce the required number of Tube maps within our overall print budget,” said the spokesperson. 

However, a small number of these maps remained in circulation and one was picked up in a Zone 1 ticket hall by the London-based blogger Diamond Geezer.

In a blog post written in June 2016, the blogger identified that Morden had been “sucked into a new grey tram zone where ‘Special fares apply’.” 

“Journeys to Morden aren't special, so the printed map is wrong, which makes a mockery of the ‘Correct at time of going to print’ tagline at the bottom,” the blogger wrote.

While TFL said that no copies of the map (both physical and pocket) were put up in public areas, a delivery of the pocket maps were sent to Victoria Coach Station and Gatwick Airport, before being subsequently collected.

Around 1.3m pocket tube maps a month are picked up across the London Tube and rail network.

TFL did not disclose to PrintWeek who prints the pocket maps. 

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