The Onion has done an ace spoof on modern airports – Prague’s Franz Kafka Airport. For anyone that has had the misfortune to pass through Terminal 3 at London Heathrow some of this is just a little too close to the truth… and it’s also very close to the truth when it comes to the re-organisation of the Brussels Metro, due to start on 3rd April. Here are the new and old metro maps (click for a larger version):
Essentially the change is that the piece of line between Clemenceau and Gare de l’Ouest, via Delacroix, has now been completed. Despite some efforts by STIB, the operator, to explain things, I reckon this is going to cue chaos.
- Essentially there were 2 lines before: 1A / 1B that ran east-west, with branches at each end, and line 2 that run in a part circle. Now we have lines 1 and 5 that run through the city, line 2 that runs in a circle, and line 6 that runs from the suburbs into the circle. Line 1 runs parallel to line 5, and line 2 parallel to line 6.
- So what about lines 3 and 4? Those are actually trams that run underground for a bit. These lines are sometimes labelled as trams, and sometimes as metro and even sometimes as prémetro, and they don’t appear at all on the line maps most prominently displayed in Metro stations.
- Line 2 (and 6, sort of) runs in a circle. Only it’s not a complete circle – trains start / stop at Simonis (Leopold II) and Simonis (Elisabeth). So if you’re at one of the other stations on the circle you have to know which version of Simonis to head for and – unlike the Circle Line in London or the Ringbahn in Berlin, where trains are clearly going clockwise or anti-clockwise – you have to know your destination station on a circular line.
- Line 2 (orange) and Line 5 (yellow) are rather similar shades – surely not easy for the short sighted or colour blind?
- Station names and destinations are only announced in the handful of new Metro trains. In the rest of the old trains there’s one grimy sign inside each carriage that states the final destination. If the maps are complex then at least some help in the trains would be handy.
Anyway, I reckon I have more or less worked it out, and I’m a public transport geek. How tourists or Commission Officials are going to understand it I have no idea…