Tube staff that put up ‘Thought for the Day’ messages at Clapham North station say the project has been an overwhelming success.
“Our customers really love them,” said station supervisor Gary Dorrithy, who was prompted to follow a similar scheme introduced at the nearby Oval station, also on the Northern line.
“Lots of peoples take photographs of what we write and many of them tell us they post the ‘thoughts’ on their Facebook or other social networking web sites so that others can enjoy them.”
He said that staff had received numerous letters and notes of thanks from regular customers since the scheme began, usually saying how much they appreciated the daily messages of inspiration. Many of the letters are along the lines of, ‘I was having a really bad day but the ‘thought’ you put up made me feel so much better.’
“The quotations or sayings can often be very therapeutic and it makes the station staff feel good to know that we have put a smile on a passenger’s face.”
The high level of appreciation shown by station users has led to Clapham North receiving a London Underground Customer Commendation for its high level of service.
Customer services assistant Dave Walcott said: “We try to put up a new message in the booking hall every day, using the Internet to find something suitable.”
“Regular customers look out for the day’s message and we soon get reminded if we don’t put up a new message every day. Some customers even choose to travel from here rather than from another station on the line because they look forward to reading them so much.”
He added that passengers often stop and suggest to a member of staff something suitable they can use in the future. “There’s a centre near here which is visited by lots of theatrical people and they give us useful quotes from Shakespeare and other famous writers.”
It’s not only passengers who are cheered up by the thoughts. “Occasionally a member of staff will say that a specific message has really hit home and helped them during a particularly stressful time,” said Gary Dorrithy.
“One of the first things we do after opening up early in the morning is to write out the day’s message,” he added. “It has become part of our regular routine and something that all the staff is keen to help out with.”
Text and images by Stephen Barry, Museum Friend