A few days ago my TfL RSS reader went berserk.  On the 3rd November Boris, or minions of Boris, issued a self-congratulatory press release to every borough in the city extolling the extension of Oyster-selling shops.  This was followed a couple of days later by a puff piece aimed at every point of the compass putting a local spin on his abolition of TfL’s project starting capability as a ‘Ten Year Investment Plan’ in which he, Boris, would do lots of things to help West/North/South-East/etc. London that looked suspiciously like the remaining Ken Livingstone-era projects being re-announced.  How odd.  My local piece starts:

Oyster boost for Hounslow

Completion of Oyster Ticket Stops rollout sees 51 more Oyster retailers in the borough

Transport for London (TfL) today announced the locations of 51 new shops and newsagents where people can now buy and top-up Oyster across Hounslow

This is fulfilling the promise I made to Londoners, particularly those who told me during the election that they need better access to Oyster

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

What I especially like about this exercise is the addition of little localisations to what is essentially a cut and paste job.  Being a techie, I can use the Unix ‘diff’ command on them:

< Mr Somani, who runs the newsagents in Field End Road, Eastcote said: “Having an Oyster ticketstop will be of great benefit to our customers.
< “Every day students, commuters and local residents come into our shop asking about Oyster services and the new ticketstop will make it will be much more convenient for these customers.”

> Mr Arora, of Daily Needs, said: “Around 90 per cent of our customers enquire about Oyster top-up when they enter our shop, so to be able to offer this service will please our customers a lot.”

and so on everywhere else.  How sweet.  This is, obviously, an exercise in churnalism, trying to get the same story into everyone’s local paper so it looks like Boris is taking an extra-special interest in your area rather than just extending an existing London-wide scheme a bit, digging out the address of one shopkeeper per area and bunging a quote from him in the otherwise identically worded release.  Well, it was cheap, I suppose.

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