Here's where Google Maps thinks things are in London

Nice work, Google. Image: Google Maps

So, today the internet has discovered that you can search for things and people on Google Maps, and Google will respond with a range of creepily accurate, obvious, or inexplicable suggestions. We didn't have any real work to do today, so we decided to do this instead.

For Boris Johnson, the search engine throws up the Southbank's skatepark, which Johnson campaigned on behalf of; Heathrow Airport, which he campaigned against; and the Tower of London, which, erm, pass.

"Beheadings", incidentally, also brings up the Tower:

Google knows where politics lives, and also, that David Cameron really cares about what's happening in the Middle East.

Google has noticed that Ivan Massow is running for mayor. 

Google is busy trolling Peter Hendy, the man who runs Transport for London.

Google can easily identify the source of many social problems.

Google has taken note of Chinese tourists' disparaging nickname for Big Ben: 

Google gave the same treatment to the poor old London Eye:

Buckingham Palace has great SEO.

So does the Shard.

But the Soho Theatre might need to work on its branding a bit.

We can't account for this one at all:

Anyway, we're done.


Sadiq Khan and Grant Shapps clash over free bus travel for under 18s

A London bus at Victoria station. Image: Getty.

The latest front in the row between Transport for London (TfL) and national government over how to fund the capital’s transport system: free bus travel for the under 18s.

Two weeks ago, you’ll recall, TfL came perilously close to running out of money and was forced to ask for a bail out. The government agreed, but offered less money, and with more strings attached, than the agency wanted. At present, there are a range of fare discounts – some up to 100% – available to children depending on their age and which service they’re using, provided they have the right Oyster card. One of the government’s strings, the mayor’s office says, was to end all free TfL travel for the under 18s, Oyster or no Oyster.

The Department for Transport’s line on all this is that this is about maximising capacity. Many working-age people need to use buses to get to their jobs: they’re more likely to be able to do that, while also social distancing, if those buses aren’t already full of teenagers riding for free. (DfT cited the same motivation for banning the use of the Freedom Pass, which provides free travel for the retired, at peak times.)

But in an open letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps, the mayor, Sadiq Khan, wrote that TfL believed that 30% of children who currently received free travel had a statutory entitlement to it, because they attend schools more than a certain distance from their homes. If TfL doesn’t fund this travel, London’s boroughs must, which apart from loading costs onto local government means replacing an administrative system that already exists with one that doesn’t. 

Some Labour staffers also smell Tory ideological objections to free things for young people at work. To quote Khan’s letter:

“It is abundantly clear that losing free travel would hit the poorest Londoners hardest at a time when finances are stretched more than ever... I want to make sure that families who might not have a choice but to use public transport are not further disadvantaged.”

London’s deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, is set to meet government officials next week to discuss all this. In the mean time, you can read Khan’s letter here.

UPDATE: The original version of this piece noted that the full agreement between the mayor and DfT remained mysteriously unpublished. Shortly after this story went live, the agreement appeared. Here it is.

Jonn Elledge was founding editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.