Friday, 3 April 2009

Backwards thinking

I find the most annoying aspect of using public transport is accessing the infomation I need to plan my route, especially in this day and age when service is a bygone word and reliability is utterly uncertain. I can usually locate the timetables I need quickly on the internet before I go but once on the road, I am defenceless against any variation and unable to deviate from my planned route unless I can locate again the necessary information. Many of the methods available to me in Suffolk like SMS bus enquiries aren't quite there yet and their data is patchy and limited.

For example, the Anglian Buses website will tell you that the last bus journey to Halesworth from Norwich is 5.15 PM. The National Express website will route the same journey by rail via Ipswich taking a ridiculous two and a half hours but neither, nor does Suffolk Traveline, tell you that if you take a bus from Norwich to Beccles - arriving Beccles 8.59 PM and, if the bus stays on time and you can run like the clappers in six minutes down London Road, you can catch a train from Beccles to Halesworth - departing Beccles 9.05 PM - so that you can linger in Norwich until the utterly decadent hours of 8 PM.

The ultimate 'killer app' that could get me to buy an overpriced I-phone might be the ability to plan journeys in real time using all modes of transport in a seamless database and map application. We're not there yet and we'll never get there if National Rail Enquiries takes such a proprietory attitude to their database. An anonymous British/Polish train blogger takes up the story;

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