Technology should help cope with problems and change – not make it worse

I think the technology behind the Sydney Cityrail system is pretty impressive. Well designed screens with updated next train and following train information. Where is the next train going,...

I think the technology behind the Sydney Cityrail system is pretty impressive. Well designed screens with updated next train and following train information.

Where is the next train going, what stops will it make, how many carriages, and how many minutes till it arrives. All easy to see.

But, there’s a problem. We rely on it.

I’m stood here this very moment waiting for a train to MY destination, and the board shows just one train, no time for its arrival, the wrong destination (for me), and the ‘follow trains” message board is replaced with “major service disruption: there is a major service disruption on the network due to essential signal equipment repairs. More information will be provided when available”.

CityFAIL

Great.

30 mins later, no information. No announcement.

Fortunately, I have twitter, and facebook, and a call to my wife to tell me that in FACT there was a breakdown nearby, and that’s what is causing these delays.

I avoided the first train, it was following a different line. A collegue who got on that very train just sent me a message informing me that the train did actually go on the line I wanted.. Seriously, is this system entirely manual?

Thus, I am no longer impressed at all by the system. Any system that cannnot cope with change is ridiculous, and should be scrapped. While you are there, scrap the ticket system that doesn’t allow me to purchase a set number of journeys.. I don’t take the train daily!

Cityrail need to do something about coping with problems. This was one train failure, so a few trains are out of timetable order, is it not possible to ‘signal ahead’ to let people know what’s coming??

Crazy.Any Trains - Anyone?

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Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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