The Twitter User on Platform 3 is Awaiting an Apology

8th December 2016 by in category IT Support Blog tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 and 33

How a new website records the last apologies made by UK bus, train, tram, and underground rail operators via Twitter feeds

We know the story all too well. It is one that is shared by the UK’s rail users every day. Its usual opening line is “We are sorry to announce…”, which is often ended with “…any inconvenience this may have caused to your journey”. Thanks to Twitter, it is possible to (reception permitting) find out why the train from Achnasheen is 40 minutes late. Even at a request stop as well as major termini, like Edinburgh Waverley for example.

Besides following Twitter for celebrities’ tweets, it is a popular form of real time information for public transport. It enables us to find out about roadworks on the M8, delays on the West Coast Main Line, and as to whether or not there’s a points failure at Cornbrook Junction. For many people who choose to follow our local bus or rail operator’s tweets, a great many of them include apologies for lapses in service quality.

As a result, Sorry For The Inconvenience was born. The title is taken from the closing line repeated by railway announcers, robotic and human (though mainly robotic these days). It is a simple website which details the last apology sent by most of the UK’s rail franchises, plus links to the last apologies from Transport for London, Manchester’s Metrolink system, and Stagecoach’s Greater Manchester bus operations. This screenshot below shows one of the last apologies sent to a twitterer from Scotrail.

Scotrail Twitter apology

A screenshot detailing one of Scotrail’s last Twitter apologies.

It is also designed for mobile devices – an absolute must not only on usability grounds. Also due to the amount of rail commuters who are stood glued to their smartphones. Each screen shares the same colour of each operator’s livery.

The good thing is it is so simple to navigate. If only we could have said the same about our ticketing system and January’s forthcoming train fare rises.

Tabard IT, 08 December 2016.

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