Faceless corporations II


Me to National Rail:
I’ve moaned about this before but obviously I didn’t make myself clear. Here is a good example: my wife is on the 17:30 from Oxford to London Paddington. I want to find out when it arrives in Paddington so I can go and pick her up. It is 17:40 now. How do I use your web site to do this?

I can’t use the Oxford live departure board because the train has already left so it has disappeared from the board. I can’t use the Paddington arrivals board because it doesn’t say when it left Oxford, so I don’t know which train it is. I can’t use the Journey Planner because for some STUPID reason it doesn’t let me inquire about journeys that start in the past.

How do I find out when my wife arrives at Paddington? What could POSSIBLY go wrong if you allowed people to enquire on past journeys in the Journey Planner?

National Rail:
Thank you for your email. The next station that this train arrives at is Slough and is due at 18.11. Go to the live departure boards and input Slough.Click on the journey for London Paddington timed at 18.11. This takes you to a page showing the whole of the journey.We trust that this information is of use to you.

Me:
How am I supposed to know that the next station this train arrives at is Slough?

National Rail:
We apologise for any inconvenience caused. You will need to go to the Live Departure Boards, input the starting station and the time of departure. Click on the journey you require, this then takes you to a page which displays the journey and the estimated times of arrival at each station. It is then possible to go to each stations departure board to find out whether this train is on schedule. Once again we apologise for any inconvenience caused, and trust that this information is of use to you.

Me:
Hi, and thanks very much for your prompt reply.You are asking me to go to the Live Departure Boards and input the starting station and the time of departure. However, I can’t input thetime of departure on the screen available to me: http://ldb.nationalrail.co.uk/ldb/livedepartures.asp

Maybe you have access to a screen that I can’t find?

If you are talking about the Quick Timetable column on the right handside then that is no good either because the journey has already started and it refuses to give me information about journeys that begin in the past.

I sincerely believe that the design of your pages could be improved. The example I have given you is just one genuine problem that could easily be solved. Your system designers appear to have accidentally made these pages less useful than they could be. I say this in a spirit of helpfulness and a desire to make the world a better place.

I did eventually find my wife, by the way, so this is a purely academic discussion now.

National Rail:
We do apologise for the problems caused.When you go to the live departure boards, input the station of departure, click and go to the departure board.Then you look for the starting time of the train. When you find that, click on the destination. This takes you to the page showing the complete journey and the estimated time of arrival.If the train is running late, the times will appear in red.Your comments will be passed on to the development team for consideration for the future.

Me:
Thanks very much for passing on my coments to the dev team. On your final answer, I would say that this would be great except that the train I want is no longer on the departure board because it has already left.

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