Idiot damn fucking bollocks

Do we have to be ruled by entire idiots?

Rail operators are scrapping printed timetables as part of a multi million-pound cost cutting exercise, sparking claims that passengers’ personal safety is being put at risk.

Pocket and poster timetables are in the process of being withdrawn and replaced with QR codes, sparking fears that elderly people without smartphones could be forced off the railways or left stranded at stations.

The advantage of a printed timetable is that you can scan along the information. Whereas scanning a QR code gives you the one nugget of the information, not the spread of it.

But more than that:

“Printed timetables cost around £2m a year and are used by 1pc of passengers, which is why we’re in discussions with the Government about redirecting this money to invest in better, real time information and prevent a significant amount of paper being used unnecessarily.”

What’s the betting that you could sell a lot more than £2 million a year’s worth of advertising on timetables? After all, the folks who do use them are going to be looking pretty concentratedly at the piece of paper.

Keep the logistical system that collates the info, flog it off to some likely lad.

18 thoughts on “Idiot damn fucking bollocks”

  1. If we can so easily dispense with something that only 1% of users actually want or care about, does that mean we can dispense with all the snowflake-pandering identity group bollocks too?


    Thought not.

  2. Oh well, that’s another thing I’d be locked away from. I never use QR codes. Don’t have the app on my phone. How am I supposed to know where it’s taking me?
    That goes with never clicking on links in e-mails or SMS, never using a banking app or doing any other financial transaction on a phone (one exception’s Uber) I just regard them as inherently insecure. Android’s a target for every hacker on the planet & the vast majority of Android users are as thick as mince.

  3. Bloke in North Korea (Germany Province)

    You could probably sell a lot more advertising on the space no longer occupied by timetables.

    But yeah, shit idea.

  4. Scanning a QR code could easily take you to a .pdf document which was a classic timetable, or even a collection of them.

    But JuliaM’s point stands…

  5. BiTiN: but without the proofs of the printed timetable there’s likely to be no PDF. The QR code will be a link to a website that just gives you a route & times, or even just the arrival time at the destination.

    Traksy might be a better source for some purposes.

  6. BiNK,

    “You could probably sell a lot more advertising on the space no longer occupied by timetables.”

    I doubt it. Most of the advertising in stations is pretty low grade. Lots of ads for churches or romance novels. People aren’t hanging around on their way through to a platform. Timmy’s point is valid. You’ve got people looking at the times. The smart thing would be to put ads that apply to the destinations.

    I suspect what’s going on here is railways slashing spending. Not even thinking too hard about whether it’s good spending or not. Revenue is down to around 35% of pre-Covid, stations busier on weekends than weekdays. Rail is going through a shock because for the first time, they can’t just be a bunch of useless, overpaid bureaucrats and still get people to pay handsomely. They are very poorly managed and are just going to randomly cut costs.

    And the government has no grasp on how rail is used, even though the ORR produces reports on this stuff. Commuting is half of all travel, and most of it has gone with Covid. How many people are going to care about travelling at high speed from Leeds to Birmingham?

  7. TG

    Somewhere, there’s a database with everything in.
    It’s just an extract and print report function directly into timetable format.

    If third parties can get the info then the rail companies can certainly publish.

  8. It’s feminisation, isn’t it? Reading a timetable is a male thing, like reading a map. (Yes there are women who can do both, but they are exceptions.)

  9. BiTiN,

    “Somewhere, there’s a database with everything in.
    It’s just an extract and print report function directly into timetable format.”

    There’s some open data feeds. Could package them up into a paper book and sell print-on-demand.

  10. 2 million div by 2566 stations in UK = £779.42 per year per station. Seems a lot. I suppose its revisions and reprints that cost the money.

  11. I read the story with incredulity. It is a basic function, nay duty, for a transport operator to have a timetable prominently displayed at a station or stop. The minimum should be a display of the first and last services.
    I am astonished that it is not the law where transgressors are soon closely acquainted with large felines.

  12. Hallowed Be,

    “I suppose its revisions and reprints that cost the money.”

    It’s the bureaucracy and the overpaid staff.

    The data exists. The software is built. So, the costs are printing and some software maintenance. Printing is cheap. Plenty of companies out there who will do printing onto A0 for not much per page if you give them PDFs or postscript files. £2m? If I charged £500K I’d be milking it.

  13. “Keep the logistical system that collates the info, flog it off to some likely lad.”

    Someone named Bradshaw, perhaps.

    But yes, comment of the month from Julia.

  14. The Original Jonathan

    Trying to read a timetable on an electronic device is useless. On a physical printed timetable you can see the *entire* timetable, you can see all the timed stops, you can see the first service and the last service, you can see alternative services next to it, you can see different services that might be a better route using a change at a differet stop. *ALL* *AT* *THE* *SAME* *TIME*.
    On an electronic device there physically is not the space to show anythong other than a few times for one service at one stop.
    Just last week I was fighting to get the timetable for a bus to leeds just physically visible on my PC so I could make a choice as to which actual service to actually travel on. It refused to display any times until I’d chosen a time to book a ticket. HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE WHEN TO BOOK A TICKET WHEN YOU REFUSE TO FUCKING TELL ME WHAT TIMES THE FUCKING SERVICES RUN?????

    It’s like my local bus station doesn’t have a clock any more. “Oh, but everybody has a watch or a phone with a clock on.” Yes, but that means having to put down my luggage, undo my coat, take my glove off, scrabble inside my coat for my pocket, find my phone, open the cover, focus on the screen, close the cover, put it back in my pocket, do up my coat, put my glove on, pick my luggage back up…. then realise the time never settled into my counciousness and I need to do it all again. Whereas a station clock: glance upwards, time, done.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ 2 million div by 2566 stations in UK = £779.42 per year per station. Seems a lot. I suppose its revisions and reprints that cost the money.”

    When I was travelling regularly on the Chilterns line and then the Exeter – Waterloo service the timetable didn’t change at all from year to year. No much need for revision and reprint.

  16. “It’s like my local bus station doesn’t have a clock any more”

    “Architectural Salvage Expert” Drew Pritchard has probably bought them all….

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