Saturday 30 April 2016

Technology Traumas

Three Chairs : Hip, Hip Hooray!
Or maybe four? Mrs fbb had a whim. The Bible Study held at fbb mansions has attracted a "gate" of up to 12, thus extra chairs are needed. Four folding chairs are available ...
... but they are not popular with people or their posteriors. So, decided the spouse, let us purchase two folding "director" chairs suitable for the "more ample" form.
It was Tesco Direct that could deliver the twosome (£30 each, total £60) to the local store and thus, summoned by email, Mrs fbb nipped automotively to collect.
Upon opening the first box, there appeared TWO chairs. The text on the box only referred to "chair" singular. The second box was left unopened whilst much fervent email searching was set in motion. Has Mrs fbb ordered one box twive by way of an over enthusiastic clicking? If so, had she paid £120?

The young girl at the end of the Customer Service phone was less than "au fait" with the problem but offered a £10 reduction by way of compensation as the price had been reduced to £50 since the original order wended its way over the airwaves.

Being of an honest disposition Mrs fbb returned the unopened box of two to the store.

Conclusion. Tesco have been inadvertently selling two chairs for the price of one because they did not know what was in the box. No wonder profts have been down!

"Caveat Venditor" as they very rarely say!

Axminster Station

You don't think of humble Axminster Station as a hot-bed of high-tech technological "stuff"; most people buy their tickets from the man at the window or, if that facility is closed, from and equally helpful man on the train.

Some us the self service ticket machine at the front of the station ...
... which also sells car park tickets. That is good because yestrday the car park machine was busted - again!
fbb has never seen anyone using the smart card reader.
Or should that be dullcard reader. Compared with, say, Oyster, Southwest Trains's piece of plastic ...
... is nothing more that a piece of plastic. You load your ticket on-line or at a station machine and it becomes a plastic version of the standard card jobbie. No discounts, no bargain "cap", unusable in the London Travelcard area and not available between Axminster and Exeter. Click on the screenshot below to take in the huge benefits.
But Axminster has gained another technological box.
It is located just outside the Gents (and Ladies); it has a bright red light on it; the keypad says it is ready ...
... but a sticky label says that it isn't.
What it doesn't do is take cash - cards only. 

According to the company's publicity, these will allow the user to speak to a real person (at Basingstoke) for help with buying a ticket. Now that wouldn't be part of a plan to remove the man from the ticket office, indeed remove the ticket office, would it?

Of course not, says SouthWest Trains.

Well not yet, anyway; says fbb! Beware!

Bicycle Bonanza

Not really technology but just an observation. Here is Axminster Station's bike rack photographed at 1600 yesterday.
It was occupied by one push-bike and one motorbike. Just behind the fence in the background is the new bike rack.
It is double deck with bike gutters which tip and slide bikes into a high level as well as for normal platform-level storage. fbb counted over 30 bike slots.
Who is paying for this over-provision? Well it's an "initiative" from the department of transport; so we taxpayers (presumably) are footing the bill, not Southwest Trains. fbb had nothing against cyclists, far from it; but instead of over-the-top bike racks, how about keeping the toilets open for longer?

Or even shell out a few pence on an up-to-date onward travel poster?

 Next Ferry blog (plus) : Sunday 1st April 


  1. Those onward travel posters are awful with random destinations rather than places people might want to go, a map which puts the station in the middle even though the town centre may be off one side and thus is missed out and out of date - the online version gets up dated but last time I checked, the two at our local station were of different vintages with different bus information. Overall, a poor show.

  2. I agree re the onward connection poster. My worry is how often are they checked? It's bad enough when Nexus took ages to change the one they designed for Newcastle station when all the stops changed

  3. I wonder if Yeovil Junction is included in the new bike shed scheme, I've left my bike there on a couple of occasions, but the usual number is 0-1, usually nearer 0, (not dissimilar to the numbers of passengers between YJ and YPM) I've often wondered what the scanners were for.

  4. The onward travel posters are provided by Notwork Rail's publicity department to a standard format (I expect by the same people who don't bother to update the National Rail Timetable accurately any more {Barry Doe passim}).
    I enquired about updating a poster at my local station when my bus company provided a new rail-bus link; they thanked me for my interest, and said they'd update the information when next the poster was reprinted . . . . NINE months later!!! Just as well I put out my own publicity!!

  5. The posters aren't produced by Network Rail - which rarely deals directly with passengers - but by ATOC, the Association of Train Operating Companies. I think the contractor is someone like Fabrik Communications, and the problem of re-printing is that someone has to pay for it (and hasn't provided to do so in the budget).
    When I requested changes for our operations, the on-line versions were done fairly quickly, though I haven't been to the stations in question to check the physical versions. Which reminds me, I need to tell them about some forthcoming service changes....

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