Creator of UKTrains site is MIR’s very own Ben Smith — UPDATED

Our very own Ben Smith is being hunted by the BBC this afternoon. All things being equal I think he’ll be on BBC Radio 4 later today.

They’re after him because of of his brilliant creation: UKTrains.

Here’s the service overview:

Inspired by this tweet from MP Tom Watson and enabled by the excellent BBC Backstage’s travel feeds, this prototype service tweets disruption alerts for 25 UK train operators. The original data is processed and shortened to less than 140 characters (in most cases) by Yahoo Pipes and tweeted via Twitterfeed which also adds a short-link back to the original BBC report. Tweetlater provides the automated welcome DM.

I’ve been using it for a week or so now and it’s come in REALLY, REALLY handy. It’s excellent to have the updates appear in my Twitter stream.

Of course, services like this shouldn’t have to exist. But our rail companies resonating with neolithic incompetence can’t even get their trains running properly (“wrong kind of snow”), let alone get you decent feeds like this.

Instead you end up having to pay 25p plus the cost of a text message to be notified when your train operator has screwed up. That is class-A rubbish.

So kudos to Ben for creating the service.

Head over to the UKTrains site for more information and to subscribe to alerts for your area: http://uktrains.pbwiki.com/.

Update:

Listen to Ben’s interview!

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  • jimwild

    Awesome mash up. Very impressed.

  • http://www.kcjhdesign.co.uk Kip Hakes

    Yeah – 3 cheers for Mr Smith – there is more to him than 'facts' alone :) – first thing I did this morning was to fire up twitter and see the updates from @uktrains and @m25updates – Twitter is fecking amazing.

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    Thanks for the write-up! Ironic that after 10 years of IT consulting for big-name clients, something I knocked up in 2 evenings with simple services gets me on the BBC (hopefully) and Techcrunch on the same day.

    :-)

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    Have just had a call from the R4 producer to say my 'package' won't make it to air because they have too much (some fella trying to assault the Chinese PM in Cambridge I assume), but he wnts to use it on R5.

    Oh well… it was on Techcrunch… I'll take that :-)

  • jamesbody

    Excellent effort Ben!

    Any idea which progrmme/segment on Radio 5 your piece is on?

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    I think Techcrunch trumps the BBC!

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    We got R5 in the end.

    2009/2/2 Disqus <>

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    It went out at 6:45pm on R5… For posterity (and not vanity) I'll see if I can get it from 'play again'.

  • http://whatleydude.vox.com James Whatley

    I missed it. Can someone grab the audio from iPlayer and post it?

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    I'm on it.

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith
  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    It was barely a sentence, but http://tr.im/e929

  • Pingback: Ewan @ MIR()

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  • http://www.fresh-plastic.com Ant Carroll

    And of course, Ben was inadvertently tweeting live on Sky News last night: http://twitpic.com/1axno

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    You wouldn't believe how often that happens :-)

    Actually, it's funny because it was my first ever #uksnow tweet… to tell them they were on BBC R5 :-)

  • http://www.fresh-plastic.com Ant Carroll

    And of course, Ben was inadvertently tweeting live on Sky News last night: http://twitpic.com/1axno

  • http://benjam.in Ben Smith

    You wouldn't believe how often that happens :-)

    Actually, it's funny because it was my first ever #uksnow tweet… to tell them they were on BBC R5 :-)

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