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/.
Listen to Ben’s interview!