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Ben Smith introduces crowd-sourcing for UKTrains

Good man, that Ben Smith!

As well as being a MIR Show contributor — and that already sticks him in the pantheon of the Gods as far as I’m concerned — Ben Smith has taken on the rail industry in the UK and left them looking like the damp squids that they are.

His UKTrains Tweet-Alert system has evolved to the next level with crowd-sourced alert functionality.

From today we are testing crowd-sourcing of train travel information in addition to the operator-sourced data we get via the BBC. To have your message automatically retweeted, ensure you are following the Twitter account you want to send an alert to, then add a star character after the name of the twitter account you are addressing:

@[twitter account] * [Message to be re-tweeted]

e.g.

Retweeted: @uktrains * All trains out of Waterloo are delayed at the moment. [star indicates message should be re-tweeted]

Retweeted: @uktr_ virgin * Virgin service earlier dealys seem to have cleared. [star indicates message should be re-tweeted]

Retweeted: @uktr_firstcc* Services into Kings Cross stuck delayed by 20mins. [space between twitter name and * is optional]

Not re-tweeted: @uktr_londonmid Thanks very much for the warning of this morning’s delays! [no star included]

At present the service is built only to act as a proof of concept to gather feedback from users. As such re-tweeting may be delayed by up to an hour (although more typically 10mins). If successful a more rapid service will be provided which treats direct messages in the same way.

In this version twitter accounts for specific operators (the ones beginning @uktr_…) re-tweet messages directed at them. The @uktrains account re-tweets alerts from all operators.

As ever, feedback is welcomed to @bensmithuk.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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