MySociety marshals griping commuters to fix UK transport
'We'd have done climate change, but even Obama can't sort that'
Commuters who like to complain have a new outlet with the launch of FixMyTransport.com, a website that gets your grievance to the right person.
The new site, from charitable democracy project MySociety.org, allows the transport-weary masses to report broken ticket machines, locked gates or stations without stair-free access to the person responsible.
Volunteers gathered reams of operator email addresses where commuters can forward their moans. The service is available across Great Britain and includes "300,000 stops and routes for train, tube, tram, bus, coach and ferry", MySociety said.
Sister site FixMyStreet gets around 50 per cent of its reported problems sorted out, MySociety director Tom Steinberg told The Reg, with around 1,000 complaints coming in each week.
Asked why transport was the next bugbear for MySociety, Steinberg said, "It's got two qualities: one is that it's a very common issue to complain about, but the other is that transport problems on a small scale can generally get resolved by small groups of people – whereas something like climate change, well, not even Barack Obama can solve that on his own."
As well as being a facility for a good old whine, MySociety also hopes the site will give folks who are not usually terribly active in politics their first taste of social activism. FixMyTransport will not only post commuters' criticism publicly, but will also post any correspondence from the operator as well as comments from other users, so your strongly worded letter could become a full-on campaign for change. ®
The sad thing is that if the government did try and do it themselves, it'd be a multi million (if not billion...) pound project, and 5 years late.
It would be running on cheap shared hosting, which would fail under the load of 0.1% of the UK population trying to use it normally within five minutes of the site being announced on BBC and el reg. Management would fail to see the problem, since "it worked fine when we tested it" (with 5 beta testers)
It would then stay down for weeks while management tries to shift the blame to the techs who told them what would happen, while trying to avoid paying more than £5 a month on a dodgy shared hosting outfit which has "unlimited" bandwidth available for use.
After enduring weeks of management suggestions that they could do something that won't help (like burn offerings to the server gods, or something equally as stupid) the techs will then get permission to use a real server outfit, and then the site will go up.
At which point it would be discovered it only supports IE6, thus requiring a complete rewrite for 3 times the starting amount. Meanwhile, the person who managed the program receives an OBE and another position in the civil service while the management say that "lessons were learned..."
THAT is what would happen. Though I may have missed a few bits.
Love thier strapline
"Euston we have a problem"
Great stuff. Hope it gets the job done as well as FixMyStreet.
Re: Why not Global Warming?