There was a great free application for the iPhone, called “My Rail Lite”. Regardless of whether you believe the iPhone (or trouser Mac, as I prefer to call it) is the second coming or not, this was unquestionably a useful thing to have. I used it virtually every morning to see whether I had to run for my train, or whether the lovely train operating companies had decided not to bother running any trains today. Then, this morning, as I was checking, I was greeted by this little message:
So, it seems that National Rail Enquiries have revoked the license they offered to Kizoom (who make the app) to use real time timetable data. Awesome. So not only do The Railways (yes, I know that term encompasses about a zillion different companies) keep putting their prices up, they also want to charge us for the privilege of finding out whether their trains are running. Most apps on the app-store cost £1.80 or so… They’re charging £5 for something that used to be free. I’m not the only one who is unimpressed.
So, if you’d like to grumble at them, here’s the feedback form, and here’s something to get you started:
I’d like to know why you have forced My Rail Lite to be shut down, so that we have to pay a tax to find out how late your trains are running. When it suits you, you pretend that the rail system is an open market, and that consumers are free to choose which services to use, and yet a key part of that choice is being allowed to see what is on offer (your fabulously overcrowded sweaty trains).
Thanks for shutting down a great app. Do you actually want people to choose cars over trains?
Personally, this may be the spur I need to write a little Blackheath web-app that scrapes their poxy, ad ridden, poorly designed site, and sticks it into an iPhone friendly format…. Where did I leave that O’Reilly book on Python?
NB: Apologies for the excessively geeky tone of this email… Normal service will be resumed as soon as the Bugle has calmed down, and dismounted from his high horse.