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Getting ready for winter & responding to your feedback

November 3, 2011

• Getting ready for winter
• Responding to your feedback
• Sneak preview of the new mobile site!
One of the problems we had last winter was where temporary timetables were introduced by the train companies, we were unable to display those trains within the journey planner – which mean we had to direct passengers to use the live departure boards. This led to confusion as to which trains were running and which weren’t which wasn’t satisfactory.

Last month, we introduced a change to allow us to show these temporary timetable changes within the journey planner, so that should the railway experience similar problems this winter, we’ll be prepared. We’ll highlight these changes to you with a blue i (information) icon in a triangle within the status column of the train times & fares page.
Information icon used on the website

Alternative routes for Chiltern Railways

One other piece of work that we’ve been involved with is improving the information given during disruption. When there are problems on a particular line, customers are often given advice that “tickets are being accepted by…” another train company. You may or may not know what that means in practicality – what station do you have to go to, where will it get you. In order to help with that, the industry has devised a set of alternative route maps, to be given out on station and publicised on websites when there is major disruption on a particular route. For example, the image to the right shows the alternative routes if there is a problem on the Chiltern Railways route between London and Birmingham.

You may have noticed that we’ve introduced a survey programme onto the website. The survey pops up and you can choose whether you want to participate or not, if you choose no we won’t bother you again on that computer. If you say yes, then at the end of your visit to the website, we’ll ask you some questions about your visit.

This type of tool is really important to NRE as it tells us how good we are, and gives us pointers as to what needs improving. One of the consistent issues raised is how to add returns or railcards to a journey. Whilst we work on improving the usability of this part of the site in the long term, I thought it might be helpful to produce a little video about journey planning. This will hopefully help in the meantime! Any other suggestions you might have for mini videos, please comment on the blog.

Live departure boards on our new mobile siteOne major change we do have coming is that at the end November, we’ll be introducing a redesigned mobile version of the website. Any of you that have used the mobile version in the last few months will have seen that it needs to be brought up to date. As more and more of you are accessing the website via mobile devices, we thought that it was important to improve it.

The new website will allow mobile users to have much better access to disruption and station information, along with your usual favourites of journey planning and live departure boards. I’ll write more when we launch the mobile site at end November!

14 comments

  1. It’s true that many customers now access travel websites from their mobile phones. Will the new format of NRES for mobiles offer anything that the current Apps don’t?


    • Hi Martin

      The mobile site will have comprehensive disruption & station information which most (if not all) apps are currently lacking.

      Cheers
      Kathryn


  2. Glad to see that Returns are being reconsidered. I was amazed when they got buried.

    Is any work planned on the cross London connections? Some seem very strange and the number of changes isn’t always presented correctly.

    Clearly the number of possibilities is immense but is it giving the most suitable answers?


    • Hi Robert

      Sorry you’re having trouble with cross London transfers. Can you give me some examples and I’ll get them investigated for you? We haven’t currently got anything in the pipeline to address routing through London.

      Cheers
      Kathryn


  3. Thanks Kathryn,
    I was formulating a journey from the Great Northern line to Waterloo for the South West. The number of changes did not appear to be correctly calculated and I was was suprised to be presented with a routing to change at Finsbury Park to the Moorgate Line. However at no point have I seen a change at Kings Cross to St. Pancras for the Thameslink Line being suggested.


  4. I travel from Sheffield to East Croydon and, like Robert, I don’t often get the Thameslink route (one change at St Pancras) suggested. That’s presumably because it takes longer than taking the Underground to Victoria or London Bridge, but it’s much easier and much more pleasant. I get round this by specifying “via Farringdon” in my requirements.


    • Thanks for the “via Farringdon” tip Nicholas.

      Even more appropriate for you as you’re already at St. Pancras!! While mine, almost understandably, is a 5 min walk from Kings Cross.


      • Hi both, thanks for your examples.

        Will have a chat with our journey planner expert and see if there’s anything we can do.

        Cheers
        Kathryn


        • Thanks Kathryn,
          Seems odd to promote London Underground when, in this case, First Capital Connect may be able to provide a more convenient service. However the more obvious problem was the number of changes required on the Underground was not being correctly shown.

          Kind regards, Robert


          • Hi Robert, I think that when a journey involves a walk, such as King’s Cross to St Pancras, the walk is counted as a leg of the journey and so two changes are identified (one at the start of the walk and one at the end). I don’t know if that explains what you have experienced but it seems possible.


  5. My connection no longer works on the new timetable, but you are still showing it on NRE and it’s clearly shown on station platform posters.The connection time has been reduced from 12 minutes to 4 and the staff say that 7 is the minimum you should consider as viable. In practice it’s rare for the connection to connect now and I now have one train instead of two per hour.

    I’ve also getting strange results with the Live departures. It’s fine initially but when I set Automatic update on it presents a different set of results. Exactly the same thing has occured on several different days.


    • Hello again,

      Can you let me know some specific examples and I’ll look into it?

      Thanks
      Kathryn


  6. The station maps on the NRE website for Clapham Junction station are very poor – they don’t even show the newly opened York Road access so are out of date and are so schematic as to be unuseable! A much more realistic map [less computer generated] would help a great deal . Something more akin to a detailed A-Z map perhaps ?



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