Thursday, September 28, 2006

Parliament's fastest escalator

Recent frequent trips through Parliament station (which also explains the lack of posts) have had me compare the speeds of the various escalators. In particular, the ones between platforms 1 & 2 up to the barriers.

To do the experiment, you stand on the escalator (left hand side please!) level with another standee on the next escalator. Hoping that the other person has remained on the same step you compare whether they're in front or behind when you're near the top.

Having done this during the am peak for three consecutive days this week, I can confirm that the up escalator nearest Platform 2 is the fastest. It has consistently beaten the two escalators towards Platform 1 (the fourth nearest Platform 1 was going down).

What was interesting was the variability in the speed difference. On Monday and Wednesday the difference was greatest, with the escalator nearest platform 2 about 3 metres in front by the time it reached the top. In contrast, Tuesday was more even, with the difference being about 1 metre.

Research is continuing. But in the meantime, if you want a fast ride to the top, then it's the escalator nearest platform 2 that will do the job.

UPDATE 29 September: The last two days have seen escalators operate in different directions. My favourite was going down, so people going out had to use the three on the right. Of these the one nearest platform 1 was much faster than inner (platform 2 side). Inner escalator, platform 1 side was the slowest.

UPDATE 3 October: Escalators switched back to old pattern. Up nearest Platform 2 is once again the fastest.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Metlink site revamped

I think I like it. But to be sure, I'll need to upgrade from a 15" screen and/or adjust some settings, as the bottom scrollbar is getting too much work for my liking.

It's good to see they've simplified the previously cluttered left-hand directory. Though everything has a trade-off, and in this case it's that we'll be clicking through more levels to find stuff. For instance where do you go if you're daunted by the whole thing and just want a basic overview of the system?

I didn't find it at first, but eventually found something under timetables. Whereas on my site it's easy - just see the heading at the bottom of the screen and scroll down.

However there are also commonalities as well as differences. For instance both sites now have glossaries, and the similarities between them appear more than mere coincidence.

Integrating fares & ticketing into the mainstream site is good. This reverses the previous approach of having a seperate Metcard site. This was a hangover from the Metcard ideology, which emphasised, seperation, outsourcing, and the avoidance of responsibility to the detriment of everyone.

The 'My Way' feature is the major technological advance of the new site. Rather than 'one size fits all' users can select and filter information they receive for the services they use. Could this be a start towards other user-specific information, eg service disruption information, preferably provided in as close to real time as possible?

Parts are still rough or missing but the new site only came online today, so no doubt these will be fixed. But, as remarked at the beginning, the end result should be an improvement.