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.


jon said...

I went to their new site looking for timetable information between Cheltenham and Dandenong on a Saturday. I was looking for the 826 bus, but it kept coming up '404 not found'. Only after 20 minutes of hunting around did I realise they had canned the service.

Surely in those circumstances they could leave the page up, with a notice saying "This bus is no longer running" or similar.

I think they are starting a replacement service soon, but in the meantime, there is NO direct service between Cheltenham and Dandenong on weekends AT ALL, and NO service to Direct Factory Outlets!

I didn't think it was even possible for public transport in the suburbs to get even worse. I guess I was wrong.

Peter Parker said...

Markk - the 826 was part of a family of routes including the 827 and 828 that serve Cheltenham, Dandenong and DFO.

The 826 services were replaced by 828s, so the existing service was maintained, except for the part to Pakenham (which was replaced by something else).

However you'll be pleased that the new timetable dated October '06 (now available at Cheltenham Station) includes 7 day a week service to DFO until approximately 9pm.

But I'd agree that Metlink doesn't do that well in passenger info for closely related routes.