Metro Uses TV’s to Provide Next-Train Information

The Militant Angeleno was on his horse this weekend, beating both Streetsblog and MetroRider to break the news that at long last Metro is providing next train information on the LCD screens found in the subways.   The general consensus around the Internet is "that’s great!…But…"

The Militant writes:

Although, as you can see, it’s displayed in Militant
Military time. Which is fine for this camo-adorned urban assault
soldier, but not so convenient for the gas price-oppressed Civilian
Angelenos on the platforms (Say what? Next train coming in 16 minutes
45 seconds?).

No make matters worse, the actual time/date
display on the upper left-hand corner of the TransitVue screen shows
the usual 12-hour civilian time. Very inconsistent! The Militant
thinks, or at least hopes, the folks at Metro will change a few
settings there.

The monitors apparently are also displaying the expected arrival time as scheduled, and not using any sort of real-time technology to let you know if the train is late or on-time.  Metro staff says this is just another step in unlocking the value of the LCD screens and more upgrades are coming.  Hopefully we’ll see Metro investing more in these screens as just another way to encourage those people that are ditching their cars for Metro to make their switch a permanent one. 

Image: Militant Angeleno 

  • The screens are still a work in progress (and thanks, Damien, for including the quote by Metro staff to that effect).

    While I am sure Metro appreciates constructive criticism and suggestions, I have been seeing a lot of negative posts on the various blogs about this upgrade and I really wish that people would give Metro a chance to finish what they have started before attacking.

  • In software development, this “work in progress” stage is called either alpha or beta and is used to test the software before a full release to ensure it is usable and free of bugs. During the beta testing phase, the software is released to a limited number of people who are well aware that they are using software that is still incomplete and the purpose of this stage is to get candid comments and criticism on the software to iron out the bugs.

    Metro decided to go with an open beta testing phase (releasing the incomplete software to the general public, not a select group of testers) but they decided not to tell anyone that it was in beta. What’s more, it seems the comments and criticisms that are the reason for beta testing are unwelcome by Metro.

    If Metro wishes to not have public criticism of beta stage software they should have held a closed beta (allowing only a limited portion of the general public to knowingly participate in the testing phase) and made participants signs a non-disclosure agreement. They could have then used the comments and criticisms from the beta testers to refine the software before a final release to the general public, who would be able to judge the software at its final tested and debugged stage. Barring this, Metro should expect criticism from its customers for releasing an unfinished product onto them.


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