Every time I use countdown.tfl.gov.uk or more commonly the mobile version I find it inexplicably pleasing. I thought I’d try to figure out why:
- It meets a real need. Knowing whether to wait for the irregular but useful 355 was the bane of a previous commute. If it was due I could be at Brixton in 5 minutes, if it was running late I could walk faster than wait the 15+ minutes for it.
- It super serves that need: no longer am I restricted to viewing the stop I’m at: I can answer “do i get this bus at stop x or that bus at stop y” from my phone. If services are rare, I can time my exit from the house to avoid standing in the rain.
- It just feels future-y. Interactions of things in the real world with that panel of glass in your pocket always feel a bit more special than posting a funny tweet.
I mean, sure I’ve nearly missed the bus arriving sometimes because I’ve been too busy checking when it’s due, but still, it’s just pleasing.
I know it’s not launched yet but it would be great if Apple incorporates the TFL Barclays Cycle Hire feed into Siri. Siri is perfect for when you can’t use the screen, like when you’re cycling. It would be great to be able to ask:
“What cycle docks are available near home?”
“5 docks available at Oval Way, and 4 at Kennington Post Office”
I know it’s a market specific request, but there’s an XML feed they could parse – here’s hoping the “beta” label gives them the wiggle room to add this kind of thing. There are a number of bike-share schemes around the world so it might not be that bespoke.
It won’t happen; but I can dream of a voice-controlled Bicycle as a Service future.
aside: you could emulate this with a text message service
“Siri, send a message to bikes, ‘i’m coming home’” and siri could read the reply.