Monthly Archives: February 2012

Yet Another Interactive Bus Stop

This one is in Reading where every bus shelter is to be interactive.

Passengers will be able to download discount vouchers, games and video clips while waiting for their bus to arrive

These shelters are Near Field Communication (NFC) and Quick Response Code (QR) enabled, which means people can download items with either a swipe of their mobile phone or by using the camera to scan the QR code.

A bus shelter may, for examples, offer 10 per cent discount on a drink at a coffee shop and feature a QR code. The user would zap the code with their phone, a 10 per cent voucher would be sent to the mobile which could then be used in the store immediately.

Discriminatory Bus Stop

I posted about an interactive bus stop here. Now there’s another in Oxford Street with an interactive advertisement.

The screen showing the short video campaign, by children’s charity Plan UK, is located at a bus stop opposite Selfridges on Oxford Street.

A camera will measure facial features of the person standing at the screen to decide whether it is a man or a woman. It guesses right 90% of the time.

If it is a male, the screen will direct him to the charity’s campaign website.

The advertisement highlights the issue of women and girls in developing countries, who face poverty and discrimination, not getting the choice to decide how they want to lead their lives.

Males will not get to see the advertisement in order to make them aware about gender discrimination, the charity said.

The advert uses facial recognition software with an HD camera to determine whether a man or woman is standing in front of the screen, and shows different content accordingly.

Humour failure

Today, as I neared a bus stop I noticed a lady who kept looking over her shoulder, toward the bus, as she walked in the direction of the bus stop. I was about to pass her since I was still 20 or so yards short of the bus stop. As I half expected she waved her arms to signal that she did want to catch the bus so I pulled up. I should point out that I was running about 4 minutes late at this point. As the lady boarded I said in what thought was a cheery manner “You’re lucky. If I’d been on time you’d never have seen me!” “What do you mean?” she replied in a not very friendly tone. “I meant that since you’re late it’s lucky that I’m late as well so you haven’t missed me”. “I know you’re late” was her response said without the slightest hesitation and in an accusatory tone.

Mentally I gave up. “Sorry” I said “it was meant to be humorous. “I see nothing humorous in the bus being late” was her parting shot as she went off to sit down!

The Weakest Link

Anne Robinson appears to have changed her name to Beverley Bell as the show tries to find the weakest link in First Bus Manchester. Appearing on the most recent episode of the show were 11 First managers including regional managing director David Alexander, three operations managers, an engineering director and two management trainees.

Almost immediately the target for acerbic comment was Richard Soper, Strategic Development Director North for First who was told “You are wasted in the bus industry. You should have gone into politics” and “You should be on Question Time, Mr Soper”. When he told Ms Robinson Bell that First Bus are “operating in difficult economic circumstances” her retort was “I don’t think I would be saying it’s difficult economic times if I made a profit of £14m”.

When asked why not one First Bus service had improved, Delivery Director Kenneth Poole, said: “They hadn’t got round to it.” Ms Robinson Bell responded “So when I go out to get a bus, in the freezing fog, on my way to a doctor’s appointment, it is in the knowledge that First Group with £14m profits hasn’t got round to it”.

“Were you not bothered about coming to a public inquiry and facing the wrath of the regulator? Don’t you think you should do something about it? This has been going on for a year. It is failing badly and you have done nothing about it. “If you hadn’t got round to it when you are facing the regulator, when are you going to get round to it?”

The next round of this series of The Weakest Link takes place in March when Ms Robinson Bell expects straight answers to her questions. Will the contestants be the same? Or, will we see new faces saying action has been taken and that First Bus are now correcting their errors?

You can read more here.