Covering the exceptions…

The lorry and the remains of my train line.

RER B : un camion tombe sur les voies et s’embrase

I take the train on the RER B every day to get to the office. Overall it’s a good service, mainly because of get to the office before the morning rush, and leave after the evening one.

Wednesday afternoon this week that all fell apart. A lorry fell off a bridge onto the tracks and burst into flames damaging the infrastructure in both directions. The driver was seriously injured and I hope that he recovers soon.

However, what interested me was the response and the information supplied to me as a traveller, and where it failed.

The RER B is a major line linking the two Paris airports and travelling under the centre of the city via two of the largest stations in Europe (Gard du Nord and Châtelet – Les Halles). Being a major line, there is a web site, a twitter feed, a blog, an app (in fact two) but still a lot of it was guess work.

Back to the incident, Thursday morning a delay to the overnight works meant that the line wasn’t open before 8h30. There was information about a replacement bus service etc. but I set off as usual at 7h30 because there was no information stating that if I’d waited an hour things might improve.

So thousands of passengers ended up waiting for a temporary bus, almost all of us looking at our phones. Phones with no up to date information.

The missing bit of the jigsaw is coping with the temporary, the exceptional, basically the unplanned. And this is exactly where mobile is at it’s best. Where is the app for that?


The media gap…

“FOR the past week, France has felt like a country on the verge of civic insurrection.”

Violent strikes against labour reforms are causing chaos in France | The Economist

Brilliant way to start an article, only issue is, that isn’t what France has felt like. There are strikes and awful incidents but the vast majority of life goes on.

The issue is now I can’t read any other article in The Economist this week and believe that it’s true. Probably not next week either…

And so it goes on.