Tuesday, 22 December 2009

eurostar slammed over PR disaster

It was not just Eurostar's trains that failed this weekend but also its public relations team, say disgruntled passengers.

As a crisis unfolded deep in the Channel Tunnel, leaving thousands stranded, those on board the trains and their waiting relatives said they were left completely in the dark.

One of those left stranded on the Eurostar 9059 service was Colette Ballou, co-founder of a French-American PR consultancy, who used Twitter to describe the conditions.

She told of the lack of information being given to passengers, the growing frustration, the shortage of food and toilet paper and the resilience of her fellow travelers.

Monday, 21 December 2009

someone, somewhere please help...

Eurostar have recently appointed Someone to redesign its logo. The London consultancy beat three other agencys to win the contract.

They will create the new identity in preparation for next year, when Eurostar will be exposed to competition from other train operators for the first time in its 15-year history. I bet they can't wait.

If the last few days are anything to go by, I'm not sure the travelling public will be fooled into thinking that a new logo will actually mean a new service. If you are running a train company and can't get your trains to run in the first place, I think you've identified the real problem.

Friday, 18 December 2009

the blog gets a fresh new look

Moving people has had a makeover in time for the new year!

Luckily it's wasn't done by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, so no MDF needed. It now follows the newsletter and is easier to read. Let us know what you think.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

oh Lord I'm confused

In one of yesterday's posts, Lord Adonis was quoted as saying "If passengers had smart tickets they'd almost certainly use public transport more" - in relation to the government's proposed investment of £20m in smart card technology.

Does this mean people who don't currently use public transport are likely to start using it or people who currently use it will do it more? Or both?

Although the investment is to be applauded (cynics would argue a timely pre-election announcement) I would suggest transport companies concentrate on basics such as cleanliness, staff attitude, pricing and punctuality to start with.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

pointless station signs

Station signs, and there are lots of them, are meant to help the user by displaying useful information in a clear and concise manner.

I follow the often interesting Railway Eye blog, which runs a nice feature on 'Pointless signs'. As you'll see below, some of them really are astonishing bad.

All of these signs were produced and displayed to satisfy a legal, health and safety or informational red tape. None of them help the user by displaying useful information in a clear and concise manner.

smartcards move even closer in Yorkshire

Bus and train passengers in Yorkshire could be using electronic smartcards instead of paper tickets within three years under Government plans to extend the technology nationwide.

Transport authorities in West and South Yorkshire have been given a share of £20m to develop systems similar to London's Oyster card, after a trial called Yorcard testing the technology on buses and trains in the region came to an end in October.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis makes the claim: "If passengers had smart tickets they'd almost certainly use public transport more'. Let's hope so.

Read the full story here

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

'Eyebrows' goes to the top of the charts!

The Cadbury's Dairy Milk commercial featuring a boy and girl with "dancing" eyebrows has been named the public's favourite TV advert of 2009.

The chart, compiled by website tellyAds.com, reveals that Cadbury's' "Eyebrows" has been watched 200,000 times on its site this year – and another 5m times on YouTube.

Public interest in TV adverts seems to be greater than ever, the poll reveals. Visitors to tellyAds have watched 6.3m clips this year, 50% more than last year.

shock as Ryanair changes name and website

Shocking news that Ryanair, 'the World's favourite airline' with 37 bases and 950+ low fare routes across 26 countries, connecting 150 destinations, has changed its name as part of a new 'honesty' campaign.

Check out the new name and website here.

Friday, 11 December 2009

it's not only us designers that can't spell!

The ill-fated Cambridgeshire guided busway has had another setback after a road sign was painted incorrectly.

The handover and opening of the St Ives to Cambridge route has been repeatedly put back and is unlikely to happen until 2010.

A workman, working for the contractor, painting white Guided Bus Only signs in the road in preparation for the busway has written the "N" back to front.

The busway was expected to be completed in November but more work was needed.

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said the contractor was "already aware of this mistake and will be putting it right".

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

FGW won't sell you a sandwich, you might choke!

A train steward refused to sell a passenger an egg sandwich... because he might choke on it.

Chris Haynes had gone to the buffet car after the crew announced that everyone on board would get a free soft drink as compensation for the train breaking down.

After suffering the long delay and a lengthy queue to be served, Mr Haynes was understandably hungry.

He saw some egg sandwiches on sale behind the bar that looked appetising, but when the 58-year-old came to order he was astonished to be told he couldn't buy one.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

TPE release new FREE Lake District walks booklet for 2009

A couple of years ago we we're asked by First TransPennine Express to design and implement an easy-to-follow walking guide, depicting five picturesque walks all written by renowned author Mary Welsh.

The five walks all started and finished at stations along the Lakes Line of the TransPennine Express route. The final option agreed for development offered a front cover, generic to the theme of rural walking and included simple graphics walkers could follow with ease.

An effective fold out map for each walk, ensured the communication was user-friendly. Station posters at all Lake Line stations were produced and highlighted availability of the guide.

I went down really well. With the highest praise came from a Mystery Shopper, who noted in a report to senior management;

”...On publicity though, I must say that the booklet ‘Catch the train and go walking around the Lake District’, with its superb fold out maps, is one of the finest pieces of railway publicity I have seen for many years. Whoever worked on it is to be congratulated”. 

On the back of the project’s success, we we're commissioned to produce a second series of walks for their Scotland routes and have just finished a new booklet of 2009 walks. Check it out here.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Japan's hotels target train spotters

Japanese hotels near stations are trying to attract train spotters with rooms marketed as having a "rail view".

Most people would prefer a room away from the tracks, fearful the double glazing would not block the rattle of a passing early morning express.

But some hotels near stations in Tokyo are turning a potential disadvantage into a business opportunity. They are trying to broaden their appeal beyond tourists and business travellers by marketing rooms to train spotters.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

NRE 'easy' web guide headache gets worse!

Now I don't mean to keep going on, but this just gets better (or should that be worse).

Following my scathing review I have just found this YouTube video entitled 'Stations Made Easy full film - what it is and how to use it.mov' a catchy headline. And it's even more boring, drawn-out and dreary than the site itself. No wonder it's got a whole 16 views in three days (one those was me).

The problem is, the whole site is just so massive. It's just full of images and text and you're constantly scrolling and trying to process all the information. This can be seen when the video explains the routes through the station (5:20 into the video if you're still awake).

They could have done a Google streetview style journey, where you could walk through the station. That would have been truly interactive.

But the best (worse) bit is when David Sindall of ATOC proudly says...

New 'easy' web guide is actually one big headache!

It is meant to make it much easier to get around the rail network but the new feature on the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) website does anything but.

Launched today, a new 'interactive' web guide to stations in Britain, called ‘Stations Made Easy’ aims to help elderly and disabled people with mobility problems, parents with young children and passengers with heavy luggage to find out more about their local station and its facilities.

Apparently it's a first anywhere in the world. And over 2,500 stations in Britain were photographed to give passengers a step-by-step guide of how to get around when they travel by train.

But I have a couple of problems with it...

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

National Railway Museum's new website shocks us

The National Railway Museum has launched their new website. And I like it!

It has managed to incorporate a fresh, easy-to-navigate look, along with detailed images of the historic exhibits.

The background images change depending on the section you are viewing and remain stationary when scrolling, giving a nice roller effect to the content.

It works really well, the only criticism being that the background images are a bit too cluttered and deter from the content on the page. Especially on a large screen where you can see a lot of the background.

Check it out here

Good job!

Your train fare going up? Check here.

Train companies have announced how much their fares will rise in January. They say the average 1.1% overall increase is the lowest since privatisation of the industry in the 1990s, but there are fears some "unregulated" fares - which include cheap day returns - will go up by considerably more.

Here is a summary of the changes: