Monday, March 9, 2009

Rail Corp stops iPhone Apps

Some developers wanted to provide Cityrail time table apps to iPhone users so naturally Rail Corp tried to stop them:

Last week it was revealed that RailCorp threatened four Australians with legal action over their applications for iPhones and other mobiles that allow people to check train times.

The threats were made even though RailCorp offers no equivalent service to commuters.....

And the excuse given:

While the Victorian and Western Australian governments have had no issues with developers making programs to help commuters check train times, RailCorp has taken a hardline stance, saying the applications were providing "out-of-date" timetables.

The applications use timetable information sourced from the CityRail website but if CityRail updates those timetables, the developer must send out a new version of software for it to remain up-to-date.

Also, since the apps are based on fixed timetable information, they do not account for service delays, although the developers have said they want to add this feature into future versions.
Right so how acurate is the information given in those takeaway timetables then? Are they out of date too?

Fortunately the Premier is trying to knock some sense into them. But all government departments need to make information available. As one of the developers said recently:
"I think there are some really good apps out there and I think that it'd be good to open up the data and let the developers compete. That way they'll probably come up with better products than what RailCorp could do by themselves."

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