Why is it like that?

October 14, 2010 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

I have done some observations lately and there are three services/systems that I have experienced as dysfunctional or in need improvement (to make my day and hopefully others easier to cope with…):

1. The Kingston University Bus Stop
Waiting for the bus is boring..During the first week of Uni (freshers week) there was no bus route, just an empty sign. Luckily the bus route was posted during week two but when it is dark there is no chance of reading it unless you have a phone (ok, most of us do) to hold up and light on it. But, what if you run out of battery? The Kingston bus is less frequent in the evening and would like to know if it is another 30min wait or not.

I asked five different people who were waiting for the bus: 1 Do you know where to find the bus info? 2 Are the signs or the info clearly visible? 3 If no, how can this be imroved?. Three out of five knew where to find the info. All five thought they were not clearly visible. All five suggested a sign saying: Bus Information (or similar) and/or a light to make it easier for the user to find and read.

2. Train Station
The London Tube system is for me unique and compared to other big cities I’ve been to, for instance Paris, it is easy to find your way on the tube. However, now that the Oyster card system has been added to all rail stations around London there are no gates for you to enter or exit (i.e Hampton, Teddington, Barnes). Meaning that it is easy to travel for free if both the station you leave from and go to has got none (you do risk getting fined so it is not recommended, on the other hand there are not so many controls). Where I am getting at is actually more in favor of those who do pay. Because we are so used to these enter/exit gates I find it very easy to forget to swap my Oyster card when there is no gate there. They do have Oyster swipe machines, but they are placed next to the wall, not so visible, and doesn’t stop you if you don’t swipe your card. The result if you do forget is that you will be charged extra on your card! I do realize it is my own responsibility, but I imagine for tourists?

3. Tap Water?
For the environmentally friendly it can sometimes be quite frustrating to have to buy bottled water everywhere. It is very hard to find places where you can fill up your own bottle. And it might not be very attractive to do so in a toilet sink. So, when you spend a long day, say, in Kingston University Library and get thirsty, where can you fill up your water bottle? I think it is quite boring to keep looking for taps everywhere…

So, I went to the help desk in Kingston Library. I asked a friendly lady if there was anywhere in the Library I could fill up my water bottle? She replied that unfortunately there wasn’t. They had received lots of requests about water fountains but because of physical reasons, like plumbing, it had not been possible to follow up on these. My alternative was to use the bathroom sinks all tough the water didn’t taste so nice there… I thought, what about installing a water fountain inside the toilets or just outside? I am not convinced.

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