Dear Nathaniel Ford,
I remember when the flat panel screens started appearing in Muni stations a couple of years ago. Folks waiting on the platform had plenty of time to speculate about what your coming network might show. Would it be soothing images of waves? Big Brother admonishments to line up and be quiet? Keystone Kops videos?
Nobody predicted that you'd actually show rail activity, but that was, apparently, the intent.
I've started photographing the screens at various times. Like on Monday when a group of French teens stood, giggling, in front of the one in Powell station. They were betting when the screen would update. It had been static for six minutes and a boy name Pierre was winning.
Here's what it looked like:
What's funny, besides the French kids' ability to make something so quotidian amusing, is that anyone with a smart phone (that's about 45% of all SF adults) can download any one of about a dozen apps that convey this info. And they never go temporarily offline.
For those without smart phones - or giant panel t.v.'s - a quick call to next muni does the trick.
It makes me wonder, Nathaniel, how much time and money is spent on these screens and the feeds that go into them.
You know what would be great, Nathaniel?
If instead of expensive, broken technology (see Clipper), Muni focussed on basic customer services, like friendly informative staff and customer-driven decision making.