If you follow lots×10¹⁰⁰ of <strike>rules</strike> Trains!



  • I think that a whole separate profession should exist, not entirely unlike a business analyst, but very focused on careful edging between whatever rules and regulations exist for implementing a given product, and common sense and maybe even some sanity. Let me illustrate this with an example.

    In country X Railways, a state-owned company, there are the following rules on announcements made.

    1. an incoming train shall be announced 5 minutes before arrival, and then in time of arrival;
    2. when a train is at the station, boarding calls are given every five minutes, and the last one 2 minutes before departure;
    3. a departing train is announced on its scheduled departure time;
    4. a train being late is announced as soon as it is known it's late, giving its new ETA. This announcement and ETA updates are repeated every 10 minutes;
    5. there are generic announcements about ban on smoking, where police is, international travel regulations (check that you have your passport handy and your kids, their respective travel documents), waiting rooms etc, sprinkled in once every 15 minutes or so.

    Yours truly was there, implementing an automated announcement system, instructed to implement all these rules.

    Now imagine a 4-platform station with mild traffic, always having one or two trains with 15 to 45 minutes stay (the city is the point A for many services), and that one train that is 3 hours late every day (because it crosses two non-Schengen borders on the way, its ETA is totally unpredictable). The announcements start piling up rather quickly.

    While I was proud the system is still in place and working, I got a headache after 15 minutes spent in the station building. The voice spam was so intense it would make you think it's a transport hub of some LA-sized city, a train station and an airport merged into one monstrosity, not a rather quiet town with 750K population.

    But, I repeat, when the problem was discovered, the politics boiled it down to this: we need to implement every rule, no matter how ridiculous it is, or else the higher-ups won't see the advantage of the system. It must work its ass off, all the time, dammit!

    There is a benefit of the automated voice spammerannouncer, though. Before it had been put in place, the ladies at the control tower had to announce each and every bit of information, getting their throats sore more often than they would like to. Now, with reduced need to talk aloud (only making unscriptable announcements like "Mrs X from train Y, your family is waiting for you at the main entrance," or "Mr X, management wants to see you") they now get much less sick days.

    Anyway, there should be someone who has wits, authority, and connections to censor the rules and regulations before they are implemented, so that a product is actually useful, not an additional annoyance. Especially if the customer is a state-owned company.


  • area_deu

    @wft said:

    5) there are generic announcements about ban on smoking, where police is, international travel regulations (check that you have your passport handy and your kids, their respective travel documents), waiting rooms etc, sprinkled in once every 15 minutes or so.

    :wtf:
    It's just a goddamned train station.



  • I never understand anything they are blabbing through those crappy station speakers, so they might as well play some music for all I care.



  • The speakers are good there. I'd even say they are damn too good.

    Alas, no music. Except for one thing, of which I'll maybe tell later.



  • @wft said:

    not entirely unlike a business analyst

    @wft said:

    common sense and maybe even some sanity

    So entirely unlike a Business Analyst then?



  • @loopback0 said:

    So entirely unlike a Business Analyst then?

    Disclaimer: I happen to actually have known a good Business Analyst who knew the job inside out.


  • BINNED

    @wft said:

    4) a train being late is announced as soon as it is known it's late, giving its new ETA. This announcement and ETA updates are repeated every 10 minutes;

    HAH! I'm happy if I get any delay shorter than 20 minutes even announced. And even then it tends to be "20 minutes". After 20 minutes pass, it's suddenly "30 minutes".

    I once stood for a full hour in sub-zero temperatures waiting for the damned thing because they kept shifting it by 10 minutes - which wasn't enough time to get somewhere warm, regain some heat and come back.



  • @wft said:

    Disclaimer: I happen to actually have known a good Business Analyst who knew the job inside out.

    A good Business Analyst. Singular.



  • Just turn the volume so down that it's literally impossible to hear what they're saying, unless everyone is silent and there's no ambient noise whatsoever (i.e. never).

    I was in an airport like that once. Unfortunately our plane was continuously delayed for almost 24 hours. So being there stuck, having no idea when I'd be able to get back home, without being able to understand a word they said was not a very nice experience.



  • @wft said:

    1) an incoming train shall be announced 5 minutes before arrival, and then in time of arrival;2) when a train is at the station, boarding calls are given every five minutes, and the last one 2 minutes before departure;3) a departing train is announced on its scheduled departure time;4) a train being late is announced as soon as it is known it's late, giving its new ETA. This announcement and ETA updates are repeated every 10 minutes;5) there are generic announcements about ban on smoking, where police is, international travel regulations (check that you have your passport handy and your kids, their respective travel documents), waiting rooms etc, sprinkled in once every 15 minutes or so.

    So, if I got that right... a train that arrives 15 minutes late, and stays for another 15 minutes before leaving, would get 2+3+1+2 = 8 announcements? Do these people not know you can just put up screens with the information?

    When the rules are crazy, there's no way around that. There's only 3 possible outcomes: people ignore the rules, people complain enough that the rules get changed (good luck on that point), or people try to follow the rules and chaos ensues.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    Do these people not know you can just put up screens with the information?

    Blind people, they exist, and they use the public transportation systems.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    15 minutes late, and stays for another 15 minutes before leaving, would get 2+3+1+2 = 8 announcements?

    1. -15 min: the train being late (on schedule time)
    2. -5 min: the train still being late
    3. 0 min: the train is arriving, move your asses off the platform edge unless you're suicidal
    4. 30 seconds: the train has arrived on platform X, whoever it may concern
    5. 5 min: the train is still on platform X
    6. 10 min: the train is still on platform X
    7. 13 min: get your asses onto the train on platform X, it departs in 2 minutes time
    8. 15 min: the train is departing from platform X, move your asses out of its way unless suicidal
    So there, 8 announcements. Now imagine the fun of a few trains simultaneously, the bandwidth is 4 platforms, accepting 6 trains max. I have witnessed 4 trains departing and having at least 20 minutes of simultaneous stay, with two remaining platform having small regional trains running with much shorter stays. Imagine the amount of babbling. :-)

  • area_deu

    @wft said:

    30 seconds: the train has arrived on platform X, whoever it may concern

    Something is missing there - like "Welcome, mortals, to the city of doom muahahaha!"



  • It's actually there to notify those waiting to meet the passengers.



  • @aliceif said:

    Something is missing there - like "Welcome, mortals, to the city of doom muahahaha!"

    "The train X is now regurgitating biomass at platform 4."
    "The train X is sucking victims into its ever-hungry belly at platform 4."



  • Welcome. Welcome to City 17.

    <Filed under: Half-Life 2 was a great game. When's the sequel coming out, again?>



  • @aliceif said:

    It's just a goddamned train station.

    Hey trains are hot shit in Euroville. They haven't figured out airports yet.


  • area_deu

    Isn't FRA one of the world's largest airports?
    Also, Frankfurt(Main) Hbf does not have nearly as much announcer spam as @wft's train station in god-knows-where.



  • @aliceif said:

    Isn't FRA one of the world's largest airports?

    I dunno, isn't it?

    What do they fly, DC-2's or Ford Tri-Motors? Both AMERICAN MADE I should mention.


  • SockDev

    Depends on the airline; some will fly Boeings with GE engines, others will fly Airbuses with Rolls-Royce engines. There may be some DC-2s and whatnot, but the bulk will be Boeings and Airbuses.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    What do they fly, DC-2's or Ford Tri-Motors?

    A380s, A350s, A320s…


  • area_deu

    747s, 777s, 787s, ...



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Depends on the airline; some will fly Boeings with GE engines,

    Ah, the Boeing-247. Great plane. Beats out a Tri-Motor any day, although the DC-2 is pretty close competition.

    @RaceProUK said:

    others will fly Airbuses with Rolls-Royce engines.

    Ooo! So your airports just serve some kind of bus line, using buses build by Rolls! I get it now. I thought you guys had the power of flight for a minute there, hahaha.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Boeings with GE engines, others will fly Airbuses with Rolls-Royce

    A bunch will probably be Boeings with Rolls-Royce engines. That's the major option on any such plane purchase, since the engines typically cost about as much as the rest of the plane.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Oh yes, Boeing planes! Now not requiring a waterway to take off!


  • area_deu

    You forgot our Airships.

    Zeppelin FTW!


  • SockDev

    @blakeyrat said:

    Ooo! So your airports just serve some kind of bus line, using buses build by Rolls! I get it now. I thought you guys had the power of flight for a minute there, hahaha.


    It's a source of constant mild annoyance I share a first name with that penis…
    @boomzilla said:
    A bunch will probably be Boeings with Rolls-Royce engines. That's the major option on any such plane purchase, since the engines typically cost about as much as the rest of the plane.

    Forgot about that. Also, although it's not common, I think there are some Airbuses that use GE engines too.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    It's a source of constant mild annoyance I share a first name with that penis…

    Little?



  • Trolled the fuck out of you, buddy.


  • SockDev

    @boomzilla said:

    Little?

    :question:
    @blakeyrat said:
    Trolled the fuck out of you, buddy.

    Erm, woo, well done?



  • @RaceProUK said:

    :question:

    Like..."Hi, I'm @boomzilla, would you like to meet @littleboomzilla?"


  • SockDev

    Oh.

    Ew.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Trolled the fuck out of you, buddy.

    @RaceProUK said:

    Erm, woo, well done?

    MTFY.


  • kills Dumbledore

    @RaceProUK said:

    It's a source of constant mild annoyance I share a first name with that penis…

    I share a birthday...



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Trolled the fuck out of you, buddy.

    So now you're furry too?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    What do they fly, DC-2's or Ford Tri-Motors? Both AMERICAN MADE I should mention.

    *curses Blakey so that every airplane he gets on from this point on is an Ilyushin, a Tupolev, or a Sukhoi*

    (not that the Russians can't build a damn fine airliner, mind you -- Interjet sure seems to be happy with their Su-95s so far...)


  • area_deu

    Funny thing about Russian planes:
    Germany sold their old MiG-29s for 1 Euro each to Poland.



  • Considering the value was undoubtedly negative, sounds like a good sale to me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Considering the value was undoubtedly negative, sounds like a good sale to me.

    It's mostly because they'd have had to do a crapton of pilot re-training to use them; the MiG-29's quite a reasonable critter as far as fighter jets go, just a bit...different from its Western counterparts (the Russians up until recently had a very different way of doing attitude instrumentation than Western planes used, which makes transition training between Russian and Western types obnoxious, to say the least).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @wft said:

    Anyway, there should be someone who has wits, authority, and connections to censor the rules and regulations before they are implemented, so that a product is actually useful, not an additional annoyance. Especially if the customer is a state-owned company.

    I would say you solve that by requiring "the higher-ups" to sit in the lobby for an entire day, and don't permit them headphones or headache remedies.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @aliceif said:

    Something is missing there - like "Welcome, mortals, to the city of doom muahahaha!"

    "Welcome, citizens, to City 16. It's safenoisy here."

    ETA: INB4 :hanzo:, because making a different joke.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @FrostCat said:

    I would say you solve that by requiring "the higher-ups" to sit in the lobby for an entire day, and don't permit them headphones or headache remedies.

    That would work, but has no chance of actually happening. We go to great lengths here to insulate higher-ups from the effects of their decisions.

    But there are exceptions. At my last job, there was an experiment with an automatic coffee maker that would brew a cup at a time on demand. I don't know if it was the technology or the ingredients, but the coffee was unpalatable and everyone complained for months. Finally, the head guy in the office (who had his own espresso maker in the office) decided he wanted to try it. The machine was gone the next day.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @antiquarian said:

    That would work, but has no chance of actually happening. We go to great lengths here to insulate higher-ups from the effects of their decisions.

    [relevant anecdote elided]

    Then you fake it. Arrange a business trip with the higher-up that goes through the station, or just "we're going to check it out and take a trip to the next stop so he can see what it's like" and lie to him about the timing so he gets there early.



  • No fucking way. The local higher-ups were losing their shit about what the Bigger Shot (the Biggest Shot, obviously, is the Minister of Infrastructure) from the Capital City would say; and the Bigger Shot didn't give a tiniest ghost of a fuck, though there was kinda WTF happening right when he arrived.

    The local higher-ups are too low in the food chain, and the higher higher-ups are so high that they don't really care. This is the problem.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @wft said:

    This is the problem.

    Heh. Well, a possible solution is always "find a new job."



  • which I did a long time ago.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Ah, well, there ya go.

    I hope you managed to rant at the higher-enough-ups before you go; my current plans, if I decided to leave my job, are to do that, because I think upper management needs to hear a couple of things.



  • @FrostCat said:

    hope you managed to rant at the higher-enough-ups before you go; my current plans, if I decided to leave my job, are to do that, because I think upper management needs to hear a couple of things.

    Sounds like you should bring in a bottle of vodka for your last day... Dutch courage, and all that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tar said:

    Sounds like you should bring in a bottle of vodka for your last day... Dutch courage, and all that.

    Oh, the vodka won't be necessary.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Oh, the vodka won't be necessary.

    It ought to add a certain veneer of memorability to your rant, though...


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