Here's how I get onto the train in the morning. I drive to the parking lot, where a nice man in a little house takes my two dollars. I park, then walk through a building (where I have the option of going to the rest room, getting something from the vending machines, or waiting in line at the donut shop), then up the stairs, across the walkway bridge, down the other side to the train platform, where there is a large sign displaying the train schedule. There is also a shortcut to get around the building and just head for the platform.
Now, imagine that you're late. You've missed your regular train, and you do not know when the next one is coming. As I approach the parking lot, how late/early am I and how can I tell? Right now I have to get myself paid, parked, and onto the platform before I discover that the train is not due for 15 minutes. Or worse, that it just left 2 minutes ago so if I'd driven just a little faster I might have caught that one.
Let's consider better ways to disseminate this information.
* Website. True. The commuter rail has a good website. So if I have time in the morning I can check it. But what if I forget, or don't have the time, or don't realize I'm going to be in a situation where I need that information?
* Print it. I can print the whole table and have it with me . This seems like the most logical - but if you consider that I'm going to miss my train for special circumstances maybe once every couple of months, the odds are better than I will lose the paper and not have it when I actually need it.
* Tell the nice man in the little house. As you pull into the parking lot wouldn't it be nice to know whether you should be rushing or taking your time? It's a little late in the process, but it's better than nothing.
* How about a train schedule in the building itself? Do I have time for a coffee? I have no idea, because I have to go past the coffee and over to the platform to find out . They could take that same sign that's on the platform and put it on a wall next to the coffee machine.
* Telephone service. Say I was at the dentist, and had no idea what time the appointment would get out. I'm a good 15 minute drive from the train. How much should I hurry? I don't have web access, and lost my printout. The parking lot man might be able to tell me once I get there, but if I've already missed one that doesn't help me. How about a service I can call on the cell phone to find out? This one is so obvious is probably already exists and I just don't know about it.