Dear VR, go to Twitter


Image by iivo

VR is the one responsible of Finnish railway system, and it tends to be late rather often. I don’t know if they are paying attention in the company, but people are talking and this “being late” is already a public joke. Google “vr taas myöhässä” (in Finnish “VR late again”) and you get many pages filled with news and people talking about this. I say this, if there was some other company that would get this kind of bad publicity, it wouldn’t stand a chance i the markets.

And for you people out there saying “You shouldn’t complain too much, instead you should be happy at least having trains!” I say this; if a customer pays good money for something, he or she should get value for it.

The train tickets aren’t free and last time I was late from a meeting over half an hour – not to mention that at that same day my girlfriend’s train was late over an hour. People have schedules and it may totally ruin them if you never know what’s going to happen.

I talked with this one guy during the train trip and he said he’s been doing a lot of traveling with the trains and in some point the trains were more often late than in time. This is unacceptable.

But I won’t stand here just throwing rotten tomatoes, as it seems it’s somehow impossible keep the trains on time in this country, I’ll offer VR a free advice. Straight from a social media user.

Start sending regular Twitter updates

Please, start informing us better if the train is late. Tell us which train, where and how long approximately.

The first thing someone’s going to say is “not that many use Twitter in Finland”. Well, maybe they would start if there was something tangible like this.

The second thing someone will say is “Well, how could they tag the trains, there’s so many of them?” Well, you could use hashtags with train ID’s like “Train #IC922 is off schedule 15 minutes” or “Train #IC922 standing at Pasila station because of a mailfunction”.

Hell, we could do this by ourselves. The tools are there, anyone can start using them for our mutual benefit. People could start updating to Twitter if on a train that’s going to be late, for example: “markoteras: #VrJuna #IC164 late 20 minutes”. The example could be from is from my last trip, but unfortunately I didn’t think of this then.

Someone could also say “But how about if someone starts sending fake updates about the trains?”. This is the same danger with every network, but the community will take care of people like this. And they will ban people and IP’s on Twitter.

Do you happen to have a better idea or a site already gathering this kind of information? Because Service alterations at http://www.vr.fi are too stiff way to handle these kinds of rapid changes and why not use these tools when they are there just waiting?

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6 thoughts on “Dear VR, go to Twitter

  1. When they leave late from Helsinki, it’s a bit problem, but when you live here in middle of nowhere you can get quite good info about your train from http://www.vr.fi/fin/aikataulut/liikennetilanne/junan_kulkutiedot.php

    And it’s also for mobile http://service.vr.fi/juku/mobile/haku.action?lang=fi (Shorter http://mobile.vr.fi )

    I wrote something about VR yesterday http://blog.jossain.net/2010/02/11/paivan-puujalka/ 😉

    And no, we don’t necessarily need Twitter. Common people can’t use the info. But more info on vr site and above all, more info on station infoboards! I’ve heard that it’s impossible to know what’s going on if your waiting in Pasila.

    • Thanks Antti for these, haven’t noticed these ones. Funny to see when checking the trains, that just now almost every train from Tampere to Helsinki was a bit late again. 😀

      I agree that we don’t necessarily need Twitter, although they could direct their info also there somehow. I know that I could use this channel. But like you said, it’s not about the channel, it’s about communicating the message to the customer in the most efficient way.

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