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Just a quick post while I work on something more substantive.
I want to talk about Passenger Information Displays (PIDs for short) at Metro stations.
For a while, it looked like suburban stations would all be getting two line LED PIDs.
They show the scheduled time, destination, minutes to departure, and a summary of the stopping pattern, but no individual stations are listed.
Around 2016 with many stations being rebuilt, more elaborate flat screens started to appear, which add every station the train serves, and the following two trains, as well as the current time. (Larger versions of these appear at central city stations.)
More recently, at some stations the two line LEDS (only installed in 2014) have been replaced by the screens… with a twist. Some of them have been switched to a different design, which shows less detail, but in a larger font size.
This makes sense, particularly where there’s only one screen per platform. They are far easier to see from a distance.
They still show more information than that two line LEDs, including the current time and the following train, and can be switched to show different messages when relevant.
Here’s a comparison with Sydney, where they’ve gone for a two screen display, which shows the next train on one screen, complete with a full (scrolling) list of stations, and following trains on the second screen. Overall it’s got more information, but I think (partly due to the colours used) is less readable, particularly from a distance.
By the way, most of the above pictures are from Armadale. It and the other MATH stations have another older type of display on the concourse listing departures from all platforms:
Good accurate timely information is important on the public transport network, and while apps now mean a lot of this is now available on smartphones, it’s good to have it displayed around the stations.
Getting details of the following train is particularly important in morning peak, when the train at the platform may be delayed and packed. People may choose to let it go if they know the next one is only a few minutes away.
Not including a list of all stations… perhaps that’s okay at suburban stations, though unfamiliar users may still have issues, particularly outbound — for instance, a Frankston line train may be terminating at Frankston, Carrum, Mordialloc, Cheltenham or Moorabbin — it’s high time major interchanges like South Yarra and Caulfield got screens with all the stations listed.
But at least each new version has been an improvement. No doubt the PIDs will continue to evolve and improve.
This article first appeared on www.danielbowen.com
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