This post was published in July 2009 and may contain facts or opinion that are no longer current.

National Express Waste, Waste, Waste

Dear National Express,

Brill, you’ve finally failed. Now instead of money-grabbing like you’re so used to, why don’t you think about cost-cutting for once? For example, I was having a think about those great tickets of yours…

This is what gets printed for me if I book a return journey from London Kings Cross to York:

NXEC Five Tickets

So, how about we rejig a few things. Even if you guys don’t save any money from printing, you’ll get that fuzzy warm hippy feeling from using less card or paper.

NXEC Mockup 1 NXEC Mockup 2

See, what I did there is applied a very complicated design process called “make the stuff that people actually care about really big”. Unbelievably, it doesn’t matter to me what that long number is, so I made it small. Are you catching my drift yet? “What’s a ToD?”, I hear you cry. I have no idea. I also don’t care.

Using the first, we’re down from five tickets per return journey to three. Now let’s suppose you make the collection receipt optional (I’ve been on your service every couple of weeks since October last year, and I’ve never needed one) and uncheck the box by default. Two tickets per return journey instead of five.

The second’s probably a little ambitious, but wow, imagine the possibilities of a company actually removing stuff that isn’t useful on 99% of journeys (this statistic was very accurately calculated using a technique known as “making it up”).

Yes, I’m sure there are reasons things haven’t changed. National Rail probably set up some beautiful unified system in 1994 that every train company can use to print tickets, or whatever. Once again, I’m reminded of how big business and IT (or the web) are a match made in heaven.

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From 12PM on Saturday July 04, 2009

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