Tag: tfl

Cockneys say 'nah mate' to WiFi on Tube

Would you Adam and Eve it? You would have thought the Cockney inhabitants of good old London Town would ‘ave jumped at the chance to rabbit on their dog and bone when they are dahn on the old Rubik’s cube.

But one survey of the capital’s inhabitants says over half don’t like the idea once they have headed down the old mechanised apples and pears.

Despite many a chirpy barrow boy able to whistle along to a bit of Chas and Dave on Spotify like on the Uncle Gus, 55 percent would still rather that the stations didn’t start using WiFi at all.

48 percent of the lemon squeezers were scared that some tea leaf would have a butcher’s at their private info, and maybe even half inch something from their sky rocket, enough to take the Sandy Lyle off of anyone’s boat we think, with 31 percent scared of light fingered urchins on the network.

This was not just for their precious Joey Ramones mind, while you don’t see many Pearly Kings dragging a new pistol and shooter round with them it was said that portables such as laptops were what they were most worried would be targeted by little thieving blighters.

If this wasn’t enough, seven percent were worried that just the sight of all these new fangled technologies would be more hassle than even listening to the old trouble and strife back at the cat and mouse, as all those people on the blower at the same time would well and truly do their crust in.

Capgemini announces audited 2010 results

Capgemini, the services and IT company, looks set to turn a profit on the back of public sector cuts. While cuts are not yet fully in effect, it has secured plenty of contracts including with Transport For London – as TFL plans to cut workers amidst a flurry of strikes – and saw a return to growth in the second half of 2010. 

Total revenues for 2010 were $11,792 million (€8,697 million), up 3.9 percent on published revenues compared with 2009. They were down slightly, says Capgemini, on a like-for-like basis – so that’s constant group structure and exchange rates. The fourth quarter was up 16.2 percent year-on-year for published figures, 10.5 up following the acquisition of Brazil’s CPM Braxis, and 5.8 percent like for likes.

Booking totalled roughly $13,372 million (€9,863 million), up nine percent from 2009. Book-to-bill ratios for consulting, technology and loca professional services was 1.14 for the year and 1.21 for the fourth quarter.  Outsourcing saw the highest growth of all Capgemini’s businesses, up 16 percent on 2009. Five late-launch 2009 service lines, beginning operations in 2010, accounted for 37 of total bookings according to Capgemini. 

Total group profit for the year was roughly $379.7 million, or €280 million. That’s up an impressive 57 percent on the year before. Outlooks from Capgemini’s finance team reckons that it will see growth of between nine and 10 percent in revenue. Operating margin improvements are expected to be between 0.5 points and 1 point. 

Capgemini recently signed a £10.4 million IT outsourcing contract leading on until 2013 with Tube Lines, owned by Transport for London. It’s a contractor under management by London Underground, which maintains trains, tracks and stations for the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines. Capgemini has taken over all IT support and applications at Tube Lines.

Capgemini is worth keeping an eye on. It’s a gigantic company that wins lucrative IT contracts in the public sector including an early signing with the Metropolitan police. It wields influence and as it returns to growth will likely continue to handle applications behind the scenes. Over in India, late last year we reported that along with rivals it has been locking in employees to stop them from jumping ship.

Transport for London imposes conditions for Freedom of Info requests

Freedom of Information requests are supposed to be one of the few things in life that cost very little. That is unless you’re submitting a request to TfL.

According to Adrian Short, receiving answers for an FOI with TfL meant that he had to sign a contract promising that anything published wasn’t “detrimental” to the company. In short, he wasn’t allowed to use the information to write anything negative about the agency.

The sorry story began when Mr Short  submitted an easy-to-answer Freedom of Information request to TfL about usage of Boris Bikes. Ironically he wanted the information to promote the scheme, which he thought was great.

However, TfL shot itself in the foot, asking Mr Short to enter into a contract. Its terms included: “2.1.2 [You shall] only use the Transport Data in accordance with these Terms and Conditions and the Syndication Developer Guidelines, and not use such information in any way that causes detriment to TfL or brings TfL into disrepute. The rights granted to You under these Terms and Conditions are limited to accessing and displaying or otherwise making available the Transport Data for the purposes stated by You in Your registration.”

As well as incurring the wrath of Mr Short TfL could also be in breach of the ICO regulations, which state that information must be supplied regardless of the identity and motives of the applicant.

 “A request therefore has to be considered on the basis that it could have been made by any person; the identity of that person is not a material consideration when deciding whether or not to release information. It is for this reason that we do recommend as good practice that requests under obvious pseudonyms should normally be considered unless there is reason to think that any of the matters below need to be taken into account,” it says.

And Big Brother Watch has also shown its disgust at the agency.

Alex Deane director at the organisation said in a blog: “[This] is absolutely disgraceful. No public authority has the right to withhold data on the basis that it might be used to the detriment of that authority.”

He pointed out that the data didn’t “belong” to the authority – it belonged the public, who paid both for the services about which it is collated and for the collation.

“Part of the point of the Freedom of Information Act is that it might reveal something to the detriment of the Authority in question – that’s the purpose of facilitating openness and scrutiny in the first place. Without that capacity, if the data can only be used for positive purposes, then those submitting queries are simply unpaid press officers for the Authority concerned,” he added.

“We at Big Brother Watch are extremely concerned by this development. We use FoI for our research – whether it be into the number of CCTV cameras controlled by councils, the ability of officials to enter private property, monitoring microchips being inserted into millions of dustbins, breaches of privacy in medical records, the retention of DNA samples from innocent people on the state database, covert surveillance by local councils, CCTV cars operating on our streets, or money spent on surveillance cameras by local authorities, all of our reports have depended on the Freedom of Information Act to compel Authorities to disclose information about their activities.”

He added that all agencies should use the same legislation.

We contacted TfL to get the low down – it promises a response today.

*Update A spokesperson for TFL tells TechEye: “Transport for London takes its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI)  extremely seriously and we provided a response to this FOI within 20 working days making clear that we would be publishing the remaining data on our website shortly and have since done so. 

“TfL is recognised within the developer community to be one of the most forward thinking public sector organisations in relation to making our data available and have set up a developers’ area on our website providing a host of information.  This move was universally welcomed in the developer community. 

“The terms and conditions on the developers area relate to reuse of our data and does not inhibit right of access.   Access and re-use are two separate things and it is normal practice to monitor re-use of IPR or copyrighted information when providing information in response to an FOI request.

“The reason this information is provided on the website is to provide value for money to London taxpayers and passengers. Saving information onto hard discs and sending securely through the post for one person is less cost efficient than making the same data available on the web for a large number of people.”


Tech entrepreneur ordered off bus on way to silicon roundabout

Seems some of London’s bus drivers don’t agree with BoJo and the Coalition’s plans to bring  IT entrepreneurs to East London. 

Getting on the number 21 from Mildmay Park Road towards Old Street roundabout, founder of tech start-up Squadify was carrying a computer chassis under his arm. The driver told him he couldn’t bring it on board. And if he wanted to know why, he’d call the police and they would tell him.

As far as we are aware Transport For London has no policy against bringing computers onto buses. We invite Boris Johnson to comment!

Casey since tried getting on four other buses with his computer. It was fine. Here he is:

Blimey – TFL will be introducing full body scanners and enforced intrusive pat downs next. 

A Transport for London spokesperson told TechEye:

“TfL does not have a specific policy that prohibits computer equipment from being carried onboard a bus. We do have guidance for bus drivers about particularly bulky items that may potentially inconvenience or injure other passengers.

“We expect the highest professional standards from bus drivers in London and will investigate the circumstances of this incident with the relevant bus operating company.”

We wonder if Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, would be allowed on a number 21 bus holding the model double decker bus he’s carrying in the main picture above. That picture is courtesy of WikiCommunists.

Inset photo courtesy of Mike Marcus 

BT Openzone trials wireless broadband on London Tube

We may be soon be able to wile away those boring tube rides by accessing the net on our laptops and phones, if a pilot being run by BT Openzone proves successful.

The hotspot company has teamed up with London Underground to conduct a six month trial of wireless broadband internet access services at Charing Cross Tube Station, which will begin on November 1.

Customers taking part in the trial, which will be piloted on the Northern and Bakerloo lines, will be able to log on to the internet from their laptops or mobile phones. The trial seeks to test how the service works and look at customer take up and is being entirely funded by BT.

However, it won’t cost BT too much as it will piggy-back on an existing wireless network, currently used by TfL staff, making it much cheaper to deploy.

It will initially be installed in the ticket hall area and Northern and Bakerloo line platforms at Charing Cross Tube station. These will add to the 1.6 Million BT wireless broadband hotspots already working in the UK.

Users will be able to log into travel updates free but other services require a subscription to BT’s Openzone network of WiFi hotspots, which is bundled with BT Broadband and mobile contracts with O2, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Orange.

IBM congratulates itself over London transport

IBM has given itself a huge pat on the back in a statement issued today titled “IBM Global Commuter Pain Study Reveals Traffic Crisis in Key International Cities” – we don’t know why PRs have to Stick Capitals All Over The Place, But They Do. 

According to IBM’s study, it surveyed 8,192 motorists in 20 cities on six continents. The commuter pain study highlights how rubbish international cities are when it comes to travelling around, including problems such as commuting time, traffic getting worse, traffic affecting work, traffic so bad driving has stopped, time stuck in traffic and cost. It says it ranked each city on a pain scale of one to 100, with 100 being the very worst.

IBM won a contract from Capita to take over running London’s congestion charge. Private Eye, issue 1264, 11-24 June 2010, reports that since IBM has taken over, the Auto Pay system has been fining registered cars tens of thousands of pounds in error, and the system has been plagued with errors since IBM took over in November 2009. Despite this, it still happily plonks London’s rating slap bang in the middle of the index of twenty cities, giving London a pain scale of 36 and ranking it at number ten.

According to the report, the most pain free cities to drive around in are Stockholm taking the number one spot with a pain ranking of 15, followed by a tie between Melbourne and Houston which got pain ratings of 17, then New York at 19.

The three worst cities to drive in are Beijing, Mexico Coty and Johannesburg, which got 99, 99 and 97 respectively. 96 percent of respondents in Beijing said that roadway traffic has negatively affected their health. Despite this and the awful traffic, according to drivers surveyed in Beijing, conditions have improved over the last three years after initiatives have been improved to increase transport networks. 

Here’s the full list:

Beijing: 99, Mexico City: 99, Johannesburg: 97, Moscow: 84, New Delhi: 81, Sao Paolo: 75, Milan: 52, Buenos Aires: 50, Madrid: 48, London: 36, Paris: 36, Toronto: 32, Amsterdam: 25, Los Angeles: 25, Berlin: 24, Montreal: 23, New York: 19, Houston: 17, Melbourne: 17, Stockholm: 15.

Transport for London lifts commercial data restrictions

Transport for London has today announced that it’s lifting restrictions on the commercial use of its data, meaning software developers have free reign for a wave of new applications.

As marketing man Chris MacLeod of TFL says in a statement, the majority of smartphone apps built on public data are focused particularly for the reuse of public transport data. TFL reckons it’s important that it can encourage the developer community to do its work for it and build software that helps out the average commuter.

Mike Butcher, editor at TechCrunch Europe and firm supporter of TechHub London reckons it’s great for startups and developers alike: “It’s moves like this on behalf of the mayor’s office that are helping to make London a showcase for how private sector technology startups and developers can start to leverage data tocreate products which benefit both the wider community and create jobs.”

Data sets for TFL can be found on its developer page here while feeds of tube travel, departure boards and line status can be accessed on the London Datastore here.

While BoJo banned drinking on the tube – one of our all-time favourite activities – and couldn’t make good on his promise to let smokers enjoy a fag indoors again, this one’s got a thumbs up from TechEye and we eagerly await downloading a billion tube apps to our fancy phones.

The official statement from TFL is here

We tried to reach Jackie Chan, star of London tube drama Rush Hour, for comment but he was unavailable.