Letter: The train now arriving belongs to another company

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The Independent Online
YOUR article highlights the loss of information to be expected when a railway system is reduced to competing parts.

A distinction must be made between information at the service level and at the system level. In the new arrangements, no one is responsible for the latter.

The sensible solution is for the Government, or a government agency, to take on that responsibility. What is needed is a single database (held on computer) containing information about all railway services (and indeed other public transport as well). This could be used to create the integrated railway-system information which users need, leaving individual service advertising to be done by the operators.

Such a database should be freely available to anyone who can use it, including operators, publishers, private individuals, planners and research groups. With on-line access over the Internet added, exciting user-orientated travel information systems can be made available to suit any need.

Competing services only benefit users if users have the necessary information to make choices. Under the new arrangements this will never be the case.

Dr C H Osman