One of the many blogs I try to follow via my overloaded Google Reader is HorsePigCow by Tara Hunt. Now I follow this blogs for a few reasons – Tara has been a leading light in the rise of BarCamp, did alot of work encouraging the concept of ‘co-working‘ (something which I am about to start at the Hub) and she is a big proponent of something she calls Pinko Marketing (and while I don’t agree with all of that it is much closer to my ideas than anything else I have come across). In fact I imagine that posts inspired by all these topics will pop up over the next few months. However the activity that has inspired me to write this post is the idea of TransitCamp.
Anyone who has spent more than a couple of days minus a car in Bristol will know that the public transport system is a shambles (and an expensive one at that!) and despite some high profile, big capital programmes by the Council no real progress has been made.
TransitCamps aim to put together transport officials, geeks and anyone else interested in a BarCamp style environment to try and identify achievable, mainly technical, solutions to improve the customer experience.
It seems to me that a city that is home to Sustrans, a growing community of protesters around public transport provision as well as HP Labs, ILRT at University of Bristol, UWE, iShed and a large community of talented geeks (just look at SkillSwap and the Bristol BarCamp) might be a good place to give this a go in the UK.
The success of things like MySociety in the UK demonstrates just how much can be achieved by a small group of passionate volunteers and by circumventing official channels(!) which is certainly something that would be needed in Bristol.
I think there could be some real opportunities here to just make life a little easier for those of us who use public transport regularly but also for those occasional users and visitors to whom it must just be mystifying!