New Social Behaviour

I love it when new kinds of social behaviour emerge.

Do you know the Vermeer painting of a woman reading a letter by a window?

Well now we have people standing by the window to maximise the signal strength on their phones.

It’s kind of the modern equivalent of taking advantage of the light streaming in through the window.

The main reason for this article though is to point out the behaviour brought in by the new electronic signs at bus stops here in Edinburgh.

The system picks up the real-time progress of the buses and displays it on boards about eight or nine feet above the ground.

The problem is that the bus shelters hide the boards.

So now in an attempt to read the boards we have a lot of ducking of heads, tentative walking past the people in the queue, sideways shimmies, and the occasional bending at the waist or knees.



5 thoughts on “New Social Behaviour

  1. In many US cities they have similar boards for bus/light rail/trolly but they’re mounted horizontally w/in the shelter area so you can easily see how many minutes you’ll have to wait for the next ride.

    Another option for riders is to receive real-time data re: arrival times online (laptop/ipad) or as a txt msg to your mobile phone.

    Not all cities have this type of GPS tracking. In fact in Austin, TX they’re still stuck in the 80s with paper bus passes (even when you purchase a monthly pass in advance) and they don’t offer online top-up nor is there a way to inform riders of delays – which just plain sucks when it’s 105 (f) outside and your bus was either 10 minutes early or is going to be very late. :-/


    1. I think the people who designed the shelters and the people who designed the boards were probably intended to get together 😉

      Inside the bus shelters would be good.

      We have QR codes in almost all shelters – even the ones that don’t have the digital boards – and they link to webpages with real-time info.

      105° – and humid?


  2. At least they tell you what’s happening with the buses. Last weekend while visiting my daughter in Sydney we waited for 90 minutes, at night in winter, before a bus bearing the number we needed arrived. There was no explanation for what happened to the others that should have come before that.


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