Simple Location Based Service idea

I’m an avid public transportation user: train, bus, tube, … The only thing I hate is waiting too long for a train to come, or missing a train because you were seconds late.

This could be solved by a simple location based service. (I’m not completely sure, but I think both Mobistar and Proximus are already providing these kind of services, correct?) When you come close to a train station, say like in a range of 200m / 600m (you should be able to adjust this yourself). The service detects you are nearing a train station and simply sends you a message with the schedule for trains going to your home station. So a 100% push medium, which is triggered by your location. I wouldn’t mind paying like 50 cents per message, because it adds value. It let’s me know if I need to start running or can go grab a bite before catching my train.

But since the nmbs (belgium railway company) doesn’t even provide a mobile site. I’m guessing it’s going to take a while before seeing this kind of services …

I talked about this before, but if the NMBS would open up it’s train schedule database, a whole new range of services can exist:

  • more services for the people who travel with the train, you make their lifes easier
  • an extra business model if you charge for commercial use of the web service
  • build an ecosystem around the brand NMBS

Really, somebody should wake them up … we live in the year 2008, not 1998. Damnit !!


  1. Good idea, But then NMBS should start by knowing for themselves when the trains will arrive before they could send it to you. But when it would exist I would also like to pay for such a service.

  2. Yes, true.But it would be a good step to just sms the usual train schedule to you. And don't take late trains into account in the first step. Jesse

  3. I'm with you a hundred percent, that's a genius idea right there!Missed far too many trains like that.Also, you should be warned when the train is delayed, and maybe you can still catch a previous train, which is sometimes the advantage of trains being late, and me being late as well 🙂

  4. I completely agree. Sadly enough this is not only true for the NMBS. De Lijn (Belgian bus service) has exactly the same problems. I mailed them to ask if they could consider something like web services but didn't even got an automatic reply.

  5. The fact is, NMBS train schedules are static. They are in no way connected with the real timing. So when there are delays or strikes, train schedules keep the same. So before location based services find their way NMBS still has a lot to do. And if you ask my personal opinion, it's not their ambition… They don't even succeed in sending a normal HTML newsletter:…But your idea is obvious and will find its way sooner or later.

  6. Well like I said, it would be a start to just providing the static train schedules in XML… That shouldn't be to hard I guess ??

  7. […] few days ago a blogged about an idea for a service … With a new Android app (locale), it’s going to be really easy to make such a […]

  8. First, I would like to see real-time updates from NMBS. If they manage to put it on their in-station tv-screens AND they have some dudes behind a microphone in every station, it shouldn't be that hard to publish this information (example; Air Port Brussels updates his flight schedule every 2 minutes).Stupid idea, but if their was a webcam in every station filming the in-station tv-screens (the one's where you can see your delay) I would actually use that!On your idea: I'd rather have a good app on my mobile then a text message, because I want to choose when I want the info!Anyway, well done!

  9. Tnx for the feedback Lev.I want it to be a text message, because you're mainly on the move, running to the station. So a text message is a very easy way to get that info pushed to you. J

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