Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Midnight train to nowhere....
It's been over two months now since I offered Irish Rail on national radio to install a public wifi service on all their trains at no cost to them. I made the offer during a conversation with Barry Kenny, Irish Rails' official spokesperson. I had to "push" him a little but he agreed to arrange a meeting to discuss my proposal. So far nothing has happened, nix, nada, zip....
The discussion was not broadcast until two weeks later due to Irish Rail being hit by a strike. Even though I heard nothing from them I decided to wait until after the broadcast before I contacted them. This just to make sure that they had the opportunity to discuss it internally and to contact me.
When I hadn't heard anything from them days after the broadcast and subsequent media exposure I decided to call Barry Kenny. He was amicable enough and promised to look into this and to talk to the people concerned. This led to me being contacted by Paul Kelly, Irish Rails' Corporate & eMarketing executive. He asked me to submit an outline of the proposal by email which I promptly did. It was also suggested that we should meet and I asked if we could meet in our Birr office. If both parties agreed to proceed with this we could have the next meeting in their Dublin office and vice versa. I did note at this stage that his emails were full off quotes such as "you should note we have had similar discussions with a number of suppliers previously dating back a number of years." and comments reminding me that a project like this would have to be put out to public tender. The latter is not true (as far as I am aware) as there are no costs to Irish Rail involved. Anyway, they seem to already be looking for reasons not to proceed with this.
I replied to their email outlining that the first meeting was simply to discuss both parties needs & requirements as well as the parameters for the project. Based on this we would decide if the project was viable and if so AirAppz would proceed with preparing a detailed proposal.
That was on June 20th...
When I had not received a reply by last week I emailed both Paul Kelly & Barry Kenny asking for an update. The response that I received was stunning.
I was told that they suspected that we had no detailed proposal. Well obviously, we have a workable solution, but we both parties need to meet to discuss and agree the parameters before we can even start working on a proposal. To prepare a proposal without any discussion with Irish Rail would just be sheer stupidity on our behalf and would condemn the project to failure from the start.
I was also told that they were: "not interested in exploratory talks unless you have a concrete technical proposal". Now I might be really thick here but how are we supposed to prepare a "concrete technical proposal" that has any chance of being accepted if we haven't even had "exploratory talks"?
Paul Kelly also made clear that any proposal "should be in line with our safety and operating environment". I understand this, but how about providing us with the details of this "safety and operating environment" so that we can make sure that our proposal falls within these guidelines?
This is just unbelievable; we make an offer that will increase Irish Rails' level of service, increase their revenue, increase the productivity of rail travellers etc. etc. All at no costs to Irish Rail. And what do they do? They dig up every excuse in the book NOT to proceed with this.
In the meantime rollouts of wifi services on public transport continues all over the planet.
I sent a reply last Thursday but have not heard from them since.
To be continued...