Today National Rail Enquires have released a free iPhone app for real time train information. Hang-on you may say, I though that app already existed.. well it does !
For the last few years National Rail Enquires (NRE) have been licensing at some considerable cost it’s information to independent software developers for them to develop their own apps, indeed one of my favourite all time apps is UK Train Times developed by Dave Addey and his team at Agant.
Todays release is clearly a case of channel conflict by a Quasi-Government organisation, and I would suggest anti-competitive.
NRE should not be developing an app and competing with it’s “partners” who have developed a range of apps for the last few years. NRE should just release the data under an Open Gov Licence and let the ecosystem develop !
So much for the release of government data empowering the software industry, my old friends at Ordnance Survey always recognised this was an issue and kept out of their partners space, not developing a mobile OS maps application despite what I might have argued at the time 🙂
Written and submitted from home (51.425N, 0.331W)
2 replies on “NRE App – just wrong !”
Its available for Android as well, feel exactly the same way. Its also quite astounding that an organisation funded by the operators charge for access to data which makes it easier for people to travel on their trains and thus pay for a ticket. It feels comparable to a shop charging to see their opening times.
Count us in on the list of affected partners. At mxData, we have invested both in the NRE licensing and the development of our own rail apps. We charge a premium for our rail apps in order to cover costs of the NRE data. We now have to look back and question the wisdom of this – not to mention the lost opportunity costs.