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Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221234? (Read 127,671 times)
Dave
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Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221234?
Nov 25th, 2009 at 10:28pm
 
A recent submission to the database for Transport for London with the number 0843 222 1234. It had a note "020 Travel Advice number likely to be discontinued".  Huh

The 0843 number is answered by a female voiced IVR, the same voice as is on 020 7222 1234. The menu options on the 0843 number are slightly different to those on the 020 number. They are both announced as "Transport for London's 24hr Travel Information Line".

The 0843 menu is:

1 Travel information (including journey planner)
2 Engineering works
3 Useful transport contacts

The 020 menu is:

1 Engineering works
2 Speak to a travel advisor
3 Useful transport contacts

It is interesting to note that speak to an advisor has been replaced by an automated journey planner service.

I have Googled the 0843 number and can find no trace of it. It may be in the design and testing stages.  Undecided
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« Last Edit: Nov 25th, 2009 at 10:29pm by Dave »  
 
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irrelevant
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #1 - Nov 25th, 2009 at 10:49pm
 
It's been a while since I needed to call TfL, but they've had that same number since it was quoted as "ABBey 1234"  - I've some old tube maps with it on like that - to kill it now for something as money-grubbing as an 0843 is ridiculous.  Any Londoners on here want to protest to Boris?


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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #2 - Nov 26th, 2009 at 10:15am
 
Source: Evening Standard

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23764640-musicians-stage-protest-...

<<
Musicians stage protest over rules that could drive them off the Tube
Katharine Barney, City Hall Reporter
05.11.09

Tube musicians took part in a mass busk outside City Hall in protest at what they call draconian new measures.

The 250 performers who play across the network say many are being forced to quit.

Buskers are angry at being banned by Transport for London from selling CDs or handing out business cards which gave them extra earnings.

They are also objecting to new guidelines on noise and a higher-rate phone number to book their pitches.

The buskers say TfL has banned them from performing if they have not pre-booked, when it was previously accepted that they could play in a spot if no one was there 20 minutes after a two-hour slot began.

They claim problems began this year when TfL took over management from a private contractor.

Michael Ball, 47, who has been busking for 25 years and plays in West End Tube stations, said the changes would drive away talent. “It's cretinous and makes me despair.

“Previously we just rang a standard rate number once a week and booked our slots. Now we have to call an 0845 number and every time no one answers we get a message which costs 40p. The whole process ends up costing about £20 a week.

“They won't even meet us to discuss our concerns. Previously we had quarterly meetings. This is just incredibly bad management.”

[…]
>>
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #3 - Nov 26th, 2009 at 10:34am
 
I wonder how much the 0843 222 1234 number cost. It's memorable and it's last seven digits are the same as the current number. This specification must surely have come at a price.  Huh
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« Last Edit: Nov 26th, 2009 at 10:37am by Dave »  
 
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #4 - Nov 26th, 2009 at 11:45am
 
This is a classic issue for campaigning.

The Met Police set the standard in London last year by choosing 03 when a new non-geographic number was required. It will take time for all the existing 084 public sector numbers to change over, but there is no excuse for introducing a new one.

It is not too late for TfL to change their mind as the new number has not yet been publicised.

It is of course a call type g6 - the highest possible level of charge and revenue share short of classification as being a Premium Rate Service.

Conversations with TfL personnel have included casual use of the term "local rate" and extensive reference to BT charges - BT is the provider of the number.

The fact that regulation enables BT customers to call this number during the working day at less than the cost of a non-inclusive geographic call is little more than a red herring.

I understand that concern has already been expressed within TfL about this. It would be quite foolish to wait until loads of money has been spent publicising the new number before the level of complaint forces consideration of a further change.

TfL must either stand up now and justify charging callers for this service (why not use a proper PRS number?) or change its plans.
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #5 - Nov 26th, 2009 at 2:52pm
 
Oh dear, I wanted to think Mayor BoJo would not follow the traditional conservative agenda.

So far he's abolished the congestion charge expansion plans for West London, he's abolished the plans to charge 4x4/very polluting vehicles a premium congestion charge. Who benefits? The rich.

To recover revenue, fares on the tube and bus network have been increased for the "oiks" and now his beloved "oiks" will apparently have to pay a premium to get information from TfL.

Unfortunately I do not live in London but do visit there every so often. I'll still send an email to protest about this but it would be good to set up a petition on the 10 Downing St site or something.
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #6 - Nov 26th, 2009 at 11:39pm
 
Since there are over half a million mentions of   020  7222  1234   out there on the web, they would have to be crazy to change that telephone number now.

http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%22020+7222+1234%22
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%22020+72221234%22
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%220207+222+1234%22
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%220207+2221234%22
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%2202072+221234%22
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%220207222+1234%22
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%2202072221234%22

The number must get millions of calls per year. So, would they keep the old line open with a recorded announcement of the 'new' number, thereby causing customers to waste money on that call - or would they simply take the old number out of service and make that number unobtainable so that callers are not charged for ringing it?

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.


Are they simply wanting to cash in on the millions of "Olympics Tourists" perhaps?
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« Last Edit: Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:09pm by catj »  
 
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #7 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:50am
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 26th, 2009 at 11:45am:
Conversations with TfL personnel have included casual use of the term "local rate" and extensive reference to BT charges - BT is the provider of the number.

The number prefix 0843 222 is allocated to Telecoms World Plc. Assuming that it has been ported (transferred) to BT, then how much did Telecoms World charge to give one of its very memorable numbers go to another provider?

Bearing in mind that evidently the specification was that as many of the digits were to remain the same as the existing number and that in order to do this (i.e. to get the "222" sequence) TFL had to approach Telecoms World, how much taxpayers' money was spent on this?  Huh


SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 26th, 2009 at 11:45am:
I understand that concern has already been expressed within TfL about this. It would be quite foolish to wait until loads of money has been spent publicising the new number before the level of complaint forces consideration of a further change.

What money has already been spent on it and what is the expected cost of changing signs at bus stops, Tube stations, railway stations and anywhere else the number appears?


SilentCallsVictim wrote on Nov 26th, 2009 at 11:45am:
TfL must either stand up now and justify charging callers for this service (why not use a proper PRS number?) or change its plans.

If the difference between the current 020 service and the new 0843 service is that the latter will be more automated, then they are actually saving money by not having to have as many operators ready to take calls.
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« Last Edit: Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:56am by Dave »  
 
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #8 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 6:13pm
 
Dave wrote on Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:50am:
If the difference between the current 020 service and the new 0843 service is that the latter will be more automated, then they are actually saving money by not having to have as many operators ready to take calls.


But as you know, there is nothing that can be done on an 08* that cannot be done on an 020 number.. and surely the cost of changing every bus stop and tube map and publicity item in London would be pretty significant..

I'm pretty strongly opposed to travel information lines being on 08 numbers, as it happens, since most callers to them would likely be away from home, wondering how to get back, and so be using mobiles or payphones!  (The same goes for local radio jam lines: why on earth would I want to spend 20-40p/min to tell them about some traffic just so they can get 2p out of me that they wouldn't have had if they used a normal number!)
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #9 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 6:57pm
 
irrelevant wrote on Nov 27th, 2009 at 6:13pm:
But as you know, there is nothing that can be done on an 08* that cannot be done on an 020 number.. and surely the cost of changing every bus stop and tube map and publicity item in London would be pretty significant.

So far as I am concerned the jury is still out on the question of whether there is any advantage (other than geographic anonymity) to use of non-geo numbers. I fully accept that anything is possible, however that is not to say that there cannot be advantages to one option over another.

The option of using 03xx numbers should make this argument redundant; it flushes out the matter of cost to the caller and revenue sharing. It is the choice of 084 over 03xx that is the issue for me - see my media release on TfL. I have little interest in a general campaign against changing local numbers to 03xx. I cannot see any reason why this would be done with improper motives and my concern is with the cost of calling imposed by use of revenue sharing numbers.

The cost involved in this number change will indeed be significant. That is why it is vital that this matter be put right before the new number has been introduced. The cost of a further change will make it very difficult to deal with later, so keeping with the plan and then waiting to see how many complaints are received is not a proper option. Let us all throw whatever weight we have behind this now to see if we can achieve a victory.
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #10 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 7:14pm
 
Has anybody asked TfL about it yet? I'm happy to submit an FoI request about it - something along the lines of:
- do they propose to operate on an NGN, and if so, on what range [just to clear up the are-they-aren't-they question]
- what would happen to 020 722 1234
- what consideration have they made with regard to mobile and payphone users who would pay substantially more?
- what costs do they anticipate in changing all references?
- what income do they anticipate receiving?

anything else?
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #11 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 8:06pm
 
I think the question of whether a non-geographical number is necessary from an operational (technical) point of view is a very important one in this case. If it's not but they use one anyway, then money will be spent totally unnecessarily on publicising (and purchasing) a new non-geographical number. This is in addition to the potential confusion and inconvenience to the public dialling the 'old' 020 number.
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« Last Edit: Nov 27th, 2009 at 8:10pm by Dave »  
 
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #12 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 9:50pm
 
Don't forget that they have already had to change all the publicity for the number in 1990 (071), 1995 (0171) and 2000 (020), so they may not be too concerned about doing it again. Campaigning on the basis of the cost of the change is a non-starter; better to focus on the cost to callers.
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #13 - Nov 27th, 2009 at 10:15pm
 
Quote:
jury is still out on the question of whether there is any advantage (other than geographic anonymity) to use of non-geo numbers



Why would the telephone number for London's transport system need 'geographic anonymity'?

Why wouldn't they have a London 020 number?

I guess it is all about someone somewhere raking off some cash from this. It stinks.
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Re: Is Transport for London to switch to 0843 2221
Reply #14 - Nov 28th, 2009 at 12:03am
 
It appears that I am in a minority amongst those contributing to this discussion.

I would urge those who understand the technical issues sufficiently, to recognise that the only purpose of non-geographic numbers (other than geographic anonymity) is making money, to share their understanding.

If the 03 issue was a total scam all along, why was not this brought out at the time and properly explained in published responses to the Ofcom consultation? I have been commending 03 and its use - will somebody who knows why Ofcom was wrong to introduce it, because it is totally unnecessary, please explain this. I support it from a position of ignorance. If technical benefits are claimed and there is no added cost to callers, then that is good enough for me.

Those who feel that they have sufficient expertise to be able to attack telecoms procurement decisions by public bodies on the basis of superior technical knowledge should make their arguments through the proper channels, which do not include this forum. We are concerned here with the cost to service users. The benefits of revenue sharing and the costs of number changes to taxpayers are a separate issue. Comments on these matters are likely to take a position quite opposite to that generally presented here. The present Mayor was elected on the basis that he would be able to rake off cash for taxpayers from the budgets set by his predecessor - it may stink, but that is democracy.

In the absence of a proper understanding of why 03 is bound to be unnecessary (as alleged), I will continue my campaign. I regret that in doing so I am pressing a position that is contrary to that held by saynoto0870, as seen from the balance of contributions to this thread.

I am not prepared to engage in arguments over technical issues when I have no idea what I am talking about. I do not believe that there is the time, or the need, to mess about with FOI requests, having learned all I need to know from conversations with TfL personnel, as reported above. If anyone wishes to try and persuade me to change my position, I am prepared to listen.
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