Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NJTransit may not fully 'get' the web

So... follow the link. In a new tab! What are you, still using IE6? While we're on the subject, remember MDI interfaces? You'd have one big frame, and little document windows inside it. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this in an accessible way, but it's how MS Office worked until Office XP, and how every application using the document ('MDI' means 'multidocument interface') metaphor, i.e. that there's a particular file which contains a particular set of data, used to work. The other day, I was sort of wishing that I could 'tile' all of the documents I was working on in a particular application, and realized that I wanted MDI back.

Anyway, we're not talking about that. We're talking about New Jersey Transit. Pick two stations. I chose from 'New York Penn Station' to 'Denville,' but I suspect it won't matter. Submit the form and view your fares.

Now, the asterices are a little confusing. The first asterisk explains to you what off peak means, which is valuable to know. But! That footnote has a footnote itself, which also uses a single asterisk. I don't think I've ever seen that before. It's my habit to look for footnotes on the bottom of the page, in which case the asterisk would have meant that the price is for five days in the future and you have to call to get the current price, which would have been absurd. No, instead, the first asterisked footnote gives you a number to call if you can't interpret what they mean by off peak. Its own asterisked footnote tells you, essentially, "Psych! That's not the real number!"

NJ Transit is apparently changing phone numbers, which has to happen every now and then. In this case, they're shutting off their toll-free service, which I'm not going to tie back to the housing-bubble-collapse-driven New Jersey budget crises because of my incredible focus. But, the current number is in the (second) footnote. Like most people who get a number off the web are going to call it five days hence, but for you pathologically fast callers, they'll give a little more information.

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