Sunday, 20 July 2008

Welcome to the Twilight Zone / Hotel California / Dimension Zod...

OK, I've just got back to my other half's place, after what was, until we went to come back, a very nice day out shopping and going to the cinema (Wall-E, go see it - it's hilarious! - here's a clip on IMDB for you to enjoy...), and now, thanks to Reading Councils apparently completely intransigent and arrogant Road Planning team, it's rant time...

Getting into Reading (the place, not the method of understanding the written word, although it's obviously related!) is a doddle; the signage is bang on, the SatNav makes it easy, and the parking is right on the shopping centres.

Just don't plan on leaving with ease, or at all.

Reading: Welcome to the Twilight Zone... or is that Hotel California? Or maybe the Dimension Zod?

OK, you park up at the Oracle Centre (for example). Four hours later, you pay he princly sum of five quid to free your car from their car pound - I mean car park, and then spend fifteen minutes queuing to get out of the damn place. And in doing so, you miss the ONE bloody sign showing you the way to leave town.

So, the Satnav bravely recalculates your new route to leave Reading by the town drain - I mean down train - and you wind up meeting every one-way street (head on), every changed priority road (SatNav: "Cross the traffic lights and go straight on" You: "I CAN'T YOU INFERNAL PILE OF ROBOTIC GARBAGE! FOR THE FIFTEEN BILLIONTH TIME, IT'S ****ING BLOCKED TO CARS!").

All this, until, finally, reduced to being a gibbering exhausted Human wreck in the driving seat of your car, a traffic warden notices you, takes pity on you, and taps on the window "Turn right over there, mate, and go straight on. Leads straight to the M4 at Junction eleven".

Cue a complete state of total utter and almost insane sobbing and screaming...

OK, I'm exaggerating a little. But not by much. It's enough to drive a man to drink, I kid you not.

It's like trying to navigate through West bloody Sussex. The road signs there are all screwed up to hell and back, and as informative as a hole in the head, too. I'm sure their civic planners of whatever they're bloody called went to the same school of DisInformation.

Reading, it's official. Your Council SUCKS.

One more place NEVER to move to!


James UK said...

I've not got a SatNav, and never got to use one, as I virtually stay in Chelmsford all the time, but it seems a shame that no one writing the software or designing the hardware hasn't thought to include a feature where you can simply touch the screen once to indicate, or "mark" a "blocked" path, and the system instantly re-routes without using it.

With the best will in the World, I can't see a time when the data the systems use is as up to date as it really needs to be, but something like this would work, IMHO.

And it doesn't help that in this "no respect" age, yobbos constantly wreck or worse... move signs around to confuse. Here in Chelmsford, it sometimes seems that every small "local" sign has been "pushed around" to point in the wrong direction by some b@stard.

Roger said...

Hiya James -

Thanks for the comment.

Yes the SatNav I have, on my PDA, TomTom 6, has that feature; however, when encountering multiple blocks, with the best will in the world, the benefit of hindsight, and a somewhat less-frazzled brain, I can also follow how the SatNav got baulked at almost every turn, too.

Frankly, looking at the changed priorities I encountered on Sunday, I think the vast majority of them happened in the last year; up-to-date Satnav systems might have this on board already, but TomTom, in their infinite stupidity, have only continued to support new PDAs with pre-loaded software at the point of manufacture, rather than selling complete packages to end-users as they had previously done. Something about piracy - YE GODS! "Piracy"?! That probably affected one in less than a thousand sales, so while I can understand them being miffed, they've used a bloody sledgehammer to crack a nut, and wound up alienating me, and many many more formerly loyal SatNav users; mark my words, those users, like me, will be moving to other manufacturers fairly rapidly.

This doesn't, however, change the reality of the lack of *useful* road signs in Reading, of course. For that, you need to see a few councillors not necessarily hung by their ankles from height restriction signs (in the rush hour, of course!), but certainly made fully aware of the dismal state of their road planning teams!