(Apologies in advance for the Sydney-centric rant about to be flung your way).
If there's a bigger bunch of dicks than the people running Cityrail in Sydney, I'm yet to hear about them. Aside from incredibly inept timetabling, corruption, outdated trains and an overall incompetence in terms of providing a world-class public transport system, they've also demanded that a third party developer of an iPhone timetable app pull their program from the App Store for copyright violation.According to David Braue over at ZDNet, the developer of Transit Sydney, Alvin Singh, has been threatened by Cityrail with legal action unless he removes the program from the App Store.
Apparently, the douches at CityRail reckon that their primary concern is that customers will receive incorrect information, as they aren't able to offer third party developers access to their internal systems.
(Just yesterday I was waiting on Central station and the platform manager announced that they had no idea why a single train was being delayed by signal failure on a separate line when every other train was running on schedule. Trains are frequently late, cancelled or just never arrived - to the point where passengers pretty much expect inaccuracies. You're not protecting your good name by killing this app, Cityrail - you need to have a good name before that can happen.)
More likely, it's because Cityrail are planning their own application on timetables for the App Store, which they told ZDNet would be available later this year. But judging by how well they keep their trains running, I wouldn't count on it.
This isn't the first time this has happened either - the developer of Metro Melbourne and Metro Perth also had a Sydney version available for a few days before CityRail sent a threatening letter. At his request we didn't cover the story last year as he hoped to work out an arrangement with Railcorp, but it looks much less likely now...
The Transit Sydney App is still available on iTunes for $2.49 - although it seems to be getting a lot of fairly negative reviews. The question is whether it will stay online long enough for Alvin to update and improve the program, like every other iPhone app that's released a bit prematurely. I hope so - mostly because the city of Sydney realy needs a decent train timetable app. And CityRail sure as hell isn't going to be the one to provide it....