Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Rail Line in Italy

NTV, or Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori begins service in Italy on April 28. It's inaugural voyage is scheduled for Friday, and will be departing from the southern Italian town of Naples ending in Milan. The new privately-owned high-speed rail company is poised to break the Italian FS state railway monopoly. The open-access, high-speed rail operator is headed by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, also the chairman of iconic carmakers Ferrari.

The train service will initially cover nine Italian cities, and will eventually have 25 trains. The 450-seat trains are capable of going up to 360 kilometers an hour, however they will not be going faster than 300 kph for now.  The new rail line hopes to have 25 percent of Italy's high-speed train market within 2 years. It will also compete with airlines, both Alitalia and low-cost carriers, with the launch of the non-stop Milan-Rome route August 26. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

America's Meanest Airlines 2012

By Miriam B. Weiner , U.S. News

The 2012 Airline Quality Ratings (AQR) report shows that the American airline industry has improved over the past year, but only slightly, notes the report's co-author, Dr. Dean Headley.

Headley, an associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University, has been co-writing the AQR report for 22 years with Dr. Brent Bowen, head of the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue University's College of Technology. The 2012 AQR report ranks the performance and quality of 15 major American airline carriers. The methodology factors in four common complaint areas: on-time arrivals, involuntary denied boardings (commonly referred to as "getting bumped"), mishandled baggage, and customer satisfaction. While some industry professionals believe that the airline's size-whether it's a national or regional carrier-should be taken into account, Headley disagrees. "The question is: For every 1,000 passengers, how many times did you get it right?" he says

The entire article can be found here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NYC to Introduce Smartphone Pay Phones

Next month some 250 phone booths across New York City will be converted to house 39 inch touch-screen pads instead of phones. The pads will be operable in several languages and are aimed at tourists and residents looking for information on local restaurants, sales, or entertainment attractions. There will also be a direct line to the 311 number, which deals with non-emergency complaints and questions to city authorities.

On the pilot program, the experiment will have information screens, which will not have open web browsing capability, put alongside old-fashioned pay phones in double booths. If it proves feasible the pilot program will spread through the system of 12,800 pay phones, expanding to allow ability to consult email and make Skype phone calls.

Friday, April 06, 2012

London to Shut Down Trafalgar Square Fountains

London's iconic Trafalgar Square fountains will be switched off over the summer to comply with the strict hosepipe ban. Thames Water ordered the supply be cut last night as part of a blanket restriction, which includes ornamental fountains, designed to conserve drought-hit reservoirs.

The Greater London Authority said the current water stocks feeding the fountains will run out over the weekend. Negotiations are underway to see if a compromise can be found in time for the arrival of millions of tourists to Trafalgar Square during the Olympics and Jubilee summer.

The on hosepipes for 20 million people in the drought-hit South and East of the country came into force yesterday. Water firms say the ban is likely to last until the autumn if not into next year, even if there is normal rainfall during the summer. This March saw just 37% of the long-term average rainfall in all of England and Wales, according to the Met Office. This is just a little above last year which was the driest March on record, while February saw just 46% of the average. Two dry winters have left reservoirs and aquifers very low.

Public fountains, including London's Trafalgar Square, which was set to be a centerpiece of the Olympics after a £200,000 refit, will be turned off this weekend when their current supplies run out.

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