I suspect the problem is all in the design, and also in the running by Serco.
The design, I’m told, is that a central machine polls each dock every 2-3 mins, and collects the data, and then pushes it out. Why 2-3 mins? ‘cos it takes that long to process each one.
Really, the docks should be more intelligent and push their status to the central thing when they change state (or every 30 seconds etc…)
That said, the data being 15-20 mins out a) is nothing new and b) shouldn’t happen, as, if it’s working, each dock is asked every 2 mins…. I guess this isn’t happening (hence the serco problem)
I dont see this getting better. the XML feed is fantastic: no more scraping (and it took me all of about an hour to integrate into the backend of London Bike App), but the quality of the data has to go with it, and sadly, it’s not
All anyone ever gets from TFL is “we are working hard to fix it”. Maybe TFL is, but Serco, who are actually running it, are clearly not.
This is going to end up a total mess in 2012 with the olympics….