What are the digital not-clocks on the Budapest Metro all about?
April 20, 2005 3:08 AM   Subscribe

On the Budapest Metro there are signs hanging from the ceiling that show train times - they have analogue clocks at one end and, at the other end, a digital display counting upwards, apparently in minutes. They're not minutes past the hour and they're not minutes since the last train arrived, so what the devil are they for?
posted by jack_mo to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Best answer: They do seem to be Previous Departure Indicators.
posted by benzo8 at 3:30 AM on April 20, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks benzo8 - so they do. I'm still faintly suspicious, as if they do indicate previous departures, they're either spectacularly innacurate or referring to departures from points other than the station in question - the station I left before asking the question was showing 12 minutes and some seconds on the display, even though I'd just missed a train, and only waited three minutes for the next one (and the time between stations seem to be a couple of minutes, max.)
posted by jack_mo at 3:45 AM on April 20, 2005

Maybe that was a local train and it's only tracking super express trains. Could that be it? Sometimes I have to calculate whether it would be faster to take the next sub-express or wait for the super express.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:13 AM on April 20, 2005

Previous departure indicators? Why would you want to know when the last train left? Isn't it enough to know that you missed it?
posted by pracowity at 7:42 AM on April 20, 2005

If the last train left 10 minutes ago, then you have a good chance of the next train being very soon. It's a very handy thing to know. It'd be better to know when the next train is coming, but that's harder to implement.
posted by Nelson at 8:46 AM on April 20, 2005

They measure the time since the arrival of the last train. Yes, they are innacurate sometimes. Yes, welcome to Hungary. You're lucky the metro comes every 10-minutes (to an hour or so).
posted by fooljay at 11:05 AM on April 20, 2005

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