Users of the BBC Travel website probably know Bob Dylan’s song “The Times They Are A-Changin’ by heart now. Why? Because earlier this month the BBC axed this highly popular travel resource. The decision is part of the Corporation’s “review of its online services” but in reality is a cost cutting exercise. In fact, some press reports suggest that removing the site will save the Corporation an estimated £15 million.
Visitors to the site are redirected to a blog post put up by the BBC that explains why it took the decision and where else travelers can go to get travel information and advice. This suggests that, “You will be able to find all the latest severe travel incidents on our local live services and on news stories which feature travel disruption. We also hope to feed travel updates into the personalised news services we are developing”.
(Note the word ‘hope’ used in the last sentence. As in, don’t hold your breathe).
In reality, the suggested BBC local news sites only report on travel items if they become local news stories in their own right, as in severe traffic delays, accidents, animals on the road and so on. That’s not much use to the traveler passing through the area who doesn’t have time to constantly seek out local radio stations. It’s also pretty frustrating to be told of severe traffic delays when you’re already sitting in the traffic jam.
Not unnaturally the BBC’s decision has been met with a wave of protest including the obligatory online petition that calls for the BBC to ‘Keep the BBC Travel website and App open’. In a cry from the heart, the petition organisers call on the BBC to ‘Reverse the decision, taken without consultation, to close the BBC Travel online service that gives live traffic updates, traffic camera access, and local public transport updates too’.
Their call for help has been largely answered too as they are just 577 signatories short of the 9,000 they need. If you want to add your name to the list, click here.
Over 1900 people have also left comments on the BBC blog too. This is a remarkably high number and further evidence of the frustration the general public are clearly feeling toward the BBC.
Their posts also give a wonderful insight into the many Mr & Mrs Angries out there. Here’s just two that took our fancy:
“£15m is peanuts compared to what the BBC pays it’s so called “talent”. Get your priorities right BBC. You are supposed to provide a public service. Reconsider”.
“Why stop providing an essential service which is far superior to any other on offer? If the BBC needs to save money cancel some of the c**p Talent? Cookery, DIY, Auction programmes, there is definitely an oversupply of these”.
No wonder Paul Hollywood decided to jump ship.