"Sorry for the inconvenience." Companies of all sorts — especially those involved in railways — are adept at making apologies over social media. Twitter is usually the medium of choice, and things tend to go a little like this: angry customer complains, person manning railway's Twitter account apologises, explains the reason behind the customer's issue and asks if there's anything else they can do to help.
This pattern of events happens pretty frequently. But just how frequently?
That's what one aggravated commuter, web developer Omid Kashan, set out to find, so he created a website to track each apology: Sorry for the Inconvenience. It checks how long it's been since a travel company's Twitter account apologised. He's based in Manchester, and it was his issues with commuting there that led him to creating the site.
The idea for the site was borne out of frustration with Manchester Metrolink trams putting out near-constant announcements apologising for service delays. I wondered if there would be a way to quantify that data somehow and while not exactly perfect, counting apologies on Twitter is a fairly good approximation of that.
The website functions for rail, bus and aviation companies across Britain but we like zooming in on the London functionality of the site. There's a whole tab dedicated to TfL and you can see how long it's been since the account for each individual tube line said sorry.
At the time of writing some lines are faring better than others. Hammersmith and City line hasn't apologised in three days, and says sorry so infrequently that it averages less than one apology a day. Its partner in crime, the District line, doesn't lead such a charmed existence — it apologised just seven hours ago and average three apologies a day.
However, these numbers are magical when compared to that beleaguered punching bag of an operating company, Southern Rail. It last said sorry an hour ago and averages a momentous 57 apologies a day.
Top tip: leave the site open in an idle tab and forget about it for ten minutes. Then come back to it, and see how many apologies racked up while you were away. Try to guess the number and create an office betting pool for added excitement.