LNER electronic seat sensor system

One of my regular themes is how by having more information available to us the less information we have, especially where technology is concerned.

It was interesting to observe the apparent confusion amongst travellers yesterday when boarding an LNER service in Kings Cross bound for York. The train was using the electronic seat sensor system which comprises an LCD readout at eye level over the seats that indicates if the seat is reserved or available. A great step forward from paper tickets applied to the headrest of the seat you would imagine. However, the unit has a double screen indicating availability in pairs of seats (fine where seats are in pairs), but adds to the confusion when deployed over single seats (in first class carriages), as infrequent travellers aren’t aware if a blank screen is an indication availability, or its just not working. These units also check if the seat is being occupied several times throughout the journey and to do that its sensors need to be positioned directly above the seat. A single screen version would be better suited to this seat layout or a simple blanking plate or sticker over the redundant screen to clearly show its not in use. A perfect example of a great idea deployed badly. This should be simple to rectify LNER!