Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Public Transport Challenge

That is it. I've had enough. I am mad as heck, and I'm only going to take it a little bit more.

Readers who have been bothering to pay attention will remember that I have not had a wholly successful career as a regular commuter. But damaged dwarfs, flagrant fellatio, occasional knife fights, gang vendettas and cult activity are just the exciting tip of a decidedly annoying iceberg. I ride the rails on a regular basis, and I don't enjoy it. Three guesses why, anyone?

Melbourne's public transport is consistently as late as a whore without protection.

Every month, Connex posts a self-congratulatory little notice at every station announcing that 97 or 98 per cent of its trains run on time. How is this possible? I don't think I've been on a train in the last 2 months that's run on time. Is there a different definition of the phrase 'on time' that I'm not aware of? If it was only a few minutes late, fine: that's irritating, but I can live with it. Lately though, and with no explanation, entire trains have apparently gone missing - they just never arrive. And in the last week alone, I've been on trains that sat at the station for over 20 minutes, waiting while the driver hummed and hah-ed about technical difficulties.

I concede the possibility that I'm the only one this is happening to, that I'm under some sort of curse. And it's true, I should never have urinated on that gypsy woman. But surely there are others of you out there in blog land who have been forced to regularly endure similarly poor service. If so, why not join me in a little project.

For the next month, every time a train, tram, bus, hovercraft or autogyro arrives late, or fails to arrive at all, or breaks down and the driver does not arrange for an alternate method of transportation, or whatever, I intend to make a note of when, where, etc, and at month's end send this to the services in question and ask for an explanation. I invite anyone else who regularly takes PT to join me on my self-righteous little crusade. C'mon, it'll be great! Everyone loves a whinger, don't they?

6 comments:

Tim said...

As you and I have discussed previously, the extreme lateness of some trains raises disturbing metaphysical questions. If a train is due at 9:15, but doesn't arrive until 9:30, at which time another train is supposed to be arriving anyway, is it still the 9:15 train or is it the 9:30 train? And if it is the 9:30 train, what happened to the 9:15 train?

Frank said...

What pissed me off last week was when my train, due at 7:42am, arrived, it was only three carriages! In peak hour! And consequently so full (I live only four stations from town) you couldn't have got a cigarette paper inside. What on earth is going on?!
I complained to Connex, but I'm sure you can guess what reply I got...

Brownie said...

I used to stand on Flagstaff station waiting for the 5:37 to Sandringham. and every night the announcement would say 'the Sandy 547 is delayed DUE TO DEFECTIVE TRAIN AT FLINDERS STREET'
and I used to wish I could fly to Flinders Street to laugh like mad at NO 'defective' train in sight.

JPW said...

As it turns out, you're not the only person this happens to. Witness!

Alex said...

Been catching Pt for 12 years almost every working day. And belive it or not back in the "public" public transport days I'd have a cancelled train every week. These days (on the "private" public transport) for me, my train is cancelled mabye every 2 months. So no complaints from me!

Perry Middlemiss said...

When I lived in London some 15 years ago the London underground was famous for manipulating its figures regarding late running trains. Generally speaking a train wasn't considered "late" until it was 59 minutes late - at about 55 minutes late they'd cancel it and so move the stat into another category. And then the Northern Line changed its definition of a minute from 60 seconds to 90 seconds. Wish I could do that with my paypacket.