Mon 11 April - Good start...
And what's that I see...? It's the two Connex station staff - haven't seen them in months! Back from holidays chaps? Or did you get a rocket from head office perhaps?
In one of my recent chats with the friendly Connex "customer service" staff at Flinders Street Stationmaster's office, I mentioned that the Ripponlea guys are always ensconced in their little office on the station's platform. (This was in response to some suggestion that they might be able to assist with complaints handling - ha ha ha!) The Flinders Street Connex "customer service" guy suggested I should put in a complaint about this. Seems I didn't need to and he's taken the action off his own bat - good on you! We'll see whether this continues...
17:20 there's an SMS - which train tonight? Ahhh the 17:27, a whole seven minutes notice for all those people hoping to get home early. So here we are for the first time this week going through that almost daily process - what do I do now? Go for the 17:38 anyway, knowing it'll be jam packed? Let it go and have a less crowded ride on the 17:49? But what if the 17:49 doesn't run? Let's do the 17:38 anyway, they rarely cancel two trains in a row.
Get to platform 8 and there's an announcement - platform 13. Looks like the guys who had all the fun Friday don't want to play the game tonight, there's still a few minutes to get there.
Arrive at platform 13, the train's already in. It's very crowded, no surprises there. 17:38 comes and goes, more people are managing to shoehorn themselves into the few remaining square inches of floor space. 17:40, off we go.
We get to Richmond and some giant unseen hand manages to force another few dozen bodies through the nearest door somehow and eventually the train driver gets the doors closed and we're off again. South Yarra and, incredibly, more people cram in - I've got more contact with the woman next to me than I had with most of my girlfriends (many years ago, I hasten to add).
I finally burst out of the heaving carriage at Ripponlea about 10 minutes late, a wad of complaint forms in my hand. No "on time" tick for this one Connex, sorry. I stand at the exit gate handing out complaint forms. Some look at me like I'm a lunatic, some wonder if I'm selling something, but the majority have had a pretty bad journey and they're ready to tell Connex so.
Once again, today's trip highlights the fundamental problem with Connex train travel - a cancelled train doesn't mean just waiting an extra ten minutes - if that's all there was to it, we'd not be too bothered. It's the fact that every scheduled train is pretty full even when they run on time (well I guess we can assume that, not sure anybody's actually witnessed it!) so when one's cancelled you're packing two full trains into one. And that irritates the hell out of us.