Monday, April 11, 2005

Mon 11 April - Good start...

Well, the first day of the week. No SMS alerts and the train's just about on time. So far so good.

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.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Fed Up Too said...

I feel your pain mate. I'm a CBD commuter on the Frankston line and while it's not as bad as Sandy, it would have to be in the top three and what makes it worse is it is a very populated line. I've had cancellations, no SMS updates AT ALL, delays, plus the random factors of a homeless guy travelling next to me in train packed to the brim in the morning, plus being pushed in a packed train disgustingly close to a four seat cluster that had been sprayed with vomit - both delightful smells stayed with me at my office desk for the remainder of the day. And I kid you not when I say that has just been within the last week. Like you I can't remember a single week in the past twelve months where all ten trains I catch ran smoothly.

11 April, 2005 16:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that connex has also hit a new low. I mean I can put up with trains running "on time" even though they are 10 minutes late (and my connecting train left 5 minutes before), and paying top dollar for the privelege to sit in vomit. Hard as it is to believe, but Connex hit a new low as far as I was concerned this morning. After 15 years of catching public transport I was accosted by a couple of metpigs because I had the audacity to have a valid ticket and show it to them when asked! One of the metpigs began yelling at me to hand over my ticket because I happened to be holding it. I was reluctant to hand over my ticket because I needed it (being a weekly), but this only made the metpig yell even more. I know this sounds silly, but what right do they have to start abusing paying customers? The other metpig continued by saying "it was too bloody hard wasn't it? (to hand over the ticket)". I got off the train and I was furious at the realisation that having bought a ticket does not protect you from being harrassed by the metpigs.
I guess I will drive my car to work in future.

14 July, 2006 21:47  

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