Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Wed 1 June - The Age again...

The Connex Whinger story finally made it to the mainstream media. There was a chance that they were going to take my photo, but I think the one they used is certainly more apt. Here's the article.

And can I just say this to all you "get a life" people... I have a pretty full life, thanks. I spend a few minutes writing my blog on the way in every morning and probably five minutes at night. Creating the weekend stats takes me all of ten minutes. That's it!

Go to show the story to the blokes on the platform and it's not there! The story must've missed the print deadline. Oh well.

The 07:14 gets in to Ripponlea on time but we wait for several minutes in the yards at Flinders Street. For once there's an announcement from the driver - we're waiting for a platform to clear. Interestingly a Lilydale train is the only one to come out, how did that go from 12 or 13? And since it could only be occupying one platform, why couldn't we use the other? Perhaps the PDP-11s took that long to calculate the best alternative strategy.

Well, a big day for the Connex Whinger blog - quite a few comments here, as well as a few on the website, not to mention in the office. Seems at least one person disagrees with our right to complain, your choice mate.

I don't really understand this sort of reaction though. Why are people trying so hard to invalidate others' perceptions and experiences? Beats me. My comments, as well as most of those here, are simply reflecting a level of dissatisfaction with a service that we pay for. I've no doubt there's 101 perfectly reasonable explanations for all these delays, including Connex' top two of insufficient doors and their rather disingenuous attempt at blaming it on wheelchair-bound passengers. Whatever the reasons, and no matter how truthful they are, it doesn't change the fact that we've had a gutful and we want the suburban rail network fixed - especially the Sandy line.

All that said, the 18:12 is on time!

50 Comments:

Blogger Catherine said...

It's great to see a fellow ConnexWhinger putting his aggravations on paper. I use the Broadmeadows line which is equally as troublesome. One train cancellation means I have Buckely's chance of getting on the following train (I get on at Kensington) and so in effect I really miss two trains before I can get on one and as a result I can be very, very late to work in the morning!
So I have started to take the tram instead (I know I'm lucky to have this additional public transport option!) - it may take longer but I'm guaranteed to get a seat and end up at my destination fairly relaxed.

01 June, 2005 07:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, it is definitly great to see someone doing something about it. I took the easy way out and gave up on public transport all together, bought a second car for the house to get me to work on time. Now I have to put up with citylink / traffic and parking and still I would rather do that then put up with the delays and cancellation. I think the state goverment is doing a shocker of a job

01 June, 2005 07:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, it is definitly great to see someone doing something about it. I took the easy way out and gave up on public transport all together, bought a second car for the house to get me to work on time. Now I have to put up with citylink / traffic and parking and still I would rather do that then put up with the delays and cancellation.

01 June, 2005 07:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on you. I'm glad the Age has picked up on your Blog. I've given up on the trains. I discovered that I can run a motorcycle more cheaply than catch a train or tram. And it's twice as fast. And more reliable. And you don't have to put up with Blue Coat thugs harrassing you. I know it's not for everyone but public transport these days is such a mess that if there's any alternative, most people will take it.

01 June, 2005 08:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting the "real story" out to the general public. There is nothing that infuriates me more than those ad's that appear in train stations regarding the service levels reached.
When you have had two trains cancelled in a row, you can't get the next two trains because they are express trains that don't stop at your station...one should be forgived for wanting to tear down those bright little posters!
In fact, the service is so bad on the Fankstone line, that my husband and I now pay $13.50 per day to drive to work. While it might be more expensive this way, we can at least guarentee that we will be able to arrive at work on time (let alone early). When will Connex realise that a train running 6 minutes late does not count for an "on time" train? If it is late, it is late! Get your act together connex and start providing a half decent service...

01 June, 2005 08:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done! Congrats on taking on this cause - all Connex users owe you their thanks for highlighting the issue. We need more efficient public transport, otherwise everyone will drive and what then of our air quality (apols to Gippsland and the brown coal power stations...).
Keep up the great work! Thanks

01 June, 2005 08:50  
Anonymous Vol said...

I (and bucket loads of people I know) are unhappy with Connex. My job often has to deal with 'issues' such as these. I recently addressed another Connex issue. I had complaints regarding a local train station so I contacted Connex. After some discussion, at my request, they sent me raw data on the activities at this station (cancellations only) for a given time and a given service (peak hour of all things).
1 in 4 trains were canceled consistently over 3 months!

These were all on the same line and same station at the same time of day, heading the same direction.

Pathetic.

Their excuse is, they want to meet targets so they manage the trains in a way that gets the best results. This service that is canceled on such a regular basis is at the end of a run that covers 2 services (lines). It least impacts Connex's service stats by canceled this train as its at the end of the run (such as if a train is faulty, sick staff etc). Great for service statistics, bad for the unlucky schmucks at that station (and a couple after).

So I wanted to know the root cause. I suspected a lack of train drivers. I Contacted the Transport Ministers office, apparently they have put on 80+ train drivers and more are on the way.

Can’t really ask for more than that as far as drivers go. Surely that many should make a difference.

It all points to Connex and their management of the business in this instance.

My suggestion.

Each and every time there is an issue (Cancellation, Lateness, Changes to the service such as changing to an express), call the 1800 number on your train ticket (free at pay phones) at the station you are on. Ask to be put through to Connex complaints. Give your genuine details and make your complaint. There is compensation available now (in the form of free tickets as I understand) for people who are effected often and report it.

Hope this is of assistance.

01 June, 2005 08:51  
Anonymous Russell said...

I would like to see the service stats broken into peek and non peek times - how can we award performance for +95% services delivered if +30% of peak hour services are not?
I would also like to see the security cameras on the trains used to take the photographs for their ad campaigns...as their photo shoots obviously dont take place when I catch the train!
Keep fighting the good fight!

01 June, 2005 09:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to catch the Sandringham line and can completely identify with your frustration. In my experience the Sandringham line is the most unreliable. I was not surprised to see that Sandringham topped the stats in terms of the number of train cancellations.

I used to catch it from Brighton Beach station and it was always the 8:20 that got cancelled- the train you needed to catch to be at work on time. I remember the excuse was always 'defective train'. I used to feel sorry for the people who got on at the later stops- if a train got cancelled they had no chance of fitting on the jam-packed train that eventually followed it.

01 June, 2005 09:08  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

It's so nice to see someone else trying to do something about this too. I struggle with the Frankston line daily, and have done my share of complaining to Connex too, but apart from a very quick referral to and follow-up from the Transit Police when I was groped (in peak hour) in February, which was quite impressive, the response to my various complaints to Connex has been inadequate to say the least.
Even when trains aren't cancelled, the overcrowding on the Frankston line is getting worse - I caught the 7:24 from Glenhuntly this morning, and the train was already uncomfortably crowded with absolutley no chance of getting a seat, yet when we pulled into Caulfield at the same time as a train coming in from Dandenong, there were plenty of spare seats still on that train. Yet all the current talk is of building a third line on the Dandenong route, and much as I would never begrudge the passengers on that line a better service, it does seem to me that their trains are generally less crowded than Frankston trains. I quite often catch a Pakenham or Cranbourne train to Caulfield and change there to avoid some of the over-crowding on the Frankston trains, particularly if one of mine has been cancelled, and there is usually more chance of getting a seat on that line. Most likely this is because so many people have given up struggling with it and now drive to work, which wouldn't surprise me, but it does seem less crowded.
Anyway, keep up the good work and let's hope that one day things finally improve!

01 June, 2005 09:51  
Blogger Carolyn said...

PS I see you made it into the 'Sydney Morning Herald' too:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/Technology/Latetrainspotter-goes-online/2005/05/31/1117305604772.html

01 June, 2005 10:29  
Anonymous Scott said...

Fantastic work. As a fellow Sandringham line passenger, I am feeling your pain. Personally I refuse to catch trains that are too crowded as I hate the squeeze - travel should be efficient, on time and comfortable and this just isn't something that Connex seem to be able to deliver on, especially not at peak hour and especially not on the Sandy line.

And to top it all off the Sandy line doesn't go through the loop, so if you need a loop station you have to change at South Yarra and often go from one crowded, delayed train to another.

I too have sent emails, made calls and complained, but have been met with boredom and general apathy. If there were other viable public transport options I would surely not be choosing Connex, but unfortunately they have the monopoly. Which stinks.

Anyway, enough of a rant - you're doing a great job and getting your frustrations out there at a totally flawed service. You have my support!

01 June, 2005 10:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're an emotive, rash, harsh, ill-informed and oft-mediocre character who should really concentrate on getting the facts first before opening his mouth.

01 June, 2005 11:06  
Anonymous Rebekka said...

This morning I turned up at Tooronga Station just in time - or so I thought - to buy a ticket and get the 8.05 train. However the train was running early, so after a sprint to the news-stand to get a ticket, the ticket turned out to be faulty and wouldn't validate. So I missed the train anyway. I hate connex. And they constantly cancel the 8.05 - at least once a week.

01 June, 2005 11:21  
Blogger Ben said...

Just wanted to be a word of support.

I use South Yarra station so can't really complain that much. But for a while i tried to cathc the Sandringham line home to avoid the city loop and save time on the journey.

HUGE MISTAKE! From Spencer St the amount of times a train doesn't turn up or the announcer announces it wrong or not at all, means that it usually was taking about 30 minutes longer to get home rather than 10 minutes quicker. I pity you guys who have no choice but the Sandringham line.

01 June, 2005 11:51  
Anonymous Sam said...

Congrats on hitting the big time Phil! Strange to see 14 comments to one entry (and only one idiot which is a good ratio). Keep up the good work with the stats. Perhaps if a few people started keeping track on these free blogs, Connex would be forced to actually do something. Oh and Connex - offering me a daily ticket 'compensation' when I've spent my $96 and bought a monthly ticket is useless, and an insult. What about a half price monthly for the the next month instead?

01 June, 2005 12:04  
Anonymous Brad said...

Of course you know that if the complaints actually make Connex (French Multinational) act they'll just ask the Government (Taxpayers - Me and You) for more money.

01 June, 2005 12:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking this myself about the Sandy line and its great to see that you're getting out there getting some attention to it. The amount of times it has come 4,5,6,7,8 minutes late is unbelivable, and dont get me started on the "08:26" service, I've been catching the train for 1.5 years and it's never arrived before 8:30, not once.

01 June, 2005 12:21  
Anonymous lainey said...

Great idea for a blog!
Trains are cancelled all the time. And it sucks! After 7-7.30, trains are 30 minutes apart, and also late then too! 30 mins spent waiting alone on a cold windy platform isn't really ideal is it? Within 4 working days the 8:10 on the Glen Waverley line is cancelled twice, and leaves late once!
What do Connex do as compensation?
"Here's more Met tickets for you to take our continually deterioating services!"

Kinda like when you send in a broken condom to the manufacturers and they send you a box back... very ironic.

Anyway, good luck, nice job, and fingers crossed Melbourne gets the same sort of train service that Japan runs in about 150 years...

01 June, 2005 13:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I wanted to know the root cause. I suspected a lack of train drivers. I Contacted the Transport Ministers office, apparently they have put on 80+ train drivers and more are on the way.

It takes time, 15 months all up, to train these drivers and get them out on the system by themselves. The training project only started 13 months ago.

Oh and Connex - offering me a daily ticket 'compensation' when I've spent my $96 and bought a monthly ticket is useless, and an insult. What about a half price monthly for the the next month instead?
Read the new customer service charter, idiot. And that $96 you pay goes to the government first, not to connex. If trains are late they don't see much of that ticket value - and on top of that, they are forking over more money for you in the form of complimentary tickets.

Congrats on hitting the big time Phil! Strange to see 14 comments to one entry (and only one idiot which is a good ratio). Keep up the good work with the stats. Perhaps if a few people started keeping track on these free blogs, Connex would be forced to actually do something.

I would have thought that the 14:1 statistic was the other way around. And trust me, Connex knows. And they are doing everything possible to get things working - hell, it's in their contract. If they don't, they get fined.

Really, you're just a bandwagon jumper who is as ill-informed as Phil.

01 June, 2005 13:09  
Anonymous Jen said...

Regardless of what punishment Connex gets from the Government, it still does not get me to work on time.

I have been travelling on my line for over 10 years now. In that time, the carpark at my station has gone from being basically empty, to full and people parking in side streets etc.

All these extra passengers and no change in timetable for extra trains to cater for the extra commuters in all that time.

That is the problem.

5-10 minutes late is a huge problem as well, even though it seems Connex thinks it is not. Especially for those that need connecting buses and trains and even so, 5-10 mintes in delays per day, over a week equates to an hour of time that I cannot claim or have to make up at work.

Time is too precious for it to be spent sitting at a train station.

I recommend that zones 2 and 3 are scrapped as those in the outer suburbs are getting NO service for what they pay and I am so fortunate to be able to fall in to zone 1 by one station but will eventually be moving to zone 3 with no service. Yet paying more.

Go figure.

01 June, 2005 13:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been travelling on my line for over 10 years now. In that time, the carpark at my station has gone from being basically empty, to full and people parking in side streets etc.

All these extra passengers and no change in timetable for extra trains to cater for the extra commuters in all that time.


Jen, you can't run extra services with no extra trains. Thats why there was an extension of the new rollingstock orders. And give them a go - connex can only work with what they have been given.

I'm just waiting for someone to whinge about the Hitachi trains, and how they are still in service, you know... getting people home. Oh, this is a laff.

01 June, 2005 13:45  
Anonymous Rob Mayfield said...

hey, if they used pdp-11's they'd get it right !! don't bag the pdp-11 :-)

01 June, 2005 15:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

clearly bigger problems in the world but this one is amusing in that there appears no agreement from connex there is a problem and thus need to fix !
my whinge is the need to get my kids on much earlier service than is necessary to stand a chance of getting to the final destination on time as the cancellation rate for the desired train is so high. rely on this service to get them to a VCE exam ? naaa....

01 June, 2005 15:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well done - great to see technology put to such a positive use - and good luck with getting connex sorted

01 June, 2005 16:20  
Blogger Miles said...

Connex has taken over Auckland's trains and it is a disaster. You get a plug at http://www.rideline.co.nz/Forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/listings/CFB/1/forum/2
You have inspired us. We must start one here.

01 June, 2005 16:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work with this knackers....I've written to connex several times to complain and get the same lame (avoidable) reasons. I've been catching the Sandy line for over 7 years now and has been the source of so much frustration for me. The deterioration of the service in the last 18 months is nothing less than deplorable. So much so, I've given up and started driving into the city for the last 2 months. Yes, more expensive and not very green... but far more reliable. For gods sake if the Poms & Krouts can get it right, surely we can?

01 June, 2005 17:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work with getting a mention in The Age, now consider taking a look at the PTUA.

01 June, 2005 18:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From an ex-regular commuter on the Sandringham line (Prahran station) but thankfully no longer..

1. Firstly for all those people bagging this bloke's right to complain - yes one should not be a whinger - but if you want services improved, then there's no other way. In today's society, if no one complains, nothing gets changed. The problem with the Sandringham line warrants action.

2. Peak hour is between 8:00 - 9:00 (at the Prahran station). Trains run every 10 minutes (go to any other major city in the world and you don't even have to think about timetables because they run every 3-4 mins). If one is cancelled (a very high probability), then the next two are probably impossible to get on. Which means you're at least 30 mins late.

3. Alternatively, when one train runs late (again, a common occurrence), that train is impossible to get on, but the next train is virtually empty.

4. I think we now have additional stops on the Sandringham line from Prahran. Prahran, South Yarra, Richmond, The ridiculous 10 min stop (so that PLATFORM Siberia is available) between richmond and flinders street, Flinders Street.

5. Platform Siberia (10)

And the fares have increased??!!

01 June, 2005 19:41  
Blogger nutta said...

Hey Phil
I'm back on the train & working in the city
And have had missed trains already
Only been in 2 weeks
Anyway if u need help u know where to find me
Also I haven't see u on the train
Have u changer your place and time?

01 June, 2005 20:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2. Peak hour is between 8:00 - 9:00 (at the Prahran station). Trains run every 10 minutes (go to any other major city in the world and you don't even have to think about timetables because they run every 3-4 mins). If one is cancelled (a very high probability), then the next two are probably impossible to get on. Which means you're at least 30 mins late.

EXACTLY!

I'm on the Epping line and use Regent station.

One train at 8.05, one at 8.25 and one at 8.35 (this one is virtually useless as it gets to Parliament usually at 9.02), the next at 8.52.

The 8.05 and 8.25 are packed by the time it gets to my station. Anyone from Preston onwards basically has to stand. If one is late or cancelled, you can forget about getting on board.

I have nothing to complain about though - the Pakenham/Cranbourne non-service is an absolute disgrace. There are a higher frequency of flights to Sydney, than trains to Cranbourne. This, in the biggest growth corridor, is absolutely embarassing considering what those commuters pay for their fares.

01 June, 2005 20:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nothing to complain about though - the Pakenham/Cranbourne non-service is an absolute disgrace. There are a higher frequency of flights to Sydney, than trains to Cranbourne. This, in the biggest growth corridor, is absolutely embarassing considering what those commuters pay for their fares.

So this is Connex's fault? That the infrastructure is so bad? Come on people, its mostly the government's fault. The infrastructure to the best of my knowledge cant handle trains every 3 mins - again blame Connex and Bruce Hughes?? I think not, you people should be lobbying the government to actually spend money on the rail network.. geez

01 June, 2005 21:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

clearly bigger problems in the world but this one is amusing in that there appears no agreement from connex there is a problem and thus need to fix !
my whinge is the need to get my kids on much earlier service than is necessary to stand a chance of getting to the final destination on time as the cancellation rate for the desired train is so high. rely on this service to get them to a VCE exam ?


Bruce Hughes, the Connex CEO has publicly stated time and time again that their efforts so far in repairing the system have not been up to standard, and that they are working against many odds to deliver. He has conceded that there are many different problems, and time and time again stated Connex's plans to rectify these.

And I could sit here and politely explain everything to you - but you still want to have a whinge. And as for those who say that whineging is the only option - you clearly look quite ridiculous. You're all prime examples of the 'me' society - "I'm the most important thing since sliced bread, na na na". That opinion is almost diametrically opposed to the notion of public transport, which is by definition, collective commuting. Commuting done with other people, which accepts their limitations, failings, and benefits, regardless of whether it makes you late, or not. The only thing I can say to all of you is to change your mindsets away from looking to the trains as your personal taxi service, and look at it as a collective journey. Hopefully then you'll be more enlightened when you look at what connex tries to do for three quarters of a million people every day with exactly what they have.

Anyway, good luck, nice job, and fingers crossed Melbourne gets the same sort of train service that Japan runs in about 150 years...

Ahem. Population density vs car usage vs capacity. Again, your local member is the person you need to get in with here. Get them to cough up more of our tax dollars.

You people have just picked a fucking scapegoat and have proceeded to heap your understandable frustration upon it, without stopping to momentarily realise that, and I've said this above, CONNEX CAN'T INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF THE NETWORK WITHOUT THE FINANCIAL, POLITICAL and SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT OF THE STATE and FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS. Yes, you can make a difference - by petitioning your local member, and Peter Bachelor. But if you're really wanting to get to work on time, this might help you too - get up ten minutes earlier, and get the train before. You know, the one that gets you there about twenty minutes before work, so that you can leisurely stroll from the station to your work, getting a coffee, reading the paper, and breathing in the fresh morning air. Public transport needs your participation in the process almost as much as you need it. Standing around, whineging as you are, and causing a juvenile fuss will get you nowhere.

And I'm prepared to take the connexwhinger himself to task on all of his points of misinformation (of which there are many).

01 June, 2005 21:32  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Feel free, Mr Anonymous - you have my email address.

01 June, 2005 21:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, a big day for the Connex Whinger blog - quite a few comments here, as well as a few on the website, not to mention in the office. Seems at least one person disagrees with our right to complain, your choice mate.

If you're referring to me, I don't have a problem with your right to complain. If you're going to do it properly, and research it well - I'm happy to support you. What I have a problem with is your misguided, ill-informed rantings and actions that are getting us nowhere. I'm saying - get your facts straight before you go off all half-cocked like you have been for the past few months. I've seen you acting out your little drama at Ripponlea every time a train is late, and really - i'm not even going to comment.

I don't really understand this sort of reaction though. Why are people trying so hard to invalidate others' perceptions and experiences? Beats me. My comments, as well as most of those here, are simply reflecting a level of dissatisfaction with a service that we pay for. I've no doubt there's 101 perfectly reasonable explanations for all these delays, including Connex' top two of insufficient doors and their rather disingenuous attempt at blaming it on wheelchair-bound passengers. Whatever the reasons, and no matter how truthful they are, it doesn't change the fact that we've had a gutful and we want the suburban rail network fixed - especially the Sandy line.

I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences, as I'm sure they are a great inconvenience. I cop the same thing from where I stand, going to and from work every day, often a few minutes late here and there. What I am taking you to task on is the fact that you all blame connex for the problem, without realising the limitations that the franchise operator has in terms of both finances and modifications to improve things on the rail network.

In short - your whineging is negative, and will do nothing towards helping fix the problems of capacity and reliability that our network suffers. All it does is shit-stir your fellow passengers into making ill-informed rants, decisions, comments, and actions that are counter-productive and not in anyones' best interest. And as for encouraging people to harass staff at Flinders Street in the SM's office - you can't possibly tell me that that is a productive thing to do.

In short, what I'm trying to say is that your targeting of connex as your main enemy in this 'battle' is like blaming poor turf on the footballers playing a match on it. It doesn't stick, and doesn't make sense.

And as for blaming delays on wheelchairs... haven't you seen that bloke who gets on the down end at Gardenvale whose motorised mobility aid resembles an atco hut with wheels? There's a five minute delay on the sandy every arvo for me, guaranteed. But lets face it - Why should he be discriminated against? Would you prefer that your tax dollars go into paying for taxis for him and thousands more in a similar position each day? I reckon you'd say no.

I just have a great problem with you pointing your barrels at the wrong people. I believe in making informed choices, and yours, dear Phil, are often not informed in this regard.

01 June, 2005 21:50  
Anonymous Paul said...

In the business world poor service to customers is greated with negativity, no repeat business and eventually the demise of that business and the service being replaced by another more focused entity. In the Connex case there is a monopoly on the line and
unfortunately many of us cannot walk away from connex's poor service as there are no other alternatives. I have been late for meetings and put under great pressure, I have tried catching trains 20 mins earlier only to be left waiting and listening to another "connex apologies for any inconvenience caused" message, it is a lottery and like many I have adjusted my lifestyle getting up earlier and earlier to compensate for the service. I think there is a point where you have to say enough and this train business should be more predictable.
Worst still is the performance in the evenings, now that is really frustrating.
I'm not sure why trains get cancelled but I guess there are faults that need to be fixed, perhaps better maintenance, better planning, Connex are ones who should know how to address the faults, this blog is just the front end, a bunch of commuters who are frequently delayed at both ends of the day and if it was only 6 minutes of delay I'd be happy.

01 June, 2005 22:21  
Anonymous Vol said...

You people have just picked a fucking scapegoat and have proceeded to heap your understandable frustration upon it, without stopping to momentarily realize that, and I've said this above, CONNEX CAN'T INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF THE NETWORK WITHOUT THE FINANCIAL, POLITICAL and SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT OF THE STATE and FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS.

That may be so - I don’t want an increase in capacity. I want the current capacity (services already being paid for by you and me through the Government) to be managed properly!

If Connex was doing a good Job do you think they would give the credit to the Government! ROFL (roll on floor laughing) Oh no the CEO would get a Million Dollar bonus - bahh he probably already does get that!

They (Connex) are getting a bucket load of cash to do a hard job. They are not doing it well. They are also getting a bucket load more drivers. Yes, I do understand there is a delay - read my post further up. They are targeting certain lines to make their figures look good. This is a bad practice and all these angry people are more than justified in complaining.

The method that Connex will listen to is below.

Each and every time there is an issue (Cancellation, Lateness, Changes to the service such as changing to an express), call the 1800 number on your train ticket (free at pay phones - heck do it to pass the time while your waiting for that delayed train). Ask to be put through to Connex complaints. Give your genuine details and make your complaint. There is compensation available now (in the form of free tickets as I understand) for people who are effected often and report it.

Happy training ;-)

Lets hope it all improves,
Vol

01 June, 2005 22:32  
Blogger Chai said...

The one time I used the Sandy line (was trying to get to the Brighton Bay cinema), I just missed one by 10 seconds cos they changed platforms on me, the cancelled the next and cos of that, the one after that was ran 10 minutes late cos of the extra passengers. Was packed like Sardines. Connex has lost lots of goodwill with me. Am glad you are so tenacious.

01 June, 2005 23:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Connex was doing a good Job do you think they would give the credit to the Government! ROFL (roll on floor laughing) Oh no the CEO would get a Million Dollar bonus - bahh he probably already does get that!

Your point makes no sense, from both a linguistic perspective, and an informed one. Stop running on emotion and get the facts before opening your mouth, or indeed, smashing your fists against the keyboard. Neither you nor I knows how much he gets per annum, that is his business. It's relevance to the argument at hand is tenuous, and what I would call completely irrelevant to the issue.

They (Connex) are getting a bucket load of cash to do a hard job. They are not doing it well. They are also getting a bucket load more drivers. Yes, I do understand there is a delay - read my post further up.

I did read it, and i couldn't understand it either. From that 'bucketload' of cash, the government takes money whenever they run trains late. As there are defined examples of lateness, and frequent advertised penalties for the company, at the end of the day this bucket isn't really that much at all. Is the glass half full or half empty?

They are targeting certain lines to make their figures look good. This is a bad practice and all these angry people are more than justified in complaining.

They aren't concentrating their maintenance, management, and other efforts on just one line, or group of lines. They are targeting the whole network. With solutions like making it possible for the comeng fleet to once again run on both Connex North and Connex south regardless of who refurbished them - oh wait, you wouldn't know what those boundaries are because you like to speak first, and research later - Or shifting maintenance from Newport to Epping for the Siemens trains, there are plenty of examples where they are trying to make improvements to the whole system. I get the feeling that you choose not to see them because you like to have a whinge.
If you want specific line-by-line performance information and reporting, it's all there, plain and simple, clear as day - on the connex website - www.connexmelbourne.com.au

The method that Connex will listen to is below.

Each and every time there is an issue (Cancellation, Lateness, Changes to the service such as changing to an express), call the 1800 number on your train ticket (free at pay phones - heck do it to pass the time while your waiting for that delayed train). Ask to be put through to Connex complaints. Give your genuine details and make your complaint. There is compensation available now (in the form of free tickets as I understand) for people who are effected often and report it.


Ahem. That 1800 number on the ticket goes to the OneLink metcard helpline, the external company contracted by the former Liberal Kennett Government to put in place the flawed automatic fare collection system commonly referred to as "Metcard". It has nothing to do with connex - if you're going to complain, at least get the right number first. Idiot. It's 1800 800 705. Tell them that anonymous from the comments on the connexwanker's blog sent you.

01 June, 2005 23:24  
Blogger Chai said...

I dont get it, Mr Anonymous. Are you saying that Connex is doing an adequate job? We all know the stated reasons, not enough trains, not enough drivers etc... but regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is that they are not meeting what they are promising. 2 possibilities. 1) Either improve services by whatever means, or 2) change the timetables so that you can meet what you promise.
But I stress that the bottom line is that the service is not very satisfactory, regardless of what the excuses may be.

01 June, 2005 23:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont get it, Mr Anonymous. Are you saying that Connex is doing an adequate job? We all know the stated reasons, not enough trains, not enough drivers etc... but regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is that they are not meeting what they are promising. 2 possibilities. 1) Either improve services by whatever means, or 2) change the timetables so that you can meet what you promise.
Change the timetable so that it has less services? I'm sure you'd whinge even more strongly about that than anything raised here.

As well, connex issued a brochure in April 2004 outlining their plan to improve the rail network, called the Connex Promise. It outlined the following points - which they "promised" -

You’ll see more staff at our stations.

Delivered. 31 Host stations, more barrier staff at inner-city stations, and more staff in the suburbs. Not to mention the extra 150 Authorised Officers that have been recruited in the past year.

You’ll also see more staff across the train
network, in the afternoons.


Delivered. See above.

You’ll feel safer when travelling.

Customer assistance buttons at richmond and loop stations commissioned. Safety Zones on platforms with better lighting and CCTV access facilitated. Emergency buttons on trains commissioned. Video surveillance increased at train stations. You're watched from the moment you set foot on a platform until you leave your destination station. I think that counts as a resounding DELIVERED.

You’ll enjoy a much-improved
travelling experience.


All siemens and X'trapolis trains are currently finished the testing and induction stages, as well as being fully furnished. New cleaning programs have been started, etc etc. Delivered.

I won't continue, because there are heaps more points where connex has delivered on their promises. But lets look at why these things are issues now.

I had resisted the temptation to bag M> until now, because they are dead and buried. But now, i will.

Their maintenance scheduling, fault rectification, and other safety, cleanliness and inspection regime was a lot more lax than the one currently enforced by connex. This means, in simple terms, that M> would let trains run in service, even if they had faults like busted aircon, cracked windows, motors cut out, Motor alternators failed, lights defective, etc. this meant that they could meet their on-time averages, and keep more services running, at face value - but at a potential cost of adequate safety.
Connex has openly stated that they value the safety of the travelling public, and with the assistance of the AFULE (Drivers union) trains that are now defective do not enter service. Nor do trains that are graffitied, or unable to be driven.

Again, this is a facet of the price you pay for years of neglect, and privatisation. So, what would you prefer? Trains that may harm you, running - or a few cancellations in trains that are mechanically fit for service? Again, connex inherited a mixed fleet, with numerous compatibility issues (the EDI versus the Alstom refurbished units being incompatible is a great example). Once this complex technical issue is ironed out, then there will be more options for running trains, from Connex North (old Connex) to Connex South (old M>Train).

So you're asking for them to take any means necessary to get the trains to run on time, and at all? Even if they are faulty?

I'd like to take you back to 2003. Where every second letter in MX was whineging about the faulty aircon in comeng units, and the lack thereof in the hitachi units. But the trains ran on time. Did that jog your memory? I sure hope so.

I'd like to congratulate connex for putting safety first, as opposed to the old NX-M> operation which was obsessed with running to time for the performance bonuses.

But I stress that the bottom line is that the service is not very satisfactory, regardless of what the excuses may be.

Yes, and we've gone over why this is. Again, I'll stress the importance of your local member and the Department as good points of contact. Really, this blog should be called "DOIdepartmentoftransportandkennettsyearsofneglectwhinger", but apparently that's not as catchy.

And if you want to see Phil shot down by experienced transport professionals, go to http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11304530.htm and follow the links about mid-way through the thread. So much for being an average commuter...

But to answer your question, Ccang, I believe that connex are doing everything that they can given the multitude of things working against them. And if they weren't, I'd hate to think of how much worse things would be.

02 June, 2005 00:47  
Anonymous David. said...

Some of the anonymous commenters (funny how the Connex supporters are so often anonymous) have a point - Connex are not the only party at blame, but they are certainly not blame free.
I lived in Melbourne for 6 years, and I'm now living in Glasgow, Scotland.
Melbourne has about 280 stations serving 3 million-odd people.
Glasgow has about 180 stations serving no more than 1 million, and the trains run more frequently, and they still have conductors - which means that there's much less grafitti, fewer abusive passengers on trains, and far less fare evasion.

The main point I'm making about Melbourne's transport systems is : many other cities do a much better job of it - so why can't Melbourne ?

(note : People often grumble about Glasgow's train system too, but it runs far better than I saw Melbourne's do ... )

02 June, 2005 03:50  
Anonymous Matt said...

To the connex loving anonymous, why don’t you understand what this blog is about. Connex are not providing Phil the service they have promised him.

I travel Vline and although on the surface their trains run on time with 99 percent reliability the trains I catch (6am to work and 4.40 home) are between 5 to 25 mins late well over 50 percent of the time. We don’t want excuses we want improvements.

02 June, 2005 14:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, firstly, I'm not the Mr Anonymous to whom you refer.

Anyway, I think the main underlying point he seems to be making is that if you want the services to be improved, you need to get stuck into the DOI, pollies, your local member and lobby them to provide more infrastructure investment. Connex provides the moving train service, not the tracks or signalling (including the maligned PDP11-70s)

This is IN ADDITION to holding Connex responsible NOT instead of!

Cheers,

Anon #2

02 June, 2005 14:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, firstly, I'm not the Mr Anonymous to whom you refer.

Anyway, I think the main underlying point he seems to be making is that if you want the services to be improved, you need to get stuck into the DOI, pollies, your local member and lobby them to provide more infrastructure investment. Connex provides the moving train service, not the tracks or signalling (including the maligned PDP11-70s)

This is IN ADDITION to holding Connex responsible NOT instead of!

Cheers,

Anon #2

02 June, 2005 14:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melbourne has about 280 stations serving 3 million-odd people.
Glasgow has about 180 stations serving no more than 1 million, and the trains run more frequently, and they still have conductors - which means that there's much less grafitti, fewer abusive passengers on trains, and far less fare evasion.

The main point I'm making about Melbourne's transport systems is : many other cities do a much better job of it - so why can't Melbourne ?


Blame Kennett. He's the one who took the suburban guards off, and ripped the guts out of the system.

And every city is different. Some cities had centralised planning, were under the control of welfare states that emphasised public transport usage and investment - the ideological basis for the society that the city exists in often affects the development and provision of the service. Consider this: thoughout the 1990s we lived in a free-market, laissez-faire, invisible-hand guided capitalist shithole at the hands of those bastard Liberals, and their choking of the system and de-prioritising of it means that we're in the quagmire that we're in now. To repair this wide-reaching damage is going to take a lot more than just one year, and will not be helped by whineging and negativity as so often advocated by Phil. Not without the government pouring money into it to fix the structural problems, as they have discovered with the fast rail project. The reason that the cost has blown out so much is because there are so many structural faults within the system, or that are so antiquated - double line block on the Bendigo line is a great example - that when they attempt to repair and replace for the future, it costs them money. And I bet you're all too happy to whinge about this too. Can you imagine the outcry if they spent the required funds to fix the Dandenong Main line by providing an extra track between Dandy and Caulfield?

To the connex loving anonymous, why don’t you understand what this blog is about. Connex are not providing Phil the service they have promised him.

I travel Vline and although on the surface their trains run on time with 99 percent reliability the trains I catch (6am to work and 4.40 home) are between 5 to 25 mins late well over 50 percent of the time. We don’t want excuses we want improvements.


No, I do understand what this blog is about. It's a festival of ignorance on the part of a shitty little man who has his knickers in such a bunch that he refuses to see the proverbial forest through the trees, and who comes in throwing punches first and bothering to research and ask intelligent queries later. I'm also starting to see a trend here - Phil likes to see himself as somewhat of a martyr for his fellow commuters - when a reasonable person sees him as a right old nutter.

And people will always whinge about the railways without stopping every now and then to admire their good work. It's been an aspect for as long as i've been travelling (30 years plus).

02 June, 2005 22:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be very interested to know whether our Connex supporter works for Connex. I agree that whinging alone and ranting on about it ad infinitim becomes unproductive.

But the point is that we regularly get told that our fares are increased. We regularly see advertisements encouraging us to use public transport. But if I am asked to pay my $90+ monthly on the promise (which is exactly what those efficiency posters on the train do) that I can rely on public transport to get me to work on time, then that is what I expect. (Yes, our fares are already subsidised, and there will be problems every now and then. But i think the effect of this blog and the majority of people's comments' is that the minimum level of service expected is not met).

True, the fault may well not be with the ordinary folks at Connex stations. But they need to take our complaints, and forward it to management. Management then needs to collate these complaints and assess what the problem is and what is required to solve them (because as our Connex supporter points out, we don't know anything about running train networks). Management then needs to take steps to solve it (because that's what they're paid to do). If they need anything from Department of Infrastructure, then management needs to sort it out. I wonder whether Mr Batchelor takes public transport to work.

I agree that ranting on and on about it to Connex is counter-productive. But without Connex Whinger's efforts, there would be no Age or SMH article, which I'm certain has brought the issue closer to DOI than any "it's ok they're doing their best and it's not their fault" will ever do.

02 June, 2005 22:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the connex loving anonymous - a bit late for a post at 10:30pm?? Was it because your train was cancelled or delayed?

02 June, 2005 22:44  
Anonymous Sam said...

There seems to be a lot of gunzels and Connex workers posting here, all under "Anonymous". How about this people - post under AT LEAST a unique name here, so each post can be distinguished. One gunzel has gone nuts here refuting every valid point about how badly Connex is doing, yet as you can see towards the end, the effectiveness is completely lost as the replies are mixed in with every other "Anonymous".

03 June, 2005 12:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what you are all complaining about! As a Frankston line user I feel Connex provides the perfect service for these winter mornings. No problem to stay under the doona for another 10 minutes as every 8:30 service this week has been late - today's was even cancelled . Also no need to wear a coat as the warmth gained from the other commuters you are squashed in with is more than sufficient - top stuff.

09 June, 2006 10:44  

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