Friday, April 22, 2005

Summary 18-22 April

Here's the summary of our third week, not as good as last week.

The stats so far show 57% of trains I've gone for getting a green status, 11% orange and 32% red, barely changed from where we were at the end of week two.


I've given them a green if the train that I wanted to catch departs within two minutes of the scheduled time and I've given them an orange if they are "on time" according to Connex - seem fair?

Fri 22 April - Good Friday...

Yep, a good Friday. 07:14 runs on time, 17:38 runs on time. If only every day could be like this!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thu 21 April - "On time"...

The 07:14 arrives a couple of minutes late and manages to lose another minute or two along the way, so it was still "on time". Then we're dropped in the dank and dingy dungeon of Platform 13. OK, I'm whingeing just for the sake of it now, at least it's better than yesterday's trip.

I'm getting slaughtered over in the Railpage forum. Looks like they're not too keen on my idea of giving Bruce Hughes the flick. Interestingly there's a few votes in favour, despite no supporting posts for my position in the thread. That's OK, I like a good stoush!

When I handed in my complaint forms today I asked the "nobody's complaining to us" lady about my many previous complaints, since there's been no responses yet. Seems they've all got lost in the system. Yeah right! Anyway, she's kindly offered to find them and refax them all.

17:38 runs OK, thankfully, since the 17:49's been cancelled. As it happens the 17:49 cancellation SMS was sent at 17:22, so there would've been time to shoot for the earlier train had somebody been planning to catch it. Big tick to Connex SMS alerts people.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wed 20 April - "Get a life"...

"Get a life" the lady says. Because I'm asking if people want a complaint form about the belated notification of the 07:14 cancellation. It's 07:20 and having told us it's delayed by eight minutes, Connex now tell us it's cancelled. For some reason my action causes the lady offence. Needless to say she doesn't receive a lot of support. But this illustrates the divided opinions between those who accept near enough is good enough and those who don't. We whingers are attacked for being whingers, yet we rarely see the contented being attacked for accepting shoddy service. Why is that?

Personally I think those who don't stand up for themselves are doing society a disservice, but that's just my view. But it would never occur to me to launch an unprovoked attack on their position - each to his own, I say. I've seen it in the Railpage forum - why won't I just accept crap customer service? Because the more crap we put up with, the more "they" will give us - it's as simple as that.

Anyway, the SMS alert arrives at 07:22 - why does it take so long for this information to come through? Undoubtedly they knew well beforehand that they had a problem. Just tell us!

Which segues nicely into the evening experience. No SMS about the 17:38 so we're hopeful, until we see the sign at the entrance - 17:49 and 18:01. Sure enough the monitor's showing 17:49, so that's what we get. The SMS at 17:35 confirms there's no 17:38. Once again they knew that several minutes earlier, so why so long to send the SMS? I handed out my remaining complaint forms at Ripponlea - unfortunately nowhere near enough again so I'm shouting to people to download a form from

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tue 19 April - A suspicion confirmed...

07:14 on time again today. Generally this one's pretty good most of the time - probably tempting fate saying that!

I recently had a chat to a senior Connex person about some of the issues on the Sandy line - to be fair, I whinged, he listened. Anyway, he unofficially confirmed what I, and I'm sure many others, have often suspected. Most senior Connex execs do not use their own system. Think about that for a minute... most senior Connex execs do not use their own system. Is that because they know it's crap? Is their time so much more important than their that of their passengers that they can't afford to be delayed?

Here's a suggestion for you Bruce. You and your mates come visit our world for a while and see if you still think you're providing an acceptable level of service.

Somebody sent me a pic of Bruce on the way to work... Bruce's limo

Home time and the 17:38 leaves at 17:38. I know this the ultimate hypocrisy - the 17:27 left several minutes late, so it meant we had a less crowded train than usual - a small part of me was happier to have more room, despite the overcrowdedness my fellow passengers would've suffered taking half our trainload on the 17:27!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Mon 18 April - Mondayitis again...

Again we're off to a pretty good start, the 07:14 is within a minute this morning.

The slight frustration was neither of the ticket validators would work on my ticket. Whenever this happens you get that uncomfortable feeling that if the jack-booted inspectors appear they won't believe you. I'm one of the most honest people I know - I don't think I've ever knowingly travelled on public transport without a valid ticket. Yet I'm left feeling vaguely uneasy because I'm technically travelling illegally as both the machines were playing up. The lady at Flinders Street simply shrugged and signed the ticket.

Coming home is not so good. At 17:20 we're SMSed that the 17:27 is cancelled - again! Against my better judgement I stick around and leave the sweaty hordes to fight over the oxygen and floor space on the 17:38. Head down for the 17:49 and there's a train already on platform 9... good old Connex. Except the monitor helpfully tells us it's the 17:44 to a destination of "not taking passengers" wherever that is. But the little bit at the bottom tells us the next train is the 17:49 to Sandringham. It's 17:48 and the platform 13 announcement crackles through the tannoys. The herd of wildebeests sweeps majestically across the plain - well races up the stairs anyway. Platform 13 - no train. Maybe the controllers and drivers are playing their games again and back on platform 9 the 17:44 to not taking passengers metamorphosed into the 17:49 to Sandringham while we were heading in the other direction.

Anyway, after a minute or two the 17:49 arrives. We all hop in. And we wait. Eventually at 17:56 we head off. So seven minutes late, no big tick for Connex there. Somehow we leave Richmond eight minutes late and manage to lose a couple more minutes so we're at Ripponlea over 10 minutes late. Needless to say by then we've picked up a good many of the people who'd been aiming for the 18:01 so we're pretty chokkas most of the way. Did I mention it was one of the new trains and the aircon wasn't working? Yeah thanks for the sweaty armpits in the face fellas. I was a bit preoccupied so didn't think to hand out complaint forms tonight - slipping there.

Managed to grab a photo of the train as it pulled out of Ripponlea...
Sandringham Train