Friday, May 13, 2005

Fri 13 May - Station staff...

Had a quick chat to a Ripponlea 07:14 regular this morning about the customer service officers on the platform every day. At least they'e not hiding in their little air-conditioned bolt-hole any more! But what do they do? The gunzellers over at see them as a big plus, while in almost the same breath they're countering every suggestion for improvement that I make as too expensive - so how does that work? What do they do? And how is this better value than fixing up some of the more fundamental problems?

Oh and we're on time again.

Not quite so good going home though. A case of déjà vu at the entrance, the board is showing the 18:10 and the 18:12 again. Except it's about 18:30 - not a good sign. On platform 12 it's also saying 18:10 when I get there. Then the screen goes blank. Then it shows the next train is the 18:50... huh? What happened to the 18:35. A few minutes later a train pulls into platform 13 and the monitors there light up to show it's the 18:35. OK. So we leave at about 18:40 and manage to lose another few minutes, arriving at Ripponlea seven minutes late. Probably about the way you'd expect the week to end.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thu 12 May - Tickets please...

Dodgy tickets again. Looks like I bought a sub-standard book of tickets as yet another one fails this morning. At least now the customer service officers are on the job again I can get one of them to sign my ticket - so I don't run the risk of the Connex Gestapo accusing me of stealing a free ride! Anyway, 07:14 is on time again.

A bit later this evening. The entrance sign is showing the 18:10 and the 18:12, only problem is that there is no 18:10 train. Get to platform 12 and the monitors are showing the next train is the 18:10... uh OK then. Sure enough that disappears and we're told it's the 18:12. What was that all about? Anyway, it comes in and we depart at 18:12. Connex always has something to keep you on your toes!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wed 11 May - Industrial action...

Industrial action? Sends a shiver down your spine when you think back to a couple of decades ago and the chaos on the roads - I didn't use public transport back then, but still felt the impact.

Anyway, the possibility was mooted by our station guys this morning, in relation to the lack of SMS alerts recently. I need to look into this. We got one at about 06:40 to advise the 07:29 was cancelled so perhaps they've sorted things out? Would've even given you time to adjust your plans for the earlier train - how good is that?!

Despite all that, the 07:14 is on time, so I’m alright Jack!

Home time. That's a big improvement on the last time I went for the 18:01... Only a minute late I can live with!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tue 10 May - Where are my SMSes...?

I can't believe I'm still angry about yesterday evening's debacle. There has to be a reason that they won't tell us what's going on, but I can't for the life of me think what it could be. No announcements, no SMSes, no nothing! Anyway, I think Melbourne commuters may be ready for a No Fares Day as was organised in Sydney last year. I'm not sure how we can gauge public opinion to determine the level of support, but we'll work on that - I've got some ideas.

At least this morning's train is on time. Interestingly there was a cancellation announcement at the station, but no SMS alert yet... Hmm working well!

17:38 coming home and it's on time, thankfully.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mon 9 May - Ominous start...

At 06:05 I get the first SMS advising a cancellation. The second one comes at 07:00, just as I walk out the door. Luckily neither was for the 07:14... phew! So it arrives and it's one of those old rattly ones with the slide-down windows. I'm thinking that's probably a last minute ring-in for one of the new ones that's defective, so we should be grateful. Anyway an otherwise uneventful start.

Later we get an SMS to advise a third Monday morning cancellation. Let's hope that this is not a portent for the rest of the week after such great performance last week.

Just call me Nostradamus! I'm a bit later getting away, so I head down for the 18:01. Waiting waiting waiting. Nothing. No announcement. Platform 13 - out of site, out of mind. Supposedly the 18:01 is going from platform 13 and the 18:12 from platform 12. Still nothing. 18:12 passes and that one's not there either. 18:15 and finally the 18:01 arrives and departs a minute or so later. There's a feeble announcement apologising for the late departure. Yeah but why didn't you keep us informed? And where was our SMS advising the train was more than 10 minutes late? The thing was coming in from Sandy, surely you knew exactly where it was? So why didn't you tell us?! Needless to say nobody was prepared to wait around to see if the 18:12 would run, so all 17,346 of us crammed into the 18:01. Not surprisingly, I had no shortage of takers for complaint forms when we all burst out at Ripponlea. And it's no big surprise when the 18:12 rolls in two minutes later almost empty.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Real World Connex Stats

I put this together for distribution and thought it worth posting it here too as it's a useful summary of the story so far.

The following table shows the performance statistics collected by the Connex Whinger over the last five weeks. Connex calls a train "on time" if it arrives within five minutes and 59 seconds of the scheduled time. The Connex Whinger definition of "on time" is (more realistically) within two minutes of the scheduled time.

Using the Connex Whinger measurement, 24 out of 40 trains he has aimed to catch have run close enough to the timetable. That's 60%! Using the (much more generous) Connex measurement that becomes 30 out of 40 trains, still only 75%. A long way away from the 96-98% they regularly claim.

Why the difference? Because Connex reports on every scheduled train, even if there's only three passengers on board. Not a very useful measurement. It's a bit like Channel Ten claiming to win the ratings because more people watch Joice Meyer at 4:00 am than anything else! Report on peak hour trains Connex - by definition, they're the ones most people are using and want to know about.

Mon 04/04Tue 05/04Wed 06/04Thu 07/04Fri 08/04
Mon 11/04Tue 12/04Wed 13/04Thu 14/04Fri 15/04
Mon 18/04Tue 19/04Wed 20/04Thu 21/04Fri 22/04
Mon 25/04Tue 26/04Wed 27/04Thu 28/04Fri 29/04
Mon 02/05Tue 03/05Wed 04/05Thu 05/05Fri 06/05