That was certainly an interesting 24 hours - thanks to everybody for your support. To those who sent me emails with a return address, I will try to get to them all - I'm fairly full on at work and have a big exam Monday too, so the spare time is very limited at present. But I do appreciate all the positive comments and I think we are right to hassle Connex, after all it is the public face of the suburban rail network.
I might be over-simplifying, but it seems the main criticism being levelled at me is that I don't understand the complexities of running a rail network. In a comment on yesterday's blog, somebody helpfully pointed to the Railpage forum
to prove that I don't know what I'm talking about. Well thanks anonymous poster, but I already made it clear in my very first post
that this blog was primarily about recording my experiences to see if they matched my perceptions (so far they do). I've added an extract to the profile section on the right, thanks for the idea D-word.
I don't think I ever claimed to have any expertise in any facet of running a railway network. However, I do have a pretty fair understanding of technology and I don't have to be Einstein to recognise that Connex is somewhat behind in its use of currently available technology and that the lack of same has to be a limiting factor in many areas of their operations. Their core computer systems are around 25-30 years old. Think about that - they pretty much predate the entire personal computing revolution! Your average PDA has more grunt than a 25-30yo PDP-11.
Any debates that I was involved in at Railpage were along the lines of me whingeing, somebody challenging me to suggest improvements, me suggesting improvements, then a whole load of people bagging me because I don't have a clue how to run a rail network! Well duh...
The other theme that our detractors are running with is that this is not all down to Connex - and I agree that is a valid point. But Connex is running the front end. If their back end is failing them then surely they have sufficient knowledge to understand the specifics and sufficient clout to change things that are impacting their service delivery? In which case they are certainly the right people to target with our complaints.
This blog was never intended to become a debating ground, I'll be going back to Railpage for that when I get some free time back into my life. So I'll be refraining from further comments on the various feedback received after this. But I would like to close this side of things with a correction. Never have I berated Connex staff, nor have I ever advocated anybody else doing so. Question them, challenge their apathy, don't accept the ridiculous bureaucracy, such as not allowing any superfluous comments on their complaint forms
, but don't lose your temper and don't berate the staff, it's not their fault that Bruce Hughes is not competent to run a rail network!
On the 06:59 again today... by choice. It's just about on time too, obviously the lack of a third door in each carriage is no impediment to progress this morning.
Home on the 18:24. That third door ensures that we get home on time.