Saturday, September 03, 2005

Summary 29 August - 2 September

Three homeward trips by train this week. Two cancelled and one late! So the stats now stand at 59% green, 25% orange and 16% red. Once again the notification to passengers has been woeful, SMS alerts either very much later than the information available at the station, or just not arriving at all. As an aside, it seems the overall number of SMS alerts (for other trains during peak times) has gone up dramatically in recent weeks.

Mon 29/08Tue 30/08Wed 31/08Thu 01/09Fri 02/09
Mon 22/08Tue 23/08Wed 24/08Thu 25/08Fri 26/08
Mon 15/08Tue 16/08Wed 17/08Thu 18/08Fri 19/08
Mon 08/08Tue 09/08Wed 10/08Thu 11/08Fri 12/08
Mon 01/08Tue 02/08Wed 03/08Thu 04/08Fri 05/08
Mon 25/07Tue 26/07Wed 27/07Thu 28/07Fri 29/07
Mon 18/07Tue 19/07Wed 20/07Thu 21/07Fri 22/07
Mon 11/07Tue 12/07Wed 15/07Thu 14/07Fri 15/07
Mon 06/06Tue 07/06Wed 08/06Thu 09/06Fri 10/06
07:1407:14N/AN/A N/A
Mon 30/05Tue 31/05Wed 01/06Thu 02/06Fri 03/06
Mon 23/05Tue 24/05Wed 25/05Thu 26/05Fri 27/05
Mon 16/05Tue 17/05Wed 18/05Thu 19/05Fri 20/05
Mon 09/05Tue 10/05Wed 11/05Thu 12/05Fri 13/05
Mon 02/05Tue 03/05Wed 04/05Thu 05/05Fri 06/05
Mon 25/04Tue 26/04Wed 27/04Thu 28/04Fri 29/04
Mon 18/04Tue 19/04Wed 20/04Thu 21/04Fri 22/04
Mon 11/04Tue 12/04Wed 13/04Thu 14/04Fri 15/04
Mon 04/04Tue 05/04Wed 06/04Thu 07/04Fri 08/04

Friday, September 02, 2005

Fri 2 September - Fare dodger...

Location: Ripponlea Station
Date: Friday 2 September
Time: 07:11

Insert fresh daily ticket into left-hand validator - RE-TRY
Insert as-it-turns-out-not-quite-so-fresh daily ticket into right-hand validator - OK

Time: 07:15
Board train, after trying defective door and realising it's never going to open no matter how many times I press the button - race to another door

Location: Balaclava Station
Time: 07:16
Watch frustrated passengers press the button to open the door then race to another door when they too realise it won't open

Location: Windsor Station
Time: 07:18
Watch frustrated passengers press the button to open the door then race to another door when they too realise it won't open

Location: Prahran Station
Time: 07:20
Watch frustrated passengers press the button to open the door then race to another door when they too realise it won't open

Location: South Yarra Station
Time: 07:22
Watch frustrated passenger press the button to open the door then race to another door when she too realises it won't open

Location: Flinders Street Station
Time: 07:30
Put ticket into barrier - NOT VALIDATED
Harry Hipants says it's "NOT VALIDATED"
I advise Harry that it's gone into two validators at Ripponlea
Harry Hipants says it's "NOT VALIDATED"
I advise Harry that maybe it's because the first validator did something to it
Harry Hipants says it's "NOT VALIDATED" then validates it on the other side of the barrier
I advise Harry that I got the message but he really needs to take it up with the incompetent cretins who cannot keep a simple ticket validator operational
Harry Hipants says it's "NOT VALIDATED" and gives me back my now validated ticket
I insert my ticket and wander off mumbling about the incompetence of Connex

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thu 1 September - No trains today...

No trains for me that is. I'm at home today finishing off an assignment that's due in tonight.

Just as well by the looks of the SMS alerts - three cancellations this evening (that we're told about anyway!) and two of them within a just a few minutes of departure time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wed 31 August - Nearly red...

Connex came within a whisker of getting a red this morning. The train pulled in to Ripponlea a couple of minutes late, then sat just outside Flinders Street station for a few minutes more. We alighted just about bang on six minutes late. My fault for saying the morning trains were reliable!

For the third evening in a row we have disruption at home time. Guys, come on... WHERE'S MY SMS??? I could've rushed and possibly made the 18:01 (assuming it ran). But no, silly me relied on the fact that there'd been no alert that the 18:12 was going to be affected. In fact, there still hasn't. But it was cancelled. Frankly we might as well not have the SMS service if we can't count on it.

The stationmaster tells me they've had some computer problems. The good old PDP-11s acting up again. Surely that cretin Bruce Hughes has some plan to replace them eventually? Or does he expect them to be part of the 20/2020 solution?

Anyway, I did the sensible thing and caught a taxi. I was probably home by the time the next jam-packed Sandringham train left Flinders Street.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tue 20 August - Jekyll and Hyde...

I've worked it out... the morning trains are Dr Jekyll while the evening trains are Mr Hyde.

I'm still angry about yesterday evening - leave early to get home early and actually get there later than usual. I forgot to mention that the SMS arrived just after 17:27, a full seven minutes after I saw the sign at the entrance advising that it was not running - who knows how long it was up there before I arrived, so how long before that did they know?

A further postscript on this - seems the following train was delayed by about 11 minutes, suggesting it would've resembled the Mumbai to New Delhi all stations special with three trainloads trying to cram in. Presumably the 17:49 was delayed too. Slightly ironic, given that there was an article in The Age today about overcrowding on Connex trains.

I wonder if we can go Connex for false advertising? I think I'll give it a try. Their posters clearly suggest that they will let you know with plenty of notice so you don't waste time waiting around at the station - clearly they don't always achieve this, and sometimes you can understand why. But when they know the train's not running, failing to send the SMS alert until long after cannot be so readily explained.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that there's confusion on platform 8 again this evening. There's a train on the platform, allegedly the 17:30 Frankston. It's still sitting there several minutes after its scheduled departure time. Why? No announcement is forthcoming. The monitor suggests the next rain is the 17:38 to Sandringham, but of course we've no reason to believe that.

Anyway the Frankston train departs unannounced at about 17:36. A few people had raced down the escalators and jumped aboard without looking. I wonder how many think they are getting on the Sandy train and get a bit of a shock when the train heads off towards Spencer Street!

Our train comes in a minute or two later and we head of a couple of minutes late. We manage to lose more time (as often happens when the train's crowded) so we get to Ripponlea four minutes late.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mon 29 August - You know the form...

Maybe I'll switch to just logging homeward bound trips, since the mornings (for the 07:14 at least) are fairly reliable nowadays... is that tempting fate?!

Mind you, I doubt the hapless 08:09 regulars would agree. This train seems to be cancelled more frequently than any other - today it's their turn yet again. Given how crowded those trains are from around 08:00 to 09:00 I can only imagine what the following train will be like.

As I was saying, the homeward bound trips are not so reliable... I need to get home early tonight, so head down for the 17:27. I hesitate by the taxi rank, as I'm carrying a big birthday present for my son. No, I'll take the train, it'll be fine. Get to the entrance and the sign tells me the 17:38 and the 17:49 are next, so where's the 17:27? Or where's my SMS alert? Sure enough the announcement comes through that the 17:27 is cancelled due to lack of trains or some such excuse.

Why didn't you flipping Connex cretins tell me this at 17:17 when I was next to the taxi rank? I could've jumped in a cab and been home by the time I had a realistic chance of squeezing into a train. Of course there's no taxis to be had at Flinders Street. Heaven forbid that the state's major train station or Fed Square should have a taxi rank anywhere handy. So I get the tram. And instead of getting home early I get home even later than normal. All for the lack of a simple SMS alert, the service Connex promised us to make up for their unreliable trains.