Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thu 23 February - Drivers...

Not for the first time I've read feedback from a driver that suggests he/she feels that my daily whinges are aimed at them. Not so.

My beef is with Jeff Kennett for privatising the system in the first place. My beef is with Bracks and Batchelor who have continued to run the system down further still and refuse to accept that there are massive infrastructure problems that need to be addressed. But my biggest beef is with Bruce "Sir Topham Hatt" Hughes. In fact his nickname is probably too flattering, since the Fat Controller generally seems to manage not to interfere too much with the smooth running of the Sodor rail network. Sir Topham is the CEO and it is his responsibility to fix the problems - whining that the government won't do anything is admitting defeat. As I've said before - if you're not up for the job, move out of the way and let somebody else have a go.

I've little doubt that most of the Connex drivers are doing their best in a fairly dated and poorly managed environment. So if it seems I'm having a go at the drivers, I'm not.

Seven straight greens with the 07:14 coming in on time.

And that's where it ends... but how can I even begin to lay out this evening's strange situation?

I manage to get to the station just in time to make the 17:49... running, running, running... At the foot of the ramp it's obvious there's no point in running, the platform is jam packed. Wait around for a minute or two and they announce that the 17:49 is approximately eight minutes late. Of course, the temperature has exceeded 30°C... uh duh!

I look over at platform 12 and there's a train. I'd noticed at the entrance that the 18:01 was departing from platform 12, so there's a few minutes spare, might as well go check it out. A Connex employee at the top of the stairs somewhat hesitantly confirms it's the 18:01. I head down and the monitors are blank. Hmmm...

But this is where we start looking around for Rod Serling. How can the 17:49 not have appeared but the 18:01 is sitting here ready to go? What possible logic could explain that? Put simply, why doesn't Connex just tell everyone on platform 8 to head over to 12 and then that train could leave straight away? How ridiculous is this?

Anyway, the train is cool and empty so I decide to wait and see what happens. The 17:49 will be packed and it's way too hot to be sandwiched with the sweaty masses. A few more people appear, but we depart a minute or so late and almost empty.

We get to Richmond and there's very few people on the platform, so presumably the 17:49 is just ahead of us. Hardly any more people get on at South Yarra either.

So my question to Connex, if I had any hope of getting an answer I'd ask it properly, is why on earth didn't they just run the 18:01 as the 17:49???


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