Saturday, May 20, 2006

Summary 15-19 May

As last week the cumulative stats show that we still have 61% on time, 23% a little late and 16% very late or cancelled. The trend is still heading down slightly.

http://www.connexwhinger.com/stats.html

Happy 6th birthday to my girl!

36 Comments:

Blogger Kym Lardner said...

Dear Phil,

Are you aware of any manhandling of commuters on Melbourne platforms by Connex staff?

Have you seen 6 connex employed thugs pin someone to the ground for their ID because they were rollerblading on the platform?

Do you know of any incidents on the trams that look like Connex ticket inspectors intimidating passengers or even wrestling them to the ground etc. etc.

My son has has and was involved in these incidents.

I took him to have a word with our local member of Parliament, Tony Lupton, who wants to follow up whatever action is taken regarding my son and promised to enquire as to whether this sort of thing is more common in Melbourne than say the platforms of London Underground or Japan rail, Paris Metro or the New York Subway.

What are your views.

Kym Lardner

20 May, 2006 18:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeap, that sounds like Connex. Anyone is not considered a paying customer and suspicious in the first place.

I had an encounter once and I politely asked the gorilla in front of me to show me his id first before I show him my validated metcard. He was not very happy with that. But what do you expect when you travel public transport!

20 May, 2006 19:22  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Hi Kym, while nothing would surprise me with these guys, I'm afraid I have no first-hand experience of this type of behaviour. I can recall two or three occasions when they've come stormtrooping through the carriage and caught an international terrorist masquerading as a student who has left his season ticket or ID at home. They don't seem to be all that in touch with their feminine sides on such occasions.

I always think it must be fairly intimidating for many people, but especially youths, to be confonted by these guys because they do seem pretty aggressive. The way they stand in a semi-circle outside the barriers, you'd think they were auditioning for parts as Blofeld's bodyguards in a Bond movie or similar. You walk away wondering if they all have hidden shoulder holsters and orders to shoot to kill if anybody tries to break through their cordon!

I used to carry an out of date ticket to show them so I could test the process for myself. As long as I have a valid one as well (I always do!) I kinda think it would be fun to see how it goes and when they're about to write the ticket suddenly find the real one! I never encountered them so I forgot about that - maybe I'll go back to carrying one and then I can report how it goes.

Sorry, I'm waffling without adding anything of value (how unusual!). I've little doubt that if your son described it that way that would be how it happened. I wonder if it's worth contacting the Herald Sun and The Age to see if they have any interest and maybe get a few other people who've had similar experiences to come forward. Might find some commonality of behaviour and be able to narrow it down to certain individuals?

Good luck, Phil

21 May, 2006 10:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they're in touch with their feminine sides, but the PMTs-psychotic side, rather than the girly-flowery side.

Not that I have a PMT-psychotic side, myself...

21 May, 2006 11:41  
Blogger The Met said...

1. Authorised Revenue Protection Officers are not part of Connex nor Yarra Trams (after that statement please correctly address them) they are contracted by the Department Of Infrastructure.

These are the people who are mainly authorised to conduct ticket checks, apart from Transit Police.


2. Suitable restraint should only be required when there is threat to Revenue Protection Officers, or the general public, or after requested to stop the incorrect behavior.

Suitable restrain; I agree SHOULD not be, being tackled to the ground. This shouldn't be nor is standard procedure.

This is not purely defined by any statutes and laws, merely indicated with 'suitable restraint.' - A major flaw.

ARPO are also permitted to arrest and detain you until police arrive if you refuse to comply.


3. You have the pure right to complain, your best way would be to contact the Transport Ombudsman - details i may attempt to find for you (if you have not done so)

Other steps may be to contact Customer Feedback send a complaint, please indicate what was happened.

Your local MP might be able to do something but as i said, try the above too.

4. Skating, rollerblading, and cycling is not permitted on Railway platforms, or on concourse areas. These areas are often denoted with clear signs.

21 May, 2006 11:49  
Blogger Kym Lardner said...

Question to "the met"

May I ask what connection you have with the met ?

21 May, 2006 13:57  
Blogger The Met said...

It's just an alias. I hold no ties with any public transport company.

If your a regular you'll know im Chris.

21 May, 2006 15:27  
Blogger The Met said...

Public Transport Ombudsman:

http://www.ptovic.com.au/

Try it BUT:

"The Public Transport Ombudsman does not have the power to consider complaints about:

The behaviour of Authorised Officers (‘ticket inspectors’) when they are exercising their statutory powers
"

( http://www.ptovic.com.au/content/complaintpto_making.html )

Now, that isn't me, it's whats purely off the site, im not sure where you can complain, but the next step would be somehow related to the department of infrastruture, ill do more searching for you.

It just simply should not be happening.

21 May, 2006 19:17  
Blogger The Met said...

OK, ive reviewed your situation.

"connex employed thugs" how can i, nor the relevant PT authorities say your son isn't a 'thug'? Nor that your entire post was entirely exaggurated; sorry to be very critical but the DOI won't be any better.

To put it bluntly:

Unless you personally were there to witness the account of your 'son,' there really is limited credibilty of this story. I doubt the DOI can really take on the opinion of one 'teenager' (i assume).

I only wish you good luck, as i can help you no further. The DOI site, proves no assistance to avail. But if i do reach any more finding, you'll know where to find it.


Look through all your options, if you really feel the need, as said by Mr Whinger, try the media, they always have a nack for things like this.

Cheerio,
Chris

PS: be happy Mr Whinger, I won't be on here for the next two days.

21 May, 2006 19:50  
Blogger Carolyn said...

In the last 12 months I have seen two grown women and one schoolgirl reduced to tears by Yarra Trams/DOI inspectors at stops in Collins St and Swanston St. I have not seen Connex inspectors do this to anyone, but they do seem to pick easy targets such as students and the elderly.

In contrast to this, a few years ago I was visiting London and ended up going one stop further on the Underground than the ticket I had purchased allowed. This resulted in a 10-pound fine, which I could either pay on the spot or receive in the mail. No questions, no arguments, and $A30 is a lot more reasonable than the $100+ we get whacked with here, so people just cop it without too much complaining.

I have also lived in Japan and they have a very friendly system - if you're not sure which ticket to buy, you just purchase the cheapest one, then when you get to your destination you put it in the 'Fare Adjustment Machine' on the platform and pay the difference. This then issues you with a new ticket which gets you through the ticket barriers. Mind you, in Japan they also issue you with late passes to give to your employer if your train is late, so they are a lot more user-friendly all around!

22 May, 2006 09:22  
Anonymous Andrew said...

For me, the litmus test would be if Joe Public behaved the same way as the 'Authorised Revenue Protection Officers' with a stranger, would it be acceptable?

So if a group of strangers came up to some one on the street and wrestled them to the ground and then pinned them down, would that be acceptable? I think not.

'Suitable restraint' should not be something that anyone else would be arrested for.

Kym, I wish you luck and hope that you have some victory here.

Perhaps try the likes of Current Affair or Today Tonight?

22 May, 2006 09:25  
Blogger Daniel Bowen said...

The PT Ombudsman has no juristiction whatsoever over Authorised Officers. The State Ombudsman's office does.

This page details some avenues to consider.

22 May, 2006 09:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the met, you are wrong about the revenue protection officers. DOI does have some officers, but the majority of the thugs we see across the network are employed by Connex or Yarra Trams under section 221AB of the Transport Act 1983. I have witnessed heavy handed tactics many times. Essentially the Transport Act gives these transport companies a legislative authority to use criminal sanctions to enforce what is really a private contract between a passenger and a private company.

In the circumstances, I think is it reasonable to expect Connex to comply with its obligations under the Act. I note section 221I(3), which requires that any authorised officer produce his or her ID card on request. I always ask for it before I show them my ticket. Recently I came across one which was not signed by the relevant delegate at DOI. In the circumstances I refused to show the person my ticket and he let me go on my way with out further question.

Read Part 7, Division 4AA of the Transport Act and the Regulations and be aware of your rights; it's the only way to fight this corporate tyranny. All Victorian legislation is available at www.dms.dpc.vic.gov.au.

22 May, 2006 11:36  
Blogger Brian the Garden Gnome said...

Hi Kym,

When I used to live in Seaford I reguarlly travelled on the Frankston line home each night. I vividly recall one scenario at where four CHUBB security guards who were contracted by Connex/Metlink/MTrain/whoever borded at Aspendale and noticed a guy who had overindulged and fallen asleep on the train.

I'd like to make clear at this point that this person was non offensive, non abusive and non-vocal. The guy was asleep.

After being roughly prodded by the connex staff a few times and barely rousing, the four 'security' guards physically picked him up and stood at the door swinging him back and forth until we arrived at Carrum station at which point the violently /THREW/ him onto the platform.

I found it ironic that in 12 or so years of train travel the most violent offence I'd ever witnessed was carried out by security guards. I vaguely recall sending a letter to the ombudsman at the time but I don't recall receiving or responding to their reply.

I don't believe that the CHUBB guards are still employed or roam trains...

22 May, 2006 13:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that the guy who sat down to take off his roller blades and then started to run away?

22 May, 2006 14:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care if they are or are not employed by Connex. They certainly have a Connex branded uniform and as such represent with their actions the company.

22 May, 2006 16:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How hard is it? Buy a ticket and obey the rules and all trouble will be avoided. As for the drunk on the train, part of the training for such officers is that to be very firm initially when waking a drunk. I have seen this happen and I thought they were being a bit harsh until I made enquiries and it was explained to me. They were only very firm initially, as they were supposed to be.

22 May, 2006 17:12  
Blogger Brian the Garden Gnome said...

Physically throwing someone from a train goes past the 'firm initially' stage, I think.

'Bout time we discouraged all of this 'Anonymous' posting IMHO. Some of the fools on here surprise me every day.

23 May, 2006 09:18  
Anonymous sam said...

I don't see any difference between "Anonymous" and "Brian the garden gnome" in terms of anonymity here.

Sam

23 May, 2006 11:19  
Blogger The Met said...

Creating false identities are so easy to do.....

So whoever you want to be (the met, garden gnome) you can.

23 May, 2006 15:18  
Blogger The Met said...

Ha, ha. Mr Imitation, how very displeasing it is to see you.

---
"I don't believe that the CHUBB guards are still employed or roam trains... "

They never were, the only people authorised to do that were, police officers, Transit Police, and Authorised Officers.

Chubb was involved with depot security, on occasion guards were stationed at railway sidings and depots.

---
One person may represent a company, but one person cannot reflect each and every induvidual within that company.

23 May, 2006 15:40  
Blogger The Met said...

It is always a pleasure!

24 May, 2006 11:54  
Anonymous Harry said...

"21 May, Carolyn said... in Japan they also issue you with late passes to give to your employer if your train is late" - this happens there if the train is about 10 minutes late. All passengers from that train get this note handed over by staff who also apologise to each passenger. Apart from this, there are announcements on the train to say "sorry we are running (say) 5 minutes late and we will be at xyz station at such and such time". Different world ... different people ... different levels of caring. Perhaps we cant be at the same time a laid back nation and have a decent public transport?

27 May, 2006 21:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, yes I've been harrassed by the thugs on several occassions, including being jumpped on by 2 gorillas for having my legs crossed so that one foot touched the seat opposite. This was on platform 1 at flinders street, and my girlfriend screemed at the top of her lungs. They didn't give me a ticket that time.

05 June, 2006 10:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A word from a happy PT traveller....there are just a few rules you have to follow to ensure a happy journey, excluding the odd late arrival of course.
1) Don't break the law, if you have a ticket you wont get booked
2) Show a little respect, the inspectors are just doing their job
3) Take a closer look next time you see some one being "manhandled", there's probably a good reason for it.
I am 32 years old, and have always used public transport, at least 5 times per week, I have never seen anyone treated wrongly by the inspecyors and quite franky am glad when they're around as I know my personal safety will be assured.

05 June, 2006 21:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beware connex staff. noted for
abuse of young people. son feared he
was going to be bashed by connex
staff the other day, so rode off.
chased in a car, dangerous driving
by staff, on the footpath and crashed into a fence. then tackled
to the ground and taken to local police station. is anyone else concerned about their safety. concerned mum.

18 October, 2006 11:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the 11th of May 2007 at 4.50pm on platform 1 of Nth Melbourne Station I witnessed along with many other commuters a large group of inspectors beating a young boy who looked no more than 18 years old. It was a saturday night nightclub style bashing.
I have reported this to every single authority I could think of, including Connex.
Today I was informed by the State Ombudsman that the matter was being investigated.
I assume it is, because I received a call from Connex an hour ago attempting to threaten me into withdrawing the complaint.
I was not involved in this bashing, but I saw it and it was horrific.

I have grave fears for the boy.

I will withhold my e-mail now, after my converstaion with Connex, and I believe giving them any personal details were a huge mistake.

If anyone else saw it, talk to the STATE OMBUDSMAN, DO NOT report it to Connnex!
C
North Melbourne

15 May, 2007 16:50  
Blogger andrew said...

One month ago I got off the train at Melb. central, I was carrying a valid ticket, how every I tried to walk past the inspectors, I was running late for class etc, sick of been targeted as a student. An AO - authorised officer then came up grabbed me from behind pushed me into the corner, and jammed me against the machine. He was yelling in my ear 'Don’t resist or ill fucking smack you'. I did not resit and remained calm. I was then thrown to the ground. onlookers were screaming ‘get off him’ and were told to piss off by other inspectors. Excessive force was used against me. I am not worried if people on this forum don’t believe what I say. I have a number of shop keeper witnesses and have now obtained the video footage.
I have complained to Connex and they, who were meant to reply in 7 days have still not replied one month later. I am now talking to the ombudsman and local parliament member.
While 'anonymous' a 34 y.o man may have never have had trouble with inspectors, there is a reason - they target young people. Why do you think they are always are the Melb uni tram stops and central. These inspectors have too much power. When I complained and told them I had witnesses the inspector replied ‘yeah but they have all gone now’.
Even if you think someone deserves to be thrown to the ground, publicly humiliated, intimidated, sworn at and threatened, because they may or may not have a $3.20 ticket, you must stand up for you fellow commuters.
This behaviour is unacceptable. If you see this happen to someone stay as a witness. Take photos if you can, and don’t be scared off by inspector threats.

08 June, 2007 16:10  
Blogger andrew said...

also a reply to 'concearned mum'
AOs are not premitted to pursue people unless they have commited a serious offence - such as assulted an AO. They also cannot pursue once they lose sight of the person and must call the police. That is my understanding. there are some regularions published at

http://www.doi.vic.gov.au/Doi/Internet/transport.nsf/AllDocs/2EDCD5A35EE3A806CA256DB7000BD004?

this is the code of conduct for authorised officers. However it is very vague.

08 June, 2007 16:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I validated a ticket before i got on the train. I somehow lost it on the train. When I was leaving the station, I was fined by officers. What can I do?

23 January, 2008 10:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure if this website is still alive but I feel the need to let off steam about this.

I cannot understand the business case for stationing somewhere between 7 and 11 - based on some random counts - Connex operatives outside the barriers at Flinders St Station on a regular basis. Similar numbers are present at Melbourne Central when I use that station. Some mornings they form a blockade that obstructs pedestrian traffic. The cost of this operation as opposed to

1. Just accepting that there will be a few cheats but most people will pay for a decent service (hmmm!).

2. Installing better barriers.

3. Having a more modern ticketing system that will inhibit cheats.

must be enormous.

It does not give the public great respect for a system when, at the same time as these Connex operatives are at the barriers, of the five or so ticket booths adjacent to the barriers only one is open, as happened last Friday. As a result I and several others had to wait at least 10 minutes in line to buy a ticket.

I travel on metro/suburban systems in many other parts of the world - Paris, London, Washington, etc, and none have this level of obsession with catching every last cheat as Connex does in Melbourne.

25 October, 2008 10:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"son feared he was going to be bashed by connex staff the other day, so rode off."

And if this were "Son feared he was going to be bashed by Victorian Police the other day, so rode off." would there be the same whingeing.
If he did nothing wrong there would be no reasonable personal force used. He had OBVIOUSLY done something wrong and ran... and got hurt because of it....

12 March, 2009 12:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I validated a ticket before i got on the train. I somehow lost it on the train. When I was leaving the station, I was fined by officers. What can I do?"

Wait until you get the fine from the Department of Transport and reply to that... they DOT *may* just let the fine pass...

12 March, 2009 12:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How's this for a typical CONnex story?

I was fined $260 for not having an early bird ticket. a FREE OF CHARGE ticket. I've chosen to take them to court rather than to pay the fine. Hopefully common sense will prevail.

26 October, 2009 08:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the big point is that the revenue inspectors are not police (ie government employees but private employees of a transport company). There is NOT the same level of accountability. If police use excess force (whether the person deserved it or not) they can be held accountable, Connex inspectors, it seems cannot.

08 November, 2009 11:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I witnessed at least 5 connex inspectors pull & poke a mentaly disabled women for most likely not having a valid ticket. I started filming from a distance when I was stood over by a plain clothed inspector. He stood infront on me carrying on like a child bullying me & iintimidating me. Demanding me to turn off my camera in a public place. I didn't listen & continued to film. The inspector continued to insult me.
It was like filming a pack of wild dogs that just killed for a meal. The victim was dead meat. I was disgusted how people with disabilities are treated by connex. The inspector then called the director of security for wilsons & the director of southern cross station to come & tell me off . Their words were they were impressed with my behaviour. After asking them if they saw their footage they said they didn't but they trusted their staff to tell them what happened. They were trying to demonise me without evidence. Based on hearsay. I called the police. The police were relucent to get involved but said I can put a foal complaint to connex. The only thing the police said is that I can film but they don't like it because after september 11 things are sensitive. That's strange because I thought after September 11 there were more cameras installed & watching us. I also had a man approached me from the public who saw everything & gave me his details.
The inspectors carried in like it was a night club scene. Like drunks looking for trouble. Some inocent vitctim to pick on,

04 February, 2010 00:13  

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