Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Can't help myself...

I'm gone again for the next several weeks after a few days of using our wonderful transport system again. Man I will so not miss it!

Monday I get there in time for the 17:38, it's showing on the entrance board so all is good. I get to the platform and the monitors are showing 17:49... uh oh! A couple of minutes later an SMS comes through confirming that the 17:38 is cancelled. I consider the alternatives... go outside and get a taxi? Nope, takes too long and is too expensive. Go jump on a tram? Nope, takes too long and too crowded then too far to walk at the other end. Go to the pub, get magotted and wait a while? Nope, would not be popular at home! Curse Connex management and stand there gnashing teeth for the next 10-15 minutes as we always do? Yep!

So the platform fills up and we wait. 17:49 passes and we wait, now the platform is pretty full. So do you reckon these doughbrains in charge might want to make some extra effort to keep us informed, as they've already cancelled one train and the second one has not arrived by its departure time? Well if they had any notion at all about customer service they might, but not these cretins.

Needless to say that when we depart around five minutes late the train is bursting at the seams. Not surprising when you have two complete trainloads jammed in, plus around half of the people expecting to get on the 18:01. Of course it's perfectly safe and it's not too bad really and I'm just a whinger...

Next morning I'm just thinking about breakfast and the dreaded SMS alert comes through, the 07:14 is cancelled. Do I skip breakfast and race through the shower or just go in late? I've got so much on that I can't do that, so I do the hurry up thing and manage to get there in time for the 06:59, having had no brekky and not made any sangers... I really hate you Connex!

Funnily enough what really prompted me to make a post is to draw attention to a comment made on my previous post. Have a look at the third comment. If you ever had any doubts about how deeply rooted the problems are, here's your confirmation. "Bernard", thanks for giving us such a great insight into why Connex is such a mess. I can't say that there's anything there that surprises me, but it helps considerably to know that our suspicions are confirmed and that there are guys like you working from the inside to try to improve things for all concerned.

It's always seemed like the biggest single problem within Connex is the "but we've always done it this way" approach. If you ever get involved with the gunzels at that railpage fan site, most of them seem to be entrenched in the mentality that nothing can be done to improve the system. Rather than recognising that peak hour commuters are their raison d'ĂȘtre they see them as a hindrance to playing with their 1:1 scale train sets.

I've had an email exchange or two with various people inside the Connex hierarchy and invariably we just hit a brick wall at the suggestion of making change. Andrew Cassidy opted to respond to my last attempt and I passed on some fairly simple suggestions for improving customer service by keeping people informed on where their trains were, since obviously Metrol has to know at all times where the trains are. His response was that they're not in the same location so it's too hard. Clearly if they're not up to using such modern inventions as telephony we have a long way to go!

The point is that he and his colleagues are just too entrenched in doing things the way they've always done them. Even relatively simple changes are just too hard. The more far-reaching, fundamental changes that are required to actually fix the underlying issues are never going to happen. I think "Bernard" has pretty much confirmed this. Me, I'm not really keen on being away for the next few weeks, but I can forget the Connex shambles for a while at least.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be good if the money Connex have recently spent advertising the SMS service had be put to use on getting the basics of vocal customer communications right before trying to automate.

13 July, 2006 16:14  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Agree. I plan to alert the appropriate agency regarding their false advertising when I'm back in Melbourne. They claim "If ever there's a delay we'll text you straight away", but in the fine print that is qualified s being 15 minutes. Seeing that they already have a very clear definition of "delayed", being 5'59" they can't suddenly start using a different one in their advertising!

16 July, 2006 21:16  
Anonymous I Whinge Too said...

Hmmmm...had a similar experience on Tuesday.

One of my kids was performing in a concert at Hawthorn Town Hall at 7:30pm, so I needed to catch a train to Glenferrie. Glenferrie is serviced by three lines (Belgrave, Lilydale and Alamein), so you'd think leaving the office at 6:30pm and getting a train there on time'd be a cinch. Right? Wrong!

Got to Flinders Street and found that the relevant trains leave from platforms 2 + 3. The board said 6:38 for Lilydale, 6:49 for Belgrave and Alamein. Went to platform 3 for Lilydale, train pulled in, I got on. Two minutes later - announcement, "This train will now be a Glen Waverley train. Next Lilydale train from platform 2."

Off I get, trundle across to platform 2. Two minutes later - announcement, "Train on platform 3 will be a Lilydale train." (Same train.) Platform 2 didn't look promising, and nothing on the screens, so back to the train on platform 3.

Two minutes later - announcement by driver (and I'm not exaggerating), "Bloody hell, they've done it again. This train will now be a Belgrave train." By this stage, I was really jack of the musical chairs, so I decided I'd stay put - Belgrave would do the trick.

Two minutes later, you guessed it - a train pulls into platform 2 (nothing on the screen, no announcement). Then, five seconds before the doors close, "Lilydale train departing platform 2. Stand clear." I'd swear that the station master giggled as the doors closed.

To top it all off, the Belgrave train I was on then left late.

And they want us to pay for this "service"?

20 July, 2006 13:59  
Blogger The Met said...

you still had a service.

Im amazed they call us a liveable city. How about you ring the fella's who say were liveable, and tell'em its all wrong.

With all these, or do i mean 'this' induvidual occasion, its bound to have a major effect on Melbourne...

It seems that now giant reptiles have become another addition to Connex's list of excuses for delayed trains...

20 July, 2006 20:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a list of things you can do mate if your sick of crap service from Crapex.

1. Drive to work
2. Ride a bike
3. Walk

Get a life and stop posting bullsh*t about how much you hate Connex. It is Botchalot and Brax who you should be compaining to. I can't wait for Connex and Yarra Trash to walk and leave the mess with Botchalot.

29 July, 2006 18:56  
Anonymous fred said...

I don't know if you read much on here but he has plenty of go's at Bachelor including his no weasels campaign is aimed at him.

I'm and invalid and can't drive or walk or cycle. Other suggestions?

01 August, 2006 10:10  
Blogger The Met said...

teleport? fly?

wheelchair... Most bus services should be DDA compliant.

What is so bad about taking the train/tram..? This isn't the best of resources for timetables..

*the tram, some routes don't have low-floor trams as of yet.

13 August, 2006 17:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a piece of arse

stop wasting my money

28 August, 2006 20:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you been Connexed today?

We the Connexed hereby pledge to no longer purchase tickets until Connex lifts its game ... what about a class action suit suing Connex for loss of income / loss of earnings due to their incompetent service? If this was any other industry, they would be shut down by now!

I have the misfortune of a daily commute to the city, and at least once a day I am subjected to a delayed or cancelled service, with the associated ripple effect of then being transported in a sardine-like crush in a dangerously (and illegally?) overcrowded train ... I so hate these guys ...

09 September, 2008 10:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

21 January, 2009 08:27  

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