Friday, April 07, 2006

Fri 7 April - More on overcrowding...

I just wanted to take the opportunity to comment on some of the overcrowding issues that have arisen lately...

Firstly on bikes, thanks again to CB for this one... "Bicycles and surfboards may be carried on train passenger services free of charge at all times, provided that the comfort of other passengers is not affected" from a December 2004 Gazette. So what happens if other passengers are affected, as was the situation Wednesday morning? Answer... nothing! It's a meaningless clause that will be ignored by the inconsiderate and will already be understood and followed by the considerate.

Also there is a recent comment from Jackie on the ConnexWhinger feedback page that highlights the problem for people with injuries or disabilities. For those of us who are fit enough a crowded train can be a real annoyance, how much worse if you're experiencing pain as a result? This is an aspect of overcrowding that I've seen a few times and it does seem very poor. Obviously something "Comeng" who posts further down on the same page clearly has no sympathy for.

The 07:14 is on time.

The 18:01 just scrapes in at around two minutes late.

CW wins letter of the day in MX, here's the full, unedited letter...

In reference to this evening’s headline article, I completely disagree. I rarely see people holding doors and it is even more rare to see people attempt to open them after they’ve closed. Occasionally at Flinders Street somebody may come racing down the escalator as the doors close and make half-hearted attempt to open them again – usually the driver keeps on going, so there is no delay. I’m one of the accused referred to in the article who favours one particular carriage – the one next to the escalators - so if it were happening anywhere it would be there and I would see it far more often than I do.

The blocking doors issue is one that has had much discussion recently on my blog – – with no real outcome. A simple and glib answer is that if the trains weren’t so crowded, people would not need to stand in the doorways. And if they did so in an uncrowded train it wouldn’t matter anyway.

But of course the answer is more complex than this. Those who spout the doorway dogma seem to have some idealised notion of how this should work that simply does not translate to reality. If everybody did force themselves to pack into the gaps between seats so that the doorways were kept clear, guess what? When they, or the people in the seats, arrived at their stations they’d still be fighting their way through other people to get out. The only difference is that they’d be doing so in the body of the carriage rather than in the doorways. Of course if we all formed ranks according to which station we planned to alight from, I’m sure that would help!

The bottom line is that both of these issues are trivial in comparison to the major factors that impede the delivery of a quality, reliable service to Melbourne’s hard-pressed commuters. Remove Peter “Weasel” Batchelor from office and replace Bruce “Sir Topham Hatt” with a competent CEO: start delivering service and we’ll quickly forget all about such diversionary nonsense.

Regards etc

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thu 6 April - Reasons for delays...

That article in yesterday's MX - see blog below - is still on my mind. I went back over my emails and reviewed the ones from Connex drivers and staff. They're a mix of favourable and unfavourable towards this blog, as you might expect. But I couldn't find any that even hinted at the claimed reasons for delay. In fact one driver mentioned that you could set your watch by his trains. So if that's the case, why isn't he suffering these massive and regular delays? Because they're BS perhaps?

The 07:14 is on time.

Home on the 18:01 and it's pretty right too.

(Apologies for neglecting to post this morning's entry until now - it was on my PDA ready to go, but I have been fairly full on lately so forgot to post it!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wed 5 April - Keeping doors clear...

OK Chris/The Met, this won't happen too often, but today I agree with you... to a point.

I'm on the 07:29 as I couldn't make the 07:14 this morning. It's very crowded and there's somebody with a bike blocking half the doorway and also the entrance to the seating area. People try to squeeze past with no attempt by the cyclist to move out of the way.

Frankly, as someone who takes a bike now and again on the train, I'm amazed how often some cyclists make no effort to minimise inconvenience to their fellow passengers. If you're going to take your bike on the train, why would you try to jam into a crowded carriage during peak times? These are the people who do cause delays and frustration for passengers.

We pull into Flinders Street about four minutes late.

We're about three minutes late on the 18:35, seems it's all our fault according to the MX newspaper. Apparently it's all those people holding doors and blocking doorways again. I see Andrew Cassidy comments that this is not the major issue, so it appears even senior Connex people don't agree with the author of this piece, nor with Chris/The Met.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tue 4 April - Happy birthday CW blog...

A year ago today I made my first daily post. What's changed since then? Well I'd have to acknowledge that reliability has improved a bit. The communication problem is manifestly as bad as it ever was. Weasel Batchelor is still the pathetic Transport Minister and Sir Topham Hatt is still the completely ineffective CEO of Connex. So not much really.

The 07:14 is pretty much on time. There are only six inspectors at the exit this morning, the rest must be on a tea-break!

"Sandringham train running two to three minutes late" says the announcer at 18:14. Well as it's not in yet, and it's already two minutes past the departure time, I think we can safely say that ain't gonna happen!

Anyway, we arrive at Ripponlea seven minutes late.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mon 3 April - Sick...

I've got a migraine on top of a cold that I've had for the last week, so I'm off today.