Friday, February 16, 2007

I want my bike

Yesterday and today I'm dropping the kids at school so I'm going in a bit later. Despite the fact that I am arrogant and self-centred, as evidenced by this blog, my weakness is being considerate of my fellow passengers. Consequently I will not attempt to take my bike on the train in peak hours. Unlike the dozen or more yesterday evening who seem to use their bikes as battering rams to force their way into an overcrowded carriage... oops, getting ahead of myself!

As I was saying, I don't feel it appropriate to take the bike on the train after 07:30 when they're just too crowded. Consequently I can cycle in or leave it at home. And cycling in is just never going to work for me, too much mucking around with carrying work clothes in, showering etc. So the only real option is to use the train both ways, something I haven't done a lot of lately. And yesterday reminded me of why!

I dropped the kids at school and I pulled away at 08:38 - no worries, 11 minutes to get to the station about 1.5km away... easy-peasy - apart from the huge number of mums in 4wds of course. Anyway, without being too stupid I manage to get parked with a minute or so spare. And the 08:49 is running about five minutes late. But you know if it had just taken me that extra minute to get there, the 08:49 would've been exactly on time! Anyway it's crowded since it's carrying half the passengers who'd turned up to catch the 08:59, but it goes with the territory at that time of day.

Heading home and by the time I was ready to leave I realised I could not hope to catch the 17:49 so went for the 18:01 instead. It's about 33°C so I'm anticipating problems. Sure enough there's no sign of the train that's confidently predicted to depart at 18:01 by the platform monitors and there's no announcement to tell us what's going on. Have I mentioned the fact that this irritates the hell out of me? OK, maybe once or twice! Then the monitors switch to "Train not taking passengers" and now my blood's starting to boil.

Shortly afterwards one of the new trains pulls into platform 9 and then we're told that's our train. But somebody would've known that at least five minutes earlier, so WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL US???

Pile in and it's stink hot. No air-con and no windows. Great! If it's 33°C outside and this feels like walking into an oven, how hot is it? But just in case it's not hot enough, we hang around for a few more minutes to cram in a few more of the 18:12's passengers with their body heat and eventually we depart. It's hard to believe that you can step out of somewhere into 33°C and feel relief at being so much cooler!

I have to go through this again today and also next Thursday and Friday. Maybe I can sort out some way of cycling in that's manageable and finally break my dependence on this cretinous Connex outfit altogether?


Anonymous Steve said...

You don't take your bike because you need to shower afterwards. However, if you take a train, you also need a shower and lot's of eau de cologne to get rid of your fellow passengers sweaty smell.

If you ask me, I'd rather sweat alone than using the communal sauna called Melbourne Train network.

16 February, 2007 10:40  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

I'm almost there Steve! After sweating in the nice new recertified Siemens Thursday evening and then sweating in a resurrected Hitachi that was only supposed to be temporary while the Siemens were withdrawn, enough is enough.

I'd already decided to try a jog home Friday evening, so the spate of cancellations simply reinforced that idea. That worked out OK - sure I was still sweaty and it took me just over an hour, but at least I was in control!

It was interesting to note that there were six cancellation SMSes yesterday and I'm not convinced that's the full picture. And that was just the Sandy line! So it would seem Connex really is "back to normal"!

17 February, 2007 05:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Join Connex Plus! And at least get an reward for using their bad train service. How about taking the tram to Elsternwick (aFTER Rippponlea) and face Connex into Melbourne. (Less people) OR get of somewhere nere Ripponlea on the tram and Walk. And what feeder bus number do you catch?
Thank you, (I'm from NZ)

17 February, 2007 06:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry yes, Yarra trams route 67 stops at Ripponlea Station.

17 February, 2007 07:03  
Anonymous Pit said...

How Long Till Next Train? Wonder No More ...

In NY. We in... next century? ;-)

17 February, 2007 23:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best part about friday's trains coming home was that I got the SMSs about two cancellations on the sandringham line - for the 4.40 and 5.10 (both from richmond) AFTER the trains should have left! The 4.40 one I got about 5pm and the 5.10 about 5.15.

18 February, 2007 14:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the SMS being late, that is normal - and pretty poor. However, it's still useful for them to send because some people may want to, for exmaple, travel between North Brighton and Sandringham. Such a message may be in time for them. This is even more true for longer train lines.

It may also be possible to catch the earlier train, because the earlier train could be, for example, running 20 minutes late.

18 February, 2007 15:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sms is tuffed like the rest of there crappy trains

18 February, 2007 15:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think too many people can have much confidence in the SMS while you get cancellations with no SMS received, major disruptions with no SMS, late SMSes and SMSes which have "undefined" as the time of the train.

18 February, 2007 18:14  
Anonymous cw4minister said...

Had you considered investing in a different bike? Lots of bike shops that I've been in recently have got bikes that fold up into the size of a large briefcase / small suitcase (case not provided!) This would be something that you could take onto a train in the morning, even when it's crowded. Granted they're not the most glamorous bikes, but neither is a packed train. Failing that, unicycles are pretty compact.

22 February, 2007 16:43  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

cw4minister, like your thinking! Unfortunately I only recently upgraded my bike so I'm not sure how I'd go justifying another one. Maybe I just need to develop a thicker skin like some other cycling train riders and just ram my bike in regardless of how crowded the train is?

23 February, 2007 05:26  

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