Friday, November 23, 2007's all folks

Well, this is my last CW blog entry as a commuter. From today I am no longer a Connex customer! Seven years of commuting hell end today.

I can't even begin to estimate how many times I've stood in the platform at Flinders Street dreaming about not being subservient to the whims of Connex and their complete lack of customer service. Despite the improvements in recent times there's still a long long way to go. And thankfully I'm no longer affected by them. So despite the sense of sadness at the end of far and away the best job I ever had (which is the only reason I've put up with Connex for so long) there is at least one silver lining.

While I'm in not really thinking about my next job yet, I am determined that it will be somewhere that I can sensibly drive to. Now I know that's not the best thing for the environment, but I've done my share over the last seven years and my level of commitment to public transport has been way too one-sided. Until I start to see some commitment from our elected representatives, in the shape of serious public transport policy and planning, I'm afraid I'm going back to being part of the problem.

All the best to those who continue to be locked in to an ongoing Connex relationship.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Into the lion's den?

Those who have read my (increasingly sporadic) blog entries over time will probably have noticed a bit of a shift. In ignorance, I started out solely blaming Connex for the appalling state of our rail network, but as I've gained a better understanding the focus shifted more towards our state government, specifically Batchelor and more recently the Cloth-Eared Nuff-Nuff.

Along the way Connex has made improvements to the reliability of the trains, so while they're far from perfect the number of cancellations has reduced since this blog started two and a half years ago. What hasn't improved all that much is the hopeless communication when things do go wrong. SMS alerts are still very unreliable, the old screens have been replaced by new ones but they still display "listen for announcement" all too often. And we still stand on the platform wondering if/when our train will arrive, several minutes after the scheduled departure time, without word from Connex. You can't blame Kosky et al for that!

A couple of years ago I participated in what we laughingly called "discussion" on the Railpage forums. At the time, somebody challenged me to put up or shut up - ie if I thought I could do better why didn't I go work for Connex and see if I could fix things. At the time I was enjoying the challenges of my current position so I politely declined. Two years later that position has changed, and I had the opportunity to go talk to Connex about just such a possibility. So that's what happened yesterday afternoon.

Let's just sum it up by saying that I don't really think Connex is ready for my approach! Much as I would've liked to put my money where my mouth is, I'm afraid it's just not going to happen. It's a pity because I have a lot of confidence that I could've really made a difference, but it's just not meant to be.