Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Delayed delays

I know I have complained about the trains before, but when you already spend somewhere between 3 and 4 hours a day commuting to and from work, every minute is precious. This week has been a nightmare. From the non informative announcements on the platforms, and the less than helpful website I understand that “engineering works overran” last weekend in Portsmouth.

Now, seeing that these delays have probably stolen somewhere in the region of 4, maybe 5 hours of my time this week, making me late for meetings and even later getting back home, just a little information wouldn’t hurt. What engineering works overran, why is this causing delay, and who is going to loose their job over it?

A bland, “we are sorry for the delay this causes to your journey” just doesn’t cut it. Indeed that further boils my blood. If they can’t get the trains running on time, they could at least hand out free cups of tea. Perhaps a manager walking down the platform shaking hands and apologising profusely might be nice. At a minimum an announcement that actually gave out some information would help.

Yet none of that, just an “oh well, can’t be helped” attitude is enough to get me back in my car rather than doing the right thing and take the trains. If, between South West trains and Network Rail, the combined incompetence can’t keep the trains running on time, something needs to change. This morass of unaccountability, in which managers continue to get bonuses, and shareholders continue to get dividends just isn’t good enough. This is near as dammit a monopoly situation, and capitalism and monopolies just don’t work together.

Nationalise the lot I say, if for no other reason than firing the man who recorded the “we are sorry for the delay” message.


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