Monday, September 12, 2005

A week of Grace ..

This week I don't really have much to whinge about simply because there will be no train travel for me, due to a changeover period between my old job and new job.

Even though it is $79 or so down the tube for not using the trains (as I am in the middle of a 10 week ticket), I'm not that worried.

Hopefully my fellow Geelong commuters will have a trouble free run this week .... *snort* ;-)

See you all on the flip-side.

Remember, September 19th is International Talk like a Pirate Day! ( Arrrr mateys ;-)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

3rd Day Lucky?

Well Mr Peter Batchelor, Minister For Lack of Decent Public Transport, all I can say is this evening you should calling up V/Line and thanking them for actually running the 4.55pm service reliably and on time. It only took them 3 attempts.

Otherwise, you may have had 300+ fairly irate Geelong commuters rioting up Bourke St to Treasury Place & burning you out of your offices. No doubt at that time you were in air-conditioned limosine comfort cruising your way home with nary a care in the world for the poor public transport commuter.

Let's see: Monday, 4.55pm service leaves on time, stop 15 metres later. Many announcements later from the hapless conductor urging us to stay on the train, as the defective locomotive was going to be replaced, watching helplessly as the 5.13pm left ahead of us, "Da Writa" by chance lucked onto a friend of his who was driving to Footscray & made a quick detour to pick us up near Telstra Dome. I laughed as we jumped off the train & the conductor was yelling "If youse guys get off the train you're walking" Ahhh the irony.

We watched as two engines were still hooked up on the 4.55pm as we drove past Telstra Dome at 5.20pm.

Later, we saw the train at Laverton (still with two engines) limping towards Geelong. (we had stopped in Footscray as Da Writa's friend had to drop something off). It certainly wasn't going to be the quickest way home, but at least it was comfortable, air conditioned & not as aggravating.

Still, we had to deal with the 5.13/5.29pm traffic in the car park at Geelong. By the time I made it to my sister's house for dinner, it was two hours door to door (from work to Mt Duneed). Thanks V/Line!

Tuesday: Arrive for the 4.55pm ... notice large crowd milling. Not a good sign. Look further ahead to where the locomotive should be attached at the front of train. An empty space.

No announcements, 4.55pm comes and goes. 5pm, 5.10pm, some signs of action & finally we are away after a loco docks with the train. This time we are ahead of the 5.13pm service. However it means every man and his dog (literally) piles on at Nth Melb. Thank goodness Da writa and I secured a 1st Class seat. It is starting to get ugly even in 1st Class these days!

Once again, arrive late, this time only 20 mins.

Tonight, Da Writa and I squint in the afternoon sun & see not only a locomotive attached to our train, but about 4 others in the yards! So it seems they have a few spares after all.

All is good as we are away on time, and no stoppages. I do note that the train (at least 1st Class) is less crowded. Maybe twice bitten, thrice shy? As people wonder if the curse/jinx of the cancelled 4.40pm service has carried across to the 4.55pm

Hopeless. Appalling. I really cannot think of enough adjectives to describe the woeful service these past few nights.

The ironic thing is that there are probably some more casual commuters due to the high petrol prices testing out the idea of using public transport. V/Line has the chance to pick up more patronage (and heaven forbid make some more money to reinvest back into better infrastructure & rolling stock) yet seem to choose this exact opportunity to demonstrate to these newbies just why they drive to Melbourne from Geelong every day.

Well done V/line & ultimately, well done Mr Peter Batchelor for ensuring that our service has gotten worse, not better, in the past few years. Oh ... VFT?? is that dirty word now?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Apathy Inc.

Ok so it has been over a month since my last entry.

Occasionally other things in life get in the way of a petty whinge about paying $794 for a 10-week ticket (that's for the premium 1st class v/line service) and having trains overcrowded, late, not heated and generally dismal performance all around.

I don't intend to make this a "personal" journal, however during this month there were more pressing needs in my life, namely to do with my family life. And also, an opportunity arose to change my employment situation, which is also something that I found was annoying the crap out of me.

One thing of note, is that the usually reliable 4.55pm service got changed to effectively be the 4.40pm service (delayed). So now 1st class is overcrowded, hence one must ensure an early arrival at Spencer St to get a decent seat.

Iif I were a 1st fare-paying customer getting on at a later station (say Nth Melb or Footscray), I'd be mildly annoyed to find no seats in 1st Class. Particularly when it seems that certain transport workers ( Vline staff, Connex or Yarra trams) get a free ride. In my view, they should have to either go back down into economy or give up their seat when required. Same goes for Economy "upgraders". Fortunately I've not lost out on a seat, I'd certainly like to know if V/line compensates customers in this regard. Probably not, I'd imagine that the excuse "a ticket doesn't guarantee a seat" would be trotted out.