Friday, March 02, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the V/Line.

I've got a bit of spare time up my sleeve over lunch here at work, so I thought I'd devote it to a blog as it has been too long since my last one. Unlike the phrase "no news is good news" the lack of blogs has not been because V/Line has been running perfectly, for it hasn't.

Indeed I can relate how a few weeks ago the 17.13 left only to cease moving at the Latrobe St bridge for 35 minutes due to a signal fault & having to wait for a 2nd Train Driver to stand on the back of the train whilst it backed back to the station so it could go forwards again ......

Then there is the rather annoying delays between Spencer St (sorry Southern Cross) and North Melbourne in both the mornings & evenings. V/Line trains obviously have less of a priority than Connex Trains as we invariably wait for ages and what should be a 3 minute journey at the most between stations turns into upwards of 10 minutes.

It is not unusual for the 17.13 to leave on time, stop and wait for a minute BEFORE even clearing the platform at Southern Cross and then AGAIN stopping and waiting for another minute or two minutes in the yards just before the Latrobe St overpass.

I've caught the V'locity trains a few times and I just do not like them. Most trips I can tolerate them, but all the annoying things are just so obvious ... overcrowding being one of them, the lack of curtains & inadequate tinting on windows, the angle of the seats & lack of leg room ....... and reading my comments on the previous blog entry, I'm not the only one complaining.

OK, some good points .... the reduction in fare prices & the introduction of "1st class vouchers" is a good point. The disparity to what 'suburban' passengers pay for an equal distance travelled and what V/line Geelong customers pay for travelling the same distance is somewhat mitigated by the latest round of fare revisions. That's a step in the right direction.

Ok I managed a paragraph of good points, unfortunately it is back to the bad points. Conductor announcements should be limited to what station is next, arrival times & incidental announcements where necessary (eg apologising when we are late & the reason). I do not want to hear the same repetitive announcement regarding doors, safety & stepping on platforms correctly. I am not a moron and neither are 99% of other passengers. I don't care what lawsuit you lost, but making conductors parrot out ridiculous reminders for public safety seems to be an Americanism (coping for the lowest common denominator) we do not need.

Timetables: When you can't make your punctuality make a reason to "adjust" your timetable ... good one V/Line. But please don't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars publishing glossy propoganda telling us long-suffering how the timetable is getting better when some journeys are going to take LONGER and your flagship 17.29 "45 minute" service is perpetually late & overcrowded!

That's my post for now ....... plenty more to add but I am being paid to work & not complain at the moment! It's good to find a few more vline whinge blogs & posts out there, I'll try and link the two that I found.

I also noticed that the Vline website seems to be coming along nicely, there was mention of sms updates & 'real time' train tracking ... most interesting!