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!

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Real time train tracking" eh?

Maybe they do listen, I emailed Vline feedback a while ago showing them this site:

http://dartmaps.mackers.com/

and suggested it could be a cool idea.

(Forgot to mention that I would have liked to be the one involved in developing it, combining my train fascination, google maps interest , and web design skills.)

2/3/07 6:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i need a V/Line whinge..

Today the geelong train was 20 mins late and full of school kids. No seats for alot of us (non first class) regulars. What peevs me off is:
1. If V/Line knew such a large group was expected, why didn't they add another carriage?
2. Aren't kiddies supposed to 'give up' up their seats for adults? There were alot of adults, even older women standing. Where was the conductor? More so, why didn't the teachers have the decency to direct their pupils to forgo their seats?
Ok, fair enough it is a bit of whine, but after a long day at work, standing for an hour under somebody else's armpit ain't my idea of fun.
The new ticket prices are a bonus however! Pitty that the cheaper the trains get, the more people use and the less seats are available..
Does V/Line have the extra rolling stock I wonder to accomodate the extra patronage, let alone car parking spaces!!!!!

5/3/07 8:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see the French do the high speed train thing properly.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/travel/new-highspeed-train-link/2007/03/20/1174153019069.html

If they weren't happy doing 300kmh, why are we happy doing 160?

20/3/07 8:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need a whinge too.... The 715 from Marshall has been awfully overcrowded over the past three weeks - patronage has doubled (from about 50% full to about 105% full) and as a result of the timetable change, we now have 1 less carriage as well. So I wrote an email to V/Line about it and here was the incredibly GENERIC response I got.

***

Mr Bloggs,

Thank you for your email to our Customer Feedback Centre expressing concern at overcrowding on the 0715 Marshall V/Line train service.

Please accept my apologies for the overcrowding on your service and for the discomfort and inconvenience this caused you. One of the advantages of frequent public transport services is that people can just turn up and travel.

Unfortunately this does mean that there will inevitably be times when there are more people on a train than the number of seats available, particularly at peak times. With the rising cost of motor vehicle fuel there has also been quite a significant rise in rail passenger numbers. Where we have the resources to run additional services or add extra carriages we do, but unfortunately this is not always possible.

V/Line currently utilises all of its available train fleet during peak periods, and we have no spare trains available to provide additional services, or extra carriages/Sprinters available to attach to existing train sets. The best that we are able to do under the immediate circumstances is to schedule road coach services to cater for any increased demand.

On behalf of V/Line I again apologise for the discomfort and distress you endured as a result of the overcrowding on your train. I am very sorry you were given cause for complaint.

Thank you for your support of public transport, which I trust will continue into the future.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS

***

What do you think?

22/3/07 3:55 pm  
Anonymous banger said...

brilliant i would have just told you to F$%k off and drive!!!!!!!!!!!!

24/3/07 12:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure some of the Vline conductors read this blog. I just want to say how angry I am at the stupid decision tonight not to let the 4:55 from Sth Cross to Geelong train stop at the suburban stations because it was "full". Thanx to that decision, I got home 1hr late on the 5:13 which I reckon was even more crowded than the 4:55 and running 30 mins late. Don't worry about us 'customers' we are used to standing! So please, next time - stop the friggin train!

26/3/07 9:08 pm  
Anonymous simon said...

"Full" usually means there isnt any more room because the train is "Full"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

did you want the train to stop then tell you that you can't get on???????

28/3/07 9:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simon..
I don't think you understand what "full" actually means do you?
Is full to you = no seats available = passengers have to stand?
Then excuse me, I've been doing that for 3 years on Vline.
I would be suprised if you met anybody that would rather wait 45 minutes for another train than stand on a "crowded" one!
Considering the train I was forced to catch was even more crowded than the "full" train. (As far as I could tell, no one was standing on the "full" train that zoomed past. The train I had to wait for, there were people standing).

"did you want the train to stop then tell you that you can't get on???????" - no I want the friggin train to stop and the conductor give me the friggin option to stand. I want the next 2 friggin express services to stop and pick up Vline's stranded customers. I want Vline to have friggin trains that are sometimes on on-time. I want Vline trains that have close to enough seats for the passengers they sold tickets to. I want pigs to fly and world peace.....

1/4/07 5:18 pm  
Anonymous simon said...

lucky you didn't pay for a ticket!!

5/4/07 1:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"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."
I just found your cute little website now i admit i dont have an advanced education such as yourself and I may be just a lowly conductor whom works for an unintelligent railway system that bugs the bejesusus out of you and of course its all on purpose just to annoy YOU!! BUT!! i have never EVER!!! met a geelong passenger who can grasp the basic safety principle of keeping a door closed till the the train has stopped.. so tell me who is the moron??

28/6/07 7:09 am  
Blogger vlinewhinger said...

"Anonymous said...

"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."
I just found your cute little website now i admit i dont have an advanced education such as yourself and I may be just a lowly conductor whom works for an unintelligent railway system that bugs the bejesusus out of you and of course its all on purpose just to annoy YOU!! BUT!! i have never EVER!!! met a geelong passenger who can grasp the basic safety principle of keeping a door closed till the the train has stopped.. so tell me who is the moron??"


Couple of things, sorry for the late reply (I've not been blogging for a while)

1. It is not "my cute little website", it's just a blog, if you want one that sings the praises of your employer or allows you to gnash your teeth at all your stupid customers (that'd be me) then feel free to make your own, it's pretty easy, just need a gmail account.

2. If you call yourself "lowly" then that's pretty sad, I don't think conductors are lowly, and if you go through my blog, I don't think I've ever called them that. Have a bit of a pride in yourself & your job.

3. With the retrograde of doors on the older carriages, your angst at us stupid moron passengers will no doubt subside.

4. Thanks for reading my blog! I've no doubt you've left other comments, so I'll go and read those & try and keep the blog more recent for you :)

13/10/07 11:11 am  

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