Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A moment of existential crisis

Today the foundations of my world have been rocked.  I am starting to believe that TfL may be doing a good job.  Relatively speaking, at any rate.

I had to go to an event in Birmingham today, so my travel through the capital was a little different to usual.  My (usual) train from Hampton Court to Waterloo was six minutes late in the end.  I had to take a later connection because of this, of course.  I then took the Northern Line to Euston but, while it turned up two minutes late, it seemed to make up the time on the way.  That made for a total delay of six minutes and another £15.  Normally, I'd chalk that up as another average morning's piss-poor performance by TfL, but taking Virgin Trains to Birmingham was another story altogether.

We arrived in Birmingham International 15 minutes late because we had to make an unscheduled stop for the police to come throw off an 'unruly' passenger.  The incident took place in the next carriage along from mine, and I found out later from a colleague there that it consisted of a Somalian man reacting to being asked to turn down the volume of the music he was blaring through his lap top speakers by threatening - quite seriously and with much verbal abuse and physical intimidation that only just stopped short of violence - to cut the heads off several people in the carriage.  The guard was unable to calm him down, so we stopped at the very next station and waited for police to come and forcibly remove him.

The train back to Euston later that day was 29 minutes delayed.  No explanation was offered for this whatsoever, just a series of template apologies (you know the type: 'we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause').

Perhaps I should be thankful TfL runs transport here.  Even if my train home from Waterloo had another minute's delay for £2.50.

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